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New Server Project

Hello! It's been a while since I last posted here with my own topic. I now have a dedicated ESXi server in the works. The server project is meant to replace (and exceed) my previous workstation - a Dell Precision T7500. Here are the specs for the hardware:

 

HPE ProLiant DL580 G7

 

 

    OS   :: VMware ESXi 6.5u3 Enterprise Plus
    CPU  :: 4x Intel Xeon E7-8870's (10c/20t each; 40c/80t total)
    RAM  :: 256GB (64x4GB) PC3-10600R DDR3-1333 ECC
    PCIe :: 1x HP 512843-001/591196-001 System I/O board + 
                1x HP 588137-B21; 591205-001/591204-001 PCIe Riser board
    GPU  :: 1x nVIDIA GeForce GTX Titan Xp +
                1x AMD FirePro S9300 x2 (2x "AMD Radeon Fury X's")
    SFX  :: 1x Creative Sound Blaster Audigy Rx
    NIC  :: 1x HPE NC524SFP (489892-B21) +
                2x Silicom PE310G4SPI9L-XR-CX3's
    STR  :: 1x HP Smart Array P410i Controller (integrated) +
                1x HGST HUSMM8040ASS200 MLC 400GB SSD (ESXi, vCenter Appliance, ISOs) + 
                4x HP 507127-B21 300GB HDDs (ESXi guest datastores) +
                1x Western Digital WD Blue 3D NAND 500GB SSD + 
                1x Intel 320 Series SSDSA2CW600G3 600GB SSD +
                1x Seagate Video ST500VT003 500GB HDD
    STR  :: 1x LSI SAS 9201-16e HBA SAS card +
                1x Mini-SAS SFF-8088 cable + 
                        1x Dell EMC KTN-STL3 (15x 3.5in HDD enclosure) + 
                                4x HITACHI Ultrastar HUH728080AL4205 8TB HDDs +
                                4x IBM Storewise XIV v7000 98Y3241 4TB HDDs
    I/O  :: 1x Inateck KU8212 (USB 3.2) +
                1x Logitech K845 (Cherry MX Blue) +
                1x Dell MS819 Wired Mouse
            1x Sonnet Allegro USB3-PRO-4P10-E (USB 3.X) +
                1x LG WH16NS40 BD-RE ODD
    PRP  :: 1x Samsung ViewFinity S70A UHD 32" (S32A700)
            1x Sony Optiarc BluRay drive
    PSU  :: 4x HP 1200W PSUs (441830-001/438203-001)

 

 


The details for the ProLiant DL380 Gen9 will appear here once data migration is complete. VMware Horizon (VDI) will have to wait for a future phase (if implemented at all). The current state of self-hosted VDI is Windows-centric, with second-hand support for Linux and no proper support for macOS.

The planned software/VM configurations have been moved back to the LTT post, and will be changing often for the foreseeable future.

Product links and details can be found here.

 

ESXi itself is usually run from a USB thumb drive, but I have a drive dedicated to it. No harm done. A small amount of thin provisioning/overbooking (RAM only) won’t hurt. macOS and Linux would have gotten a Radeon/FirePro (ie., Rx Vega 64), for best compatibility and stability, but market forces originally prevented this. Windows 10 gets the Audigy Rx and a Titan Xp. The macOS and Linux VMs get whatever audio the Titan Z FirePro S9300 x2 can provide. The whole purpose of Nextcloud is to phase out the use of Google Drive/Photos, iCloud, Box.com, and other externally-hosted cloud services (Mega can stay though).

 

There are three other mirrors for this project, in case you're interested in following individual conversations from the other sites (in addition to this thread).

 

P.S. Out of all the sites that I've ever used, this forum has one of the best WYSIWYG editors I've used in a while Smiley Happy

Kudos to the devs!

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256 Replies
TimSheppard
Enthusiast
Enthusiast

Just a quick note that flash read cache is now deprecated - vFlash Read Cache Deprecation Announced - VMware vSphere Blog

Edited to add that you would be violating the macOS EULA and I suspect VMware's EULA by running macOS on non Apple hardware.

It also looks like the latest version of ESXi that a DL580 G7 supports is 6.0 U3.

scott28tt
VMware Employee
VMware Employee

Moderator: Running MacOS on anything other than Apple hardware would be a violation of the Apple EULA and cannot be discussed here.

This post can remain in relation to all the other things you are doing, but please keep MacOS out of any discussion.


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TopHatProductio
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Understood. I'll keep MacOS out of the discussion here. Thanks for the heads-up.

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TopHatProductio
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The version(s) of ESXi that apply to my use case were released before the deprecation, weren't they? Did VMware go back and retroactively remove the feature from older ESXi images? Or is it just no longer officially supported? Just trying to make sure I know what I'll be facing.

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TimSheppard
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Deprecated means the feature will be removed in a future release however that feature will remain in earlier versions.

Out of interest, why are you choosing a DL580 ? Are you able to get one super cheap? I would have thought it would cost an absolute fortune to run.

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TopHatProductio
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  1. Thanks for the clarification on deprecation.
  2. I've been using a Dell Precision T7500 with 48GB of DDR3 ECC and a mid-range graphics card. The DL580 G7 came to me for under 300 USD, and can take a lot of the parts that I already have on-hand. Parts for it also have been super cheap lately, which allows me to have spare parts inventory for it (in case something goes wrong). I'm also working toward using HPE-branded drives, to keep the fans from ramping up too easily. The only concern I have at the moment is power consumption, but that's being looked into by my household already.
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TopHatProductio
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Currently waiting on some HP-branded SAS drives for the server, since those have the potential to affect the acoustics in a positive manner (reduced sound output). Can't wait to test them out when they arrive. Then I'll be able to test a VMware ISO on the server. I'll be sure to document how that goes.

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TopHatProductio
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Made some changes to the SAS HDD choices I'm using, due to compatibility and acousitcs reasons. While I could go and LLF the whacky NetApp drives I purchased, I'd still have to put up with a noisier server afterward. I'd rather move in a different direction, and restrict that issue to my decisions in PCIe cards instead. Also removed the old HITACHI HDD, since it didn't really belong in this project. It's SATA 1 or 2 iirc. Here are the items I kicked from the project:

  • (1x) 250GB HITACHI HTS542525K9SA00
  • (4x) 600GB HGST NetApp X422A-R5 SAS

Still looking to see if I can get the Dell mouse...

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TopHatProductio
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Currently looking into making a custom ESXi 6.5 image for the DL580 G7, since official support was axed after 6.0. I already own the license, and I'd rather not waste it in laziness. It wouldn't be the first time I had to do something like this. On a side note:

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TopHatProductio
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Just removed a Tesla K10 from the project. It's been reduced to a spare component, for the sake of noise reduction and power concerns. Artix Linux is no longer in line to receive a GPU. MacOS will take over the F@H role. If you have any questions, feel free to ask.

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TopHatProductio
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Once I buy this cable (to power the HBA disk array), the server project will be ready to go. I definitely should list the E7-2870's, since I can't use those with the server.

The interesting part is, it has molex and other endings on it to. Multipurpose...

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TopHatProductio
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I've ordered the cable. Now I'm just waiting on the postal service to get it to me, so I can (possibly) begin the project this Wednesday. The last week I'll spend in pre-installation delay. I should be able to test out ESXi 6.5 installation today, as long as no one/thing interferes this afternoon...

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TopHatProductio
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Delaying initial ESXi testing to this Thursday, since today got swamped with unexpected events.

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TopHatProductio
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Currently looking into VMware Horizon 7, for app virtualisation. Time to see if I can beat Turbo/Spoon at their own game.

If I can move UnGoogledChromium and KeePass 2 to a remote instance, I'd call that the first step to success...

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TopHatProductio
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Replaced the Rosewill RASA-11001 with a Kingwin MKS-435TL, due to the fact that it doesn't need molex and will also have a cleaner look to it.

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TopHatProductio
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Grabbed the wired mouse. Now back to the waiting game, to see when everything will arrive in the mail...

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TopHatProductio
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The new drive cage arrived via Amazon. There's only one item left that hasn't arrived in the mail yet - my new mouse...

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TopHatProductio
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TopHatProductio
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Onto the next issue:

Also have to look into this at some point (even though the server will be mostly hiding behind a VPN):

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