sc00bie
Contributor
Contributor

ESXi Server 3.5 on Very old hardware

Hi,

Im new to VMware and trying to learn more about virtualisation. I was wondering if this version of ESXi would run on an old platform based on Intel PIII dual processors with a host OS of 2003 server. There may be a Promise SATA PCI RAID card used for a mirror, but the OS will be installed in an IDE HDD. Motherboard is an ASUS and around 2-4gb RAM.

If anyone can help I'd appreciate the feed back

Thanks...

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4 Replies
Luckybob
Enthusiast
Enthusiast

ESXi is a standalone OS, and would not require Windows 2003. If you are going to use the Host OS Windows 2003, you can use VMware Server 2, which operates like ESXi, but has many differences. If you want to run ESXi I would head over to the Hardware Compatibility List and see if what you have is a supported setup (I don't think it is, but it is worth a check). I am pretty sure ESXi Installation will be out of the question on the hardware you listed. If that is the case, I would recommend running VMware Server 2.

sc00bie
Contributor
Contributor

Hi Luckybob,

thanks for your reply and clarification between esxi and it being a standalone OS. I thought the hardware might be a touch out of date but will give server 2 a try.

cheers.

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asatoran
Immortal
Immortal

ESX3.5 will install on pretty much any PII or later CPU. IDE drives are not supported, but since it does work with IDE CD drives, some have reported they have been able to get the boot partition on an IDE drive. But it's not supported so in general, you need a SCSI or SATA controller. The Promise SATA controller is likely software RAID which is not compatible with ESX. While it may work, you probably won't get RAID.

The other piece that's picky is NIC. The common Realtek NICs mostly do not work. Check the ESX compatibility list or vm-help.

Me personally, I installed ESXi3.5 on an old eMachine, PIII Celeron, 2GB RAM (Max the MB could take.) I added a $30 PCI SATA card (Si3512 chip) and some Intel 100 Pro NICs. (Onboard Realtek NIC didn't work.) Other than the SATA card, everything else was "throwaway parts." If I changed it to boot from USB stick and used a SAN for storage, I wouldn't even need the SATA card and drive. Smiley Happy

Obviously, I'm not going to run any large VMs or use it for production, but it was a good machine to learn ESX.

sc00bie
Contributor
Contributor

Hi asatoran,

sounds like a plan to me, I have a couple of 3COM nics, the pci sata card is a reasonable solution and easy implimentation. I have a few sata drives that I can throw in, the raid card was used for a back up with a mirror, so its not drastic if things don't play well. Main point is to learn and familiarise with this technology.

many thanks for your suggestions on the hardware, I really didn't want to throw out a perfectly good board and processors when they can still be useful..

Cheers :smileygrin:

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