Suggested ESXi v4.1 Whit Box Build Advice

I'm looking to put together a server to run ESXi v4.1. I've selected the following hardware components and would appreciate any advice/input good/bad: :)

Case: Athena Power CA-SWH02BH202
Mobo: TYAN S8230GM4NR-DL
PSU: Athena Power AP-P4ATXK110FEP
CPU: AMD Opteron 6134 Magny-Cours 2.3GHz
64gig RAM: Kingston 8GB KVR1333D3E9SK2/8G x 8

2 1tb drives - RAID1: This partition will have a vm for Win2k8 file/print server.

6 128gig SSD drives - RAID?: This partition will run a vm DEV/Test environment for a SQL Server and Web server(s).
Any recommendations on which SSD drive I should use (SLC or MLC) would be appreciated?
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  1. For Servers SLCs are advised due to the error correction things and life cycle of the drive is longer, an MLC is prone to give away too soon cos of too many high speed read write errors building up in that environment.....

    The point is SLCs cost a bomb as compared to MLCs.... but reliability wise they are a 1000 times more efficient....
  2. dmelanson said:
    I'm looking to put together a server to run ESXi v4.1. I've selected the following hardware components and would appreciate any advice/input good/bad: :)

    Case: Athena Power CA-SWH02BH202
    Mobo: TYAN S8230GM4NR-DL
    PSU: Athena Power AP-P4ATXK110FEP
    CPU: AMD Opteron 6134 Magny-Cours 2.3GHz
    64gig RAM: Kingston 8GB KVR1333D3E9SK2/8G x 8

    2 1tb drives - RAID1: This partition will have a vm for Win2k8 file/print server.

    6 128gig SSD drives - RAID?: This partition will run a vm DEV/Test environment for a SQL Server and Web server(s).
    Any recommendations on which SSD drive I should use (SLC or MLC) would be appreciated?


    Check the ESXi hardware compatibility list first. You will have to watch closely which components to use.
    ESXi is picky about network cards and raid controllers. You must have a hardware raid controller to do any level of raid in ESXi.
    I would not run RAID 1 on any disk that a guest vm will be sitting on, you are going to have big performance issues.
    I would not do SSDs in a test/dev environment, it would be a complete waste of money. Save your money and buy some Western Digital RE3 or RE4 drives and stripe them in raid 10 or raid 6. You will have performance problems with raid 5.

    Here is my test/dev setup.

    Core i7
    Asus p6t
    12 gigs ram
    Kingston 4gig USB flash drive ( This is where I installed ESXi)
    4 WD RE3 500gig disks in RAID 10
    3ware 9650 controller
    2x Intel PCIe nics

    Keep your data stores to a maximum of 300g a piece, this is essentially short stroking them.
    The VMFS file system is limited to 2tb partitions max, I would never create one this large, see above ;)

    Here is a cool link with a compatibility list and forums http://www.vm-help.com//esx40i/esx40_whitebox_HCL.php
  3. toosober said:
    Check the ESXi hardware compatibility list first. You will have to watch closely which components to use.
    ESXi is picky about network cards and raid controllers. You must have a hardware raid controller to do any level of raid in ESXi.
    I would not run RAID 1 on any disk that a guest vm will be sitting on, you are going to have big performance issues.
    I would not do SSDs in a test/dev environment, it would be a complete waste of money. Save your money and buy some Western Digital RE3 or RE4 drives and stripe them in raid 10 or raid 6. You will have performance problems with raid 5.

    Here is my test/dev setup.

    Core i7
    Asus p6t
    12 gigs ram
    Kingston 4gig USB flash drive ( This is where I installed ESXi)
    4 WD RE3 500gig disks in RAID 10
    3ware 9650 controller
    2x Intel PCIe nics

    Keep your data stores to a maximum of 300g a piece, this is essentially short stroking them.
    The VMFS file system is limited to 2tb partitions max, I would never create one this large, see above ;)

    Here is a cool link with a compatibility list and forums http://www.vm-help.com//esx40i/esx40_whitebox_HCL.php



    Just out of curiosity, how many VMs do you have running on this baby? and what are they used for?

    As I am looking to build (my first) ESXi (half testing, half production) server.
    Is it true that ESXi only supports 4 cores? so If i drop in a 16 cored AMD Bulldozer EXSi wont work?
    Thanx.
  4. zer0net said:
    Just out of curiosity, how many VMs do you have running on this baby? and what are they used for?

    As I am looking to build (my first) ESXi (half testing, half production) server.
    Is it true that ESXi only supports 4 cores? so If i drop in a 16 cored AMD Bulldozer EXSi wont work?
    Thanx.


    ESXi can support as many logical processors and cores based on the licensing. I run ESXi clustered on all my production servers at work, and have 4 processors each with 8 cores w/ hyperthreading per processor.
    The free version of ESXi will allow you to have two logical processors, so you could in theory, based on the compatibility list, have unlimited cores, but 2 processors for the free version.

    Here are the machines I run on the Core i7.

    2 Windows Server 2003 Domain Controllers
    Windows 2008 R2 Server - File Server, Sharepoint sever
    Ubuntu 9.04 Server 64bit - Old Web Server
    Ubuntu 10.04.1 Server 64bit - Current Web Server
    Ubuntu 10.04.1 Server 64bit - Testing Server
    Windows Vista Enterprise 32bit - Testing and development box
    Ubuntu 10.04.1 Desktop 64bit - Testing and development box
  5. This topic has been moved from the section CPU & Components to section Systems by Mousemonkey
  6. toosober said:
    ESXi can support as many logical processors and cores based on the licensing. I run ESXi clustered on all my production servers at work, and have 4 processors each with 8 cores w/ hyperthreading per processor.
    The free version of ESXi will allow you to have two logical processors, so you could in theory, based on the compatibility list, have unlimited cores, but 2 processors for the free version.

    Here are the machines I run on the Core i7.

    2 Windows Server 2003 Domain Controllers
    Windows 2008 R2 Server - File Server, Sharepoint sever
    Ubuntu 9.04 Server 64bit - Old Web Server
    Ubuntu 10.04.1 Server 64bit - Current Web Server
    Ubuntu 10.04.1 Server 64bit - Testing Server
    Windows Vista Enterprise 32bit - Testing and development box
    Ubuntu 10.04.1 Desktop 64bit - Testing and development box


    These are all running at the same time? thats pretty good.
    I will be waiting for the new Bulldozer and Sandy Bridge to build my testing rig. And if i build a dual socket unit then free version of ESXi wont even recognize my second processor thus defeating the purpose.

    Have you guys tried Xen for virtualization? any thoughts on that?

    Thank you
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