So, we have meant to move both produciton servers and develoment servers accross to a virtual server platform for a while now – but time / development time has been at a minimum. Recently however I came accross this great post by – Tinkererguy on Tinkertry.com. Tinkererguy had picked out a very similar spec whitebox ESXi to my goal – a resonably priced / high-end workstation, capable of easing us across to virtualization without a large supplier bill!
The kit :
|Case||Antec Take4||TAKE 4+650 UK|
|Motherboard||Asrock Z68 PROFESSIONAL GEN3||Z68 PROFESSIONAL 3|
|CPU||Intel Core i7 2600||BX80623I72600|
|Memory||Corsair Vengeance 16GB DDR3 1600Mhz||CMZ16GX3M4A1600C9|
|RAID Card||LSI MRSAS9260-4I||MRSAS9260-4I/KIT|
|HDD||WD 1TB 3.5″ SATA3 6Gb/s Caviar Blue (x4)||WD10EALX|
|Backpane||Icy Dock MB994SP-4S Drive Enclosure||MB994SP-4S|
|2.5″ HDD||Seagate 750GB 2.5″||ST9750420AS|
|Flash Storage||Use an existing – as ESXi is low IO|
The kit was selected for the following reasons:
[tabs] [tab title=”Case”] On several occasions I have been disappointed with the quality of whitebox cases, but workstation and server – it seems that there are “Budget” cases and “Enthusiast” cases, but nothing inbetween. The Antec Take4 is a high build quality, 4U rackmountable server case, with a fairly good airflow design. I would definately mark the case down for the inability to remove the 4x HDD trays which I would have liked to maybe replace with a better HDD backpane. Rigidity is good, and there was plenty of space for fitting 4 internal 3.5″ HDDs and my 4 bay 2.5″ HDD backpane. [/tab] [tab title=”Motherboard”]
- Motherboard is compatible with ESXi v5.0
- Individual SATA3 drives are detected, but when configured in RAID they are still displayed as individual drives.
- Both onboard 1Gbps LAN are detected and work fine.
- Supports VMDirectPath (VT-d) using my Core i7 2600 (note the 2600K does NOT support VT-d)
[/tab] [tab title=”CPU”] According to PassMark (link) the 2600 is the fastest mid-priced CPU, capable of VT-d with a resonable ‘oomph’ behind it! [/tab] [tab title=”Memory”] Quite simply, most of the higher end DDR3 would be suitable for this project – so I picked Corsair, a brand that I have used many times before in the past.[/tab] [tab title=”HDD”] Caviar Blue drives offer a balance of performance and reliability. The SATA3 6Gb/s interface should help give good transfer speeds for the main data store. [/tab] [tab title=”RAID”] The LSI range have always been reliable, and as well as being on the VMWare compatability list
- New SATA3 6Gb/s
- Provides RAID 10 (my chosen setup see HERE for RAID types)
- Great future-proofing with upgrades such as CacheCade, BBU etc
Next step – build a Whitebox VMware ESXi 5.0 server (wait for the bits to turn up, and hope all works as planned!)