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VMWare Development Server

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Last response: in CPUs
October 15, 2008 1:56:14 AM


I'm not sure if this is in the appropriate section, so sorry if it is in the wrong place!

I wanted to get a development server that is able to run multiple VMWare instances. The details of what I want the server to do are as follows:

- The base operating system will be Windows
- I would like it to be able to run around 10 VM Ware Instances simultaneously. Linux and Windows Operating Systems will be used.
- Each VM Ware Instance will run an application server and will be under very light load.
- A light load database server (probably MYSQL) may be run on some of the instances.

I was looking for information on the following:
- What CPU would you recommend?
- How much RAM would you recommend?
- What HDD would you recommend? Should this be Raided and if so in what configuration?

Thanks in advance!

More about : vmware development server

October 15, 2008 2:07:51 AM

How Much Cash?

How Much RAM do you need for each of the Windows Instances? That is going to be a Major influence on how much RAM you need.

I would likely suggest 16GB of RAM and a 45nm Quad that fits your budget.
(P45 Board with 4x4GB Modules - About $500 in RAM, luckily the 4gb modules have come down in price.)
(It will likely be running 24x7 w/ at least a moderate load so the cooler operations would be important.

I'm not sure I would actually raid the Drives, but Perhaps a couple Velocity Raptors with the VMs split between the drives.
Then a 1TB Drive for backups.

a b à CPUs
October 15, 2008 2:38:44 AM

I just want to point-out that the VMWare ESXi is now free so you don't have to "waste" that much base resources with a host-OS.
Related resources
a c 586 à CPUs
October 15, 2008 3:15:26 AM

Zenthar I agree with you, but VMware ESXi has more hardware limitations than Windows Server. In a corporate development environment, it makes sense to simply buy a server that's on VMware's list of supported servers and run ESXi.

CptGuano, I hope that you'll use Windows Server and not Windows XP. If your VMs will be under very light load, then zenmaster's recommendations are appropriate, but a Quad is not absolutely necessary. I have a Q6600 and with a few moderate VMs running (Oracle and Tomcat), the CPU utilization rarely reaches 25%. The biggest bottleneck is the hard disks.
October 15, 2008 11:17:16 AM

I have Q6600 running at 3.2ghz, 6GB of RAM, Im running 4 Linux servers at the same time giving it 1GB of RAM each.. Processor load was tapping bout 40% util but still ok. Memory issue is a bit of a problem.. seems on my setup even im having free, my system eats to much Pagefile. and another problem would be HDD.. with your setup.. youll be facing high performance hit because of hard disk.. if you use virtual disks then your VM's will be very slow.. i assume this is for testing purpose? if so here my suggestions:

1. if your having 10 VM's running simultaneous, i suggest you to take dual CPU board and put 2 quad cores on it.. if your budget dont fit then maybe a high-end MOBO + OC quad core, but im having doubt if it would be enough...

2. RAM - Put the maximum supported memory of your MOBO, P35=8GB, P45=16GB???, X58=24GB???... for 10 VM's im sure 8GB will not be enough.

3. Harddisk - as ive mentioned above, hard disk could be a big bottleneck so i suggest, if you can afford, allocate 1 HDD for each server and use it in VM as physical disk not by creating virtual disk on it.. average size HDD will be good enough. but since you have 10 VM's rarely you can fine MOBO to support 10 HDD + your host OS HDD.. you can at least partition few HDD for 2 VM's to accomodate all of them.

If you have a tight budget, i think it would be imposible for ordinary setup. I hope this helps.
a c 586 à CPUs
October 15, 2008 12:34:09 PM

jate, your VMs aren't light load if they require 1 GB each and your CPU utilization is up to 40%. My VMs require anywhere between 384 MB (Windows XP that runs one service) and 1.5 GB of memory (Oracle and Tomcat with several Java servlets). CptGuano will have to determine how much memory is required based on what his VMs will be doing. We can't assume 1 GB or more for each VM without some basic analysis. He's not going to run a production system with thousands of users acessing it - it will be a development system where he might be the only user. Therefore 8-12 GB of memory should definitely meet his requirements.

I agree that using one physical disk per server provides better performance, but I still recommend using virtual disks if being able to perform snapshots is required (it often is in a development environment). It definitely is possible to run 10 light load VMs or more on a small server.
October 15, 2008 1:01:47 PM

The memory size of my VM's were actually part of prerequisites of some application and also to avoid much pagefile activity and improve a bit in performance. Since CptGuano was going to install 10 servers, IMO 512MB of memory for each would be the minimum specially if windows OS and add more depends on the applications to be hosted by the VM.
I was only giving him my example so atleast can get some idea on my setup though i agree bout 12 GB would be fine.
And what i mean by ordinary setup was ordinary desktop pc.
October 17, 2008 8:50:28 AM

Wow! Thanks for all of the great replies!

I have started speccing out a machine as follows:

Motherboard: 1 x Tyan Tempest i5000XT S5396A2NRF
- 2x S771 Intel 5400 Chipset
- 2xPCI-Ex16, 1xPCI-Ex8, 2xPCI-X, 1xPCI

CPUs | Processor: 2 x XEON E5410 Quad Core, 2.33GHz, 12MB Cache, LGA771, 1333FSB, Active

Memory - RAM: 8 x 2048MB PC2-5300 667Mhz Fully Buffered ECC DDR2-RAM

Hard Drives: 4 x Western Digital 150GB 10,000rpm Serial ATA-II-300 HDD w. 16MB Cache (WD1500HLFS)

Hard Drive Controller: 1 x 3Ware 12-Port SATA-II RAID Controller - PCI-X
- Supports RAID 0,1,10,5,50 & JBOD
- 256MB cache, Standard Profile

Any comments on this setup?

I was also wondering if I needed an operating system if I went with ESXi.

Thanks again!
a b à CPUs
October 17, 2008 11:01:43 AM

If you go for ESXi you don't need OS, but the supported hardware isn't as wide as for "full" OSes.
a c 586 à CPUs
October 17, 2008 12:54:08 PM

CptGuano, it will be a great ESXi system, but have you verified that all that hardware is supported by ESXi? If you're going to spend that much money, have you considered buying a server that's officially on the list? Will you install ESXi from a DVD?
a b à CPUs
October 17, 2008 1:18:50 PM

He could also use a very minimalistic Linux installation for OS, it would keep base resource consumption to a minimum.
a c 586 à CPUs
October 17, 2008 3:06:55 PM

Using Linux and VMware Server will never be as fast as ESXi and ESXi has a much smaller fooprint than Linux.
a b à CPUs
October 17, 2008 4:09:45 PM

GhislainG said:
Using Linux and VMware Server will never be as fast as ESXi and ESXi has a much smaller fooprint than Linux.
That I know, I was just mentioning it as an alternative if ESXi doesn't work on his hardware of if he can't or doesn't want to buy "ESXi supported" hardware.
October 19, 2008 11:13:33 PM

Thanks again for the replies! I specced out a box from Dell that has ESXi options this time:

Base System: PowerEdge(TM) 2900, Quad Core Intel(R) Xeon(R) E5410, 2x6MB Cache 2 CPU

Operating System: No Operating System (we’ll install ESXi ourselves)

Memory:16GB (8x2048), DDR-2 667MHz ECC 2R Fully-Buffered Memory

Hard Drives (SATA/SAS): 146GB 3.5-inch 15K RPM SAS Hard Drive x 6

Factory Configurations: C1: No RAID, SAS 6i Integrated

SAS / PERC Integrated Card: SAS 6IR, Integrated Controller Card

Other items included in the System:
- Integrated Dual Broadcom Gigabit Network Card with TOE hardware enabled
- Integrated ATI ES1000 with 16MB Video Memory

How does that look this time?

Thanks again!
a c 586 à CPUs
October 20, 2008 12:13:45 AM

That looks like a server that should run ESXi really well. Just make sure with Dell that all components are ESXi compatible.