TagUstwo
Contributor
Contributor

Best ESXi 5 hardware?

I was planning to get a Dell PowerEdge r515 configured with ESXi already installed (2x Opteron 8core 4386 3.1ghz, 32gb ram, 6x2tb raid5). Weighing in at 7k+.

Now, that's going to be a hard sell to the company. Another tech came up with 2k for a custom build around consumer grade components, a lot of which weren't mentioned in the compatibility list (3ghz i7, prosumer mobo, single PSU etc.)

If you had a budget of 5k, the less spent on it the better, what would you buy?

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7 Replies
a_p_
Leadership
Leadership

Welcome to the Community,

although I understand that budget is an issue, the primary focus should be on a system which meets your needs. From the selection you posted, it looks like you don't need high performance (no BBU controller, slow disks) but only disk space!?

Please provide some details about what you are planning to run on this system, how you planned backup and disaster recovery (SLA's), ...

As I assume this is going to be a production system, I wouldn't want to rely on unsupported hardware. This could work, but could also break with each update/patch you apply.

André

TagUstwo
Contributor
Contributor

Thanks Andre.

I was looking at SSD or 10k Enterprise disks for the RAID, but, at the capacity we require makes either prohibitively expensive. Would you consider running two datastores on separate RAIDs: one with slow discs for capacity, one SSD for core services? But no BBU will be used.

Disaster recovery consists basically of regular snapshots and datastore backups. Only real SLA to consider is that one of the VMs will be a LAMP staging box that needs external access to be secured to specific, whitelisted IPs. That's done at the firewall level though.

What it will be used for is primarily DevOps. Currently there are a number of different physical servers running different services, I'm looking to centralise as much as possible.

I'll be initially installing 2-3x essentially LAMP (extended configs including many code packages. These get hit quite heavily hosting various in-house services), GitHub Enterprise or GitLab (depending on budget concerns) server, Windows Server for Terminal Services and, the most resource hungry, a CI server which will allow me to spool up slave VMs as required.

So I know that I require multiple network interfaces (1 2xLAG bonded interfaces, 1 management interface etc.), big storage for project dumps and cacheing for in-house services, multiple CPUs etc. The company will be around 150 users in the next 6-8 months, maybe 75+ of those being active developers.

So, as you can see, what I want to see on the hardware doesn't quite match their budgetary expectations. Is my assumption incorrect that the de-facto standard for this kind of environment is still preconfigured SMB / enterprise grade hardware from the big manufacturers? Would you consider running production environment like this on consumer, custom build hardware?

Thanks.

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mcowger
Immortal
Immortal

I would never consider home built consumer hardware for such an environment.  What happens when ESXi PSODs because you have unsupported hardware?  VMware will tell you to go find some supported hardware!

--Matt VCDX #52 blog.cowger.us
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TagUstwo
Contributor
Contributor

My argument exactly. However, home-brew on supported hardware? Personally I'd still prefer to pick a pre-built server by a major manufacturer.

Thanks for the ammo.

Now, what would you consider a good investment? Is something like a Dell R515, HP, or even a big boy IBM system X?

My default choice is the Dell, just because that's the hardware I've always been aimed at in these circumstances.

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ElevenB2003
Enthusiast
Enthusiast

You could look at purchasing refurbished equipment from reputable vendors who will usually provide an in-house warranty for a year or more.  You could probably get a pair of decent servers (HP fan here Smiley Happy ) for around $7K and run VSA between them if you don't have shared storage. Then add more memory down the road as funds permit.

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mcowger
Immortal
Immortal

I see no reason why a system from any of the major vendors (Dell, IBM, Cisco, SuperMicro, etc) wouldn't be fine.

--Matt VCDX #52 blog.cowger.us
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DHusby
Contributor
Contributor

Our company sprung for a IBM 3650 M4 with the ESXi USB option. Sweet hardware but it was 5 levels of hell to order and they are slow with the IBM specific updates.

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