Sign in with
Sign up | Sign in
Your question

Test Servers for Virtualization

Last response: in Systems
Share
May 21, 2009 10:04:27 PM

APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: Place order within next week. BUDGET RANGE: US$2300-2700 per machine x2 (including Texas tax and shipping)

SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: Testing hypervisors, importing VM's from physical servers, testing iSCSI intiators to Dell MD3000i SAN, DR testing, Load testing

PARTS NOT REQUIRED: Do not need keyboard, mouse, monitor, etc. Just the "box", but everything in it...nothing I have can be used at this time.

PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: Prefer newegg.com or have corp acct with Dell, CDW. Fry's/Best Buy within 3 miles.
PARTS PREFERENCES: Dual Intel Nehalem 5520 procs only
OVERCLOCKING: No
MONITOR RESOLUTION: Don't care

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: I am trying to build a pair of test servers for virtualization testing and staging. I've searched around a little and came up with the following config one gentleman posted:
1 x ASUS Z8NA-D6C Dual LGA 1366 Intel 5500 ATX Server Motherboard - Retail - $259.99
2 x Intel Xeon E5520 Nehalem 2.26GHz 4 x 256KB L2 Cache 8MB L3 Cache LGA 1366 80W Quad-Core Server Processor - Retail - $379.99 x 2=$759.98
3 x Kingston 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM ECC Registered DDR3 1066 (PC3 8500) Server Memory Model KVR1066D3S4R7SK2/4GI - Retail - $129.99 x 3=$389.97
4 x Western Digital Caviar Black WD1001FALS 1TB 7200 RPM 32MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Hard Drive - OEM - $109.99 x 4 = $439.96
1 x Adaptec 2258100-R PCI Express SATA / SAS 5405 Kit Controller Card RAID levels 0, 1, 1E, 5, 5EE, 6, 10, 50, 60, JBOD - Retail - $379.99
1 x Athena Power BP-SAC3141B HDD internal backplane - Retail - $91.99
1 x COOLER MASTER RC-690-KKN1-GP Black SECC/ ABS ATX Mid Tower Computer Case - Retail - $79.99


Couple of thoughts...
1. We are basically a Dell shop, and I thought there might be value in replacing the Adaptec card with the following:
-LSI LSI00144 PCI Express SATA / SAS (Serial Attached SCSI) MegaRAID SAS 8704ELP $329.99
There was a suggestion that the 8708 version of this card (8 ports vs. 4) is equivalent to the PERC 6/i cards used in the Dell servers. These boxes will be simulating a pair of R610-eqivalent servers to be purchased late this year/early next year. Notwithstanding the brutal reviews about these cards, I'm curious if they will work with the config. (backplane, etc...there were comments about backplane support and also requirements of for additional cabling)
2. The goal is to test VMWare and R2 HyperV side-by-side on the same hardware, so obviously a goal is that the box will work with the two "baremetal" hypervisors.
3. I'm not married to any brands as long as whatever I build can hold two E5520's, 12GB of RAM, and at least a pair of SATA drives in RAID1, at most four in RAID1+0. Oh, and an additional dual or quad port NIC. (I need 4 NIC's total in each box.)
4. I would prefer a small, quiet case as the servers will likely be in my office with me. Not huge though.
5. Not on the list is a proc fan and PS, so suggestions welcome. Anything else?

Any suggestions, thoughts, criticisms would be appreciated. Thanks, Doug A.
May 22, 2009 4:29:59 AM

Why would you spend $330 to run two drives in RAID1, or four drives in RAID 1+0? What about four or five in RAID5 with a hot swap? A small, quiet case for what you suggest is a pipe dream. Memory size is what you need to focus on, so a 64 bit OS is da kine! If you really want it fast and customizable, Linux should be your foundation...
May 22, 2009 3:05:39 PM

Marcellis,

Thanks for your reply. While I'll admit there's probably no good reason for the card as it stands, the goal is to build a box that is similar to the production servers and that would include a dedicated SCSI RAID Card. Truth be told $330 is a very small price to pay for exposing potential problems later on....couple of hours of a consultant's time or my time doing an unnecessary restore operation.

"Small" and "quiet" are of course relative terms. I guess how I should have phrased it is, "Please recommend a case that will handle these components, with the goal being as quiet as possible, then as small as possible." If that answer is a box the size of a mini-fridge that sounds like a jet taking off, then so be it. Some of the reviews I read on the box in the config I posted said the case was "noisy" and "unexpectedly large"...both of which indicate to me that there are cases available that are quieter and smaller than the one in this config.

I will consider additional memory. I was thinking 12GB would be decent for my purposes, but I may bump up to 24GB which is what the production boxes will likely be. I wanted to underspec the test servers a *little* bit so that there would be less chance for surprises when moving to production. The base OS on the boxes will either be VMWare ESXi or Microsoft HyperV, with a mix of Win2K3, Win2K8, and Linux VM's.

Regards,

Doug
December 5, 2009 5:14:30 AM

dandreasen said:
Marcellis,

Thanks for your reply. While I'll admit there's probably no good reason for the card as it stands, the goal is to build a box that is similar to the production servers and that would include a dedicated SCSI RAID Card. Truth be told $330 is a very small price to pay for exposing potential problems later on....couple of hours of a consultant's time or my time doing an unnecessary restore operation.

"Small" and "quiet" are of course relative terms. I guess how I should have phrased it is, "Please recommend a case that will handle these components, with the goal being as quiet as possible, then as small as possible." If that answer is a box the size of a mini-fridge that sounds like a jet taking off, then so be it. Some of the reviews I read on the box in the config I posted said the case was "noisy" and "unexpectedly large"...both of which indicate to me that there are cases available that are quieter and smaller than the one in this config.

I will consider additional memory. I was thinking 12GB would be decent for my purposes, but I may bump up to 24GB which is what the production boxes will likely be. I wanted to underspec the test servers a *little* bit so that there would be less chance for surprises when moving to production. The base OS on the boxes will either be VMWare ESXi or Microsoft HyperV, with a mix of Win2K3, Win2K8, and Linux VM's.

Regards,

Doug


Did you build the server like you described it? If not, then what did you end up building?
(I am looking at a similar build, and would appreciate if you could share some of your experiences on how your end result worked for you)

Regards,
F
!