looking to build a very inexpensive whitebox for esx3
suggestions on hardware? i noticed some tyan boards, looking for something cheaper.
amd or intel, prefer amd if it works.
gig or 2 of ram
prefer sata drives (since i have spares)
i want to stick it in a tower case.
any help is greatly appreciated. need specifics on boards, cpus and storage.
Search these forums, there are plenty of threads on it. Also see vmguru.com for articles on how to configure iSCSI and NFS for VMFS storage (can make whitebox deployment easier).
Of course, it's not supported.
You could probably get a very cheap System which is on the HCL from Ebay
Obviously for test and dev it dosnt need to be, but it always helps when trying to solve those really odd issues that crop up from time to time..
Failing that one of my ESX 3 Server cost about $300 from ebay.. A Old Compaq P4 with 2G and Adaptec 2910 SCSI with two 36G H/Ds.. It works...
Good point acr. Mike, I have seen people spending weeks (months even) making a whitebox solution when they could have spent a few hundred bucks on an old HP or IBM off ebay.
If this is for work test/lab , this is the way to go. For home, noise can be an issue for some.
ahhh, I had the same dilemma a few years back. Mind you I did have a 1.5m rack stacked with old IBM servers
I got the same ultimatum - so I consolidated to a single powerful workstation and a media centre.
...the good news was, in selling all that equipment I could buy more (less noisy) toys!
seems to run nice on home pc parts:
AMD 64 3200+ (2 GHz)
2 gigs ram
MSI K8N Neo4-F
Intel Pro 1000 GT
just need to solve the storage problem. currently using nfs from a linux box. ideally sata would be nice.
again, this was just a test run to see how picky esx is with hardware.
the dell 1800 looks tempting at the moment.
In this thread you find some running configs:
Please post yours as soon as you have your system up and running.
By the way, it mainly depends on the Storage-Controller and NIC.
My testlab contains three P4 workstations.
36GB SCSI HDD
these are the two ESX configs.
WinXP Host with VMWare workstation:
Host itself used for VI client
VM1: fedora core iSCSI target for 200GB shared storage
VM2: win2003 with dns, dhcp and sql for virtual center DB
VM3: winxp hosts VirtualCenter and license server
very cheap setup, no Server and not very loud.
hope that helps
I have an Asus A8V MB (it takes ECC in case you have some lying around) with an AMD Athlon 64 3000+ It will take a dual core as well, and up to 4 GB memory.
Controller is an LSI megaraid 150-4 SATA controller and NICs are some old HP 100 mbps dual port NICs.
The e100 drivers are taking quite a while to load, so I will try to change them with som Intel gigabit desktop adapters and see if that changes things.
Besides that I'm quite pleased with it, and its very silent.
In the offie I have a Dell PE 1800, and that is actually quite silent too. I would consider something similar to the PE1800 perhaps with the megaraid sata controller installed, so you can use cheaper SATA-drives..... now that we are all unsupported here ;o).
Tyan S2881G2NR Motherboard Thunder K8SR with AMD Opteron 265
ADAPTEC 2610SA 64MB 6port SATA RAID Controller DELL
2 x Samsung HD300LJ, T133, 7200rpm, 8MB, 300GB, SATA-II
The adaptec 2610SA works well - pick one with a battery pack if you have the choice. Gives you better performance.
I just put together the following:
4GB ECC PC-3200
Dell 2610SA SATA - currently 4 240GB Drives - experimenting with RAID 10 and RAID 5 (1MB Stripe size)
Megaraid Elite 1600 - 2 - 146GB SCSI drives RAID1 (64k stripe)
Disk performance wise, I've run the following command
dd if=/dev/zero of=/vmfs/volumes//a.log count=1000000 bs=1024
MegaRAID with Writethrough was about 10 minutes to create the file
MegaRAID with Writeback was 57seconds (have a battery on order as I type this after that performance boost
2610sa with Cache enabled RAID 10 - 3:46sec to write the 1GB file
2610sa with Cache enabled RAID 5 (still rebuilding array) - 11minutes for 512MBytes - obviously terrible performance. Will update post when the rebuild has completed.
Cheeko - I haven't seen any of the Dell's mention a battery, just the onboard memory - got any links to a battery pack?
As an update to the above post
Once RAID5 rebuild completed the above file creation completed in 4:27sec
Pretty close to RAID 10 and gives me an extra 250MB. I think I'll stay with that.
Henrick - I noticed your running ESX on an ASUS MB. I purchased a ASUS A8V-VM AMD64 VIA K8M890/VT8251 chipset, when attempting to install esx 3.0.1 it panics during the installation boot process. I have tried many BIOS setting but can't get by this, did you have a similar experience, any thoughts. Windows XP and RH4U3 installs just fine
By the way, when I removed the old PCI-X HP/Compaq dual port 100 mbps NICs and installed some regular PCI desktop adapters (Intel Pro 1000 GT desktop), the boot sequence really speeded up.
For the time being I'm just using an IDE disk, my experience is that esx will install just fine on an IDE disk, just can't create vmdisks. The SATA controller is disabled. I plan to use a emulex HBA to a small FC array.
I'm thinking the VIA chipsets in the A8V-VM are newer than what you have. What are the chips sets on your motherboard?
When booting the instalation kernel the last message I see on the screen prior to the panic is "PTY: 256 UNIX98 PTYs Configured" Then I see
EIP: 0060:\ Not Taintend
..........Aditional register information
In the Bios i have tried disabling many various things such as the floppy, ide disk, comm ports, USB ports, Power features (apic), etc. I always get the same results. There are several advanced setting which I have no idea what they do such as CPU GART, MTRR, and memory Configuration options, I have played with them but get the same results.
Again any advice/suggestions would be helpful.