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 Whitebox specs 
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Joined: Mon Jul 13, 2009 8:44 am
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Post Whitebox specs
Hello everyone!

I'm looking to buy or build an ESXi4 (white)box for my lab environment.

I would like to be able to run around a maximum of 10 VMs at the same time (4-5 if Windows-based).

I also would like to use a spare RAID card I've got (DELL PERC 5/i).

I was thinking to something like 4 cores and 12Gb of RAM...

But I can't seem to find something pre-build matching these criteria, and I don't know much about actual hardware/whitebox to put something together myself (but I do know how to assembly the stuff, I just don't have the actual specs/prices in mind).

If someone is kind enough to help me on that, will be greatly appreciated !

My budget is around 700 €, but the lesser the better ;)
If the solution is custom build, do not count the hard drives I have some around.

Thanks a lot by advance.


Fri Dec 11, 2009 3:04 pm
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Joined: Mon Mar 16, 2009 10:13 pm
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Post Re: Whitebox specs
If you search the forum for "16GB" you'll get a number of hits for systems that support that much memory. I prefer Intel / Asus / SuperMicro motherboards and a single quad core CPU will be sufficient for your needs.

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Dave Mishchenko
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Sun Dec 13, 2009 9:01 pm
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Joined: Mon Jul 13, 2009 8:44 am
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Post Re: Whitebox specs
Thanks Dave, I've seen some of these systems, but I can't seem to find (at least in France) a pre-build system that fits in my budget.

Having said that, I wanted to know if someone had build a system with a SuperMicro chassis/motherboard and a Q9300 Intel Quad Core CPU ?

In this case, which motherboard did you choose ?

I can't find any informations about that here on the board.


Wed Dec 16, 2009 9:10 am
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Joined: Mon Jul 13, 2009 8:44 am
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Post Re: Whitebox specs
Hum, I finally decided to build my server on a i7 base, because I wasn't able to find a Core2Quad motherboard that gave me at least 6 RAM bank.

My final setup :
- Motherboard : ASUS P6T SE
- CPU : Core i7 920
- RAM (12Gb) : 2 x Corsair 6Gb (kit 3x2Gb)
- NIC : Intel Pro/1000

Everything is working fine under ESXi 4.0 Update 1, except the onboard NIC.

The passthrough seems functionnal, I will test if I'm able to direct assign the on board NIC to an inside VM working as bridge, for the art of the thing :)


Sat Dec 19, 2009 2:10 pm
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Joined: Thu Jan 07, 2010 4:47 am
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Post Re: Whitebox specs
Hi zak,

Does your system support VT, are you able to run 64bit VMs?

Thanks.


Thu Jan 07, 2010 4:49 am
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Joined: Mon Mar 16, 2009 10:13 pm
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Post Re: Whitebox specs
Just in case you don't hear back, the X58 chipset supported Directed I/O (VT-d) so I would be surprised if the MB wouldn't support VT-x (Virtualziation Technology). But VT-x is a CPU feature (VT-d is a chipset feature) so you'll

1) Want to check the BIOS manual to see if they expose the VT-x option).
2) Verify that the CPU will support will support VT-x


X58 specs http://ark.intel.com/Product.aspx?id=36785
Search here on the CPU - http://ark.intel.com/Default.aspx

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Dave Mishchenko
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Thu Jan 07, 2010 8:12 pm
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Joined: Mon Jul 13, 2009 8:44 am
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Post Re: Whitebox specs
Thanks for the pointers Dave.

I've been able to use VT on this setup.

In fact, due to the location of this system, I don't really need it, because the server is standalone (no network storage) and I only have one network cable to plug in it.

But what I've done is, I created a tiny VM to use as router, created an internal only vswitch, for all other VM, and setup RDR/NAT rules on the router standing between the physical network and the ESXi internal network.

This way, the ESXi has no direct access to the physical network. It's effectively locked in side itself.

Hard to explain, but a great fun to do :)

PS: Didn't tried 64bits VMs though, maybe I'll give it a shot when I get time, quite busy at work right now.

zak.


Fri Jan 08, 2010 12:54 am
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