13 Replies Latest reply on Feb 3, 2015 5:51 PM by eloylinus

    ESXi Home Server - Build Help

    HeartyEggnog Lurker

      Hey,

       

      I've been struggling to build an ESXi home server because of the compatibility.  Here's my current build:

       

      Intel i7 4790

      Gigabyte Z97-HD3

      2x 1TB Western Digital HDDs (SATA)

      Ballistix 16 GB DDR - 1866

       

      I realize my motherboard isn't compatible (Now that I purchased it).  First it was the NIC, now it's not seeing the HDD's.  I bought an Intel NIC that works with ESXi.  If I buy a RAID controller, will that get me around the compatibility issue?  Will I run into any more issues?  Or what is the cheapest motherboard that'll work with a LGA1150?  I've been fighting with this way too much and I just want to find the easiest way to make this work .

       

      Thank you very much for your help.

        • 1. Re: ESXi Home Server - Build Help
          Vijaynb Novice

          Hi,

           

          I am not sure how you are building the home server or lab. If you are installing the ESXi directly on the physical server, please HCL list by VMware.

           

          Or if you are installing on VM, refer the below URL:

           

          http://bettervirtualization.wordpress.com/

           

          Regards,

          VijayNB.

          • 2. Re: ESXi Home Server - Build Help
            HeartyEggnog Lurker

            I'm installing it on the physical machine.  And yes, I was hoping someone could help me with the HCL as I'm having trouble finding a motherboard that works and is relatively cheap. 

            • 3. Re: ESXi Home Server - Build Help
              JPM300 Expert

              I took a look on the hardware compatibility list for you, and it seems most of the ASUS or Gigabyte boards it lists are full out enterprise class or require an Intel Xeon CPU which is going to BUMP the price up significantly for any home build.  I wouldn't focus so much on the board as when you search for motherboards on the HCL site it is always bringing up whole built systems for instance:

               

              asus.JPG

              asus2.JPG

               

              gigabyte.JPG

               

              I wouldn't worry to much about the motherboard and more so the parts as the HCL breaks it down pretty well by parts, IE. CPU, Storage, Raid Controller, ect.  However with that said since it is a home build people probably couldn't say with 100% certainty you will not run into the odd issue if you get all the parts that are on the list, however I have a few friends that have done it and it is working well with home builds by just getting the parts that are all on the HCL(CPU, NIC, RAIDController).

               

              So long story short if you get a raid controller that is on the HCL you should be okay as long as your CPU, Raid Controller, and NIC are on the HCL.

               

              Another option that you could consider is build up your system as you like, then use something like autolab(Free fully deployable esxi 5.x lab) to virtualize ESXi 5.x with Vmware workstation.  ESXi can be fully virtualized and that is how I run my lab at home.  I have a system with 32GB of memory a SSD hard drive, and a Intel i7 CPU and I get a full 3 host ESXi lab setup to do any testing I need.   Now if it is to run actual systems for you / servers for you, you will probably want to sort out the bare metal install.

               

              Anyhow, hope this has helped.

              1 person found this helpful
              • 4. Re: ESXi Home Server - Build Help
                HeartyEggnog Lurker

                Thank you for your response.  At this point I'm frustrated enough that I really would like it to boot from bare metal.  But if I can't sort it out today, I'm going to take your suggestion...   I'd like to buy a SATA card that's compatible with VMware but when you search for a SATA controller, it gives you a chipset.  Is there any way to easily search for a chipset on a SATA card?  Or how do you search for Intel's ICH10?

                 

                http://blog.fosketts.net/2011/01/27/vmware-esx-sata-pata-compatibility-cheat-sheet/

                 

                Thank you.

                • 5. Re: ESXi Home Server - Build Help
                  boazV Lurker

                  I tried the home build path, but honestly I found it cheaper to buy something that's on the HCL used off of eBay. For under $200 I got a used Dell T110 that is on the HCL, and I was able to get a physical install of 5.5 in about 30 minutes. Up and running real fast.

                   

                  ....unless building a machine is part of the learning experience

                  • 6. Re: ESXi Home Server - Build Help
                    JPM300 Expert

                    After looking for some time most of the raid controllers that are compatible with VMware HCL is 200-700$ in price.  You might be better off getting an older HP P400 raid controller or something like that: http://www.amazon.com/HP-Smart-Array-512MB-Controller/dp/B000FVQZD0

                     

                    None the less you can go the HCL site: VMware Compatibility Guide: I/O Device Search

                    And search for Standard IO Devices and search for Vendor make / SAS/SATA raid controller.  I know my buddy bought a LSI Mega raid however it set him back $500

                     

                    I took a look at what you where saying as far as chipsets and it appears SATA does only show chipsets, unforantly its getting harder and harder to find just SATA raid cards.  With that in mind you could try and find a board with a raid controller chipset that is on the HCL and just swap the board out?  However

                    you can probably get some olders HP or DELL raid cards for pretty cheap now-a-days.  Heck at my old company we had heaps of them laying around from when we vitalized the last batch of servers.

                     

                    Also Boaz had a good idea as picking up old servers online is pretty cheap and just takes the head-ache out of the whole ordeal, however I imagine your have already invested a fair bit into this build so that option might sting a little more.

                     

                    If you do go the autolab route, or what to build your own lab from scratch feel free to reach out to the community or pm me with any questions as I'd be glad to help

                     

                    I hope this has been helpful.

                    • 7. Re: ESXi Home Server - Build Help
                      MrRossco Novice

                      Hey Mate,

                       

                      I recently purchased a GA-Z97M-D3H motherboard (with i7 4790) to run ESXI 5.5

                       

                      I came across this post whilst looking for an answer - I found one so I thought I'd share (should work for your motherboard as well, I don't think there is a large difference).

                       

                      The answer lies in the drivers, ESXi 5.5 doesn't have the right sata-xachi OR NIC drivers.

                       

                      You can get these in a VIB format here:

                       

                      (VIB file itself) NIC VIB File: www.tinkertry.com/install-esxi-5-5-with-realtek-8111-or-8168-nic/

                      (VIB file in the links at the bottom of this page) sata-xachi: http://vibsdepot.v-front.de/wiki/index.php/sata-xahci (this site seems broken, if you search and go through the mainpage it can load, this is a copy-paste of the link though...)

                       

                      Then you will need to inject these into the ESXi 5.5 iso with the ESXi customizer (www.v-front.de/p/esxi-customizer.html).

                       

                      And then install your customised ESXi iso onto your machine (I used Rufus for this: https://communities.vmware.com/thread/457760 ).

                       

                      Good-luck!

                       

                      p.s. attached the VIB files if you don't want to visit the sites.

                      • 8. Re: ESXi Home Server - Build Help
                        jfromaniello Lurker

                        Hi there

                         

                        I'm looking to build something like this, Did you use an I7 4790 or an I7 4790k?

                         

                        Both should work?

                         

                        Thanks

                        • 9. Re: ESXi Home Server - Build Help
                          HeartyEggnog Lurker

                          Either should work, I used the 4790.  I also ended up purchasing a SATA controller and a Intel NIC which ended up allowing me to see the HDD's.  For both, I tried to find one with a high degree of Linux compatibility since there are no consumer grade parts on the HCL... 

                          • 10. Re: ESXi Home Server - Build Help
                            Clauu Lurker

                            Hi, what sata controller have you purchased?

                            • 11. Re: ESXi Home Server - Build Help
                              jobab Lurker

                              hi MrRossco,

                               

                              im installing ESXI 5.5 on GA-Z97-HD3 motherboard (With i5 cpu)

                               

                              i did the steps just like you.

                              injected the sata-xachi and also the realtek NIC 8111/8168 with the customizer

                              and then the install runs OK. and then i reboot...

                               

                              the esxi fresh install runs for somthing about 1-3 minutes. at this time im conecting to it via vsphere client, then i go to summery tab and i cant see any resorces while the cilent programs stuck and gives errors

                              which are all the same -

                               

                              Cal "PropertyCollector.CreateFilter." for object "ha-property-collector" on ESXi "192.168.10.2"  failed.

                               

                              and if go go to host comsole it seems not responding

                               

                              any ideas for this situation ?

                               

                               

                              10x

                              Jobab

                              • 12. Re: ESXi Home Server - Build Help
                                jobab Lurker

                                the solution for the situation with my GA-Z97-HD3

                                i just disable the VT-d feature in BIOS. hope it will help someone in future

                                • 13. Re: ESXi Home Server - Build Help
                                  eloylinus Lurker

                                  Thanks!!

                                   

                                  It Really works for me.

                                   

                                  Thanks again.

                                   

                                  eloylinus

                                   

                                  Mexico