8 Replies Latest reply on Jul 21, 2008 5:50 PM by kjb007

    Basic ESX 3.5 Server recommendations?

    Mr.Flibble Hot Shot


      I have a Dell 1800 Power Edge server here at work, and in previous threads I found out that it will work with ESX 3.5, even if it is not on the supported list. However, it does not have enough RAM for our purposes, thus we are left with a choice.



      Upgrade the RAM in this old system for around $1200, an then convert it to ESX 3.5 or, purchase a new Dell box such as a Power Edge 2900.



      Now, of course the newer system will be faster and supported etc. However, currently, we do not have a NAS or a SAN at our office, it will probably be over a year before we get one added in here. We only need to run Dev/Test at this location.



      What do you think for running ESX 3.5 on either a 1800 or a 2900 in a non-NAS/SAN configuration? Save the budget by getting RAM for the 1800 so we can get the SAN/NAS later, or go with the 2900 for standalone now?



        • 1. Re: Basic ESX 3.5 Server recommendations?
          Mr.Flibble Hot Shot


          I should add, the intended use for this box is for development running at most, 10 VMs at any one time, although, most of the time it will likely be running 4 VMs. The OSs will be similar (mostly 2003) and thus the memory will be overcommited.



          We don't need a beast, just a test/dev server.



          • 2. Re: Basic ESX 3.5 Server recommendations?
            bannonm Enthusiast

            Have you considered using the Dell 1800 as a NAS/iSCSI device and getting the new 2900? You can use the open source program Openfiler to run a NAS on the old system. You stated this was for dev/testing so this gives you an opportunity to play with iSCSI. Granted it won't be as fast as a real SAN, but for learning/testing/dev stuff it might be sufficient.

            • 3. Re: Basic ESX 3.5 Server recommendations?
              Mr.Flibble Hot Shot


              Yes, I have also looked at FreeNAS as well. The thing is though, the 1800 is currently running Red Hat Enterprise and VMWare Server (GSX) and it is using around 2% CPU utilization. It is really just sitting idle. We are looking at moving most of our application/server stuff here in DEV/TEST to ESX, and given how lightly loaded the 1800 box is, ESX looks like the best solution.



              Why so if GSX is currently buring so little CPU. Well, the feature set difference of course, and all the other goodies that ESX provides that GSX does not. (And yes, it really is GSX, it has not been upgraded in a few years!)



              • 4. Re: Basic ESX 3.5 Server recommendations?
                kjb007 Guru

                If you can move those workloads somewhere else, I'd try and ESX before I decide to purchase additional hardware.  You say you don't have much RAM, but how much is not much?  How many vm's are you trying to run on this server?




                1 person found this helpful
                • 5. Re: Basic ESX 3.5 Server recommendations?
                  lfchin Enthusiast


                  I will suggest you to look at the latest series of R generation from DELL which is more likely virtualization ready. I am currently using the R900 pretty easy you can achieve 30:1 with high perfomance VM. The ESX is running with 128GB memory and on board 10Gbps ethernet port ready.









                  • 6. Re: Basic ESX 3.5 Server recommendations?
                    Mr.Flibble Hot Shot


                    The Dell currently has 6 GB of RAM.






                    I just installed ESX 3.5 on it today, and it seems to be working fine. Mind you I have not yet migrated any of our GSX images over to it yet. I will be installing VI Center on a Windows 2003 as well. I don't really need it with only 1 ESX machine, but we are planning to branch out in the future, so I might as well get it done.



                    • 7. Re: Basic ESX 3.5 Server recommendations?
                      Mr.Flibble Hot Shot


                      The R900 is good, but it is a bit of overkill for our needs here where we do Dev/Test. There are really only 5-6 people using images at the most, and when that happens many of us are using the same images. It is a far cry from when we do consulting where we are in large ESX cluster environments.



                      It is funny really, I am used to working with ESX in an environment where cost/hardware is usually not a limitation!



                      • 8. Re: Basic ESX 3.5 Server recommendations?
                        kjb007 Guru

                        6 GB of ram is fair for a dev/test server.  You could run anywhere from 6-12 light vm's on the server.  Typical windows servers will run fine with 512mb ram, and you can still use overallocation here as well, and let your ESX host manage your memory for you.  That's one of ESX's specialties.  It could be better, but at least you have something to start with.