VMWare ESXi - Least Expensive hardware to run

Posted on 2008-11-05
Last Modified: 2010-08-05
Hi, I'd like to build a system (rather than purchase pre-built) whose main purpose would be to install ESXi to host a few desktops. I have reviewed the HCL list but this seems limited to more expensive server systems and hardware. In particular I'd like to be able to run off of a normal SATA drive rather than SAS or SCSI. Is this possible? Reasonably easy to do? This isn't a production system, I will use it personally in lab so I was looking for ways to save a little $$ and still use ESXi. Does anyone have a similar setup and would like to explain their experience?

Question by:goldylamont
    LVL 42

    Assisted Solution

    I am using a HP DL320 G5 with a dual core 2.4 CPU.  Ebay cost was $400 and an upgrade to two 300GB SATA Drives and memory to about $600.

    You can always look at this site for a whitebox config.

    LVL 8

    Accepted Solution

    The following link lists all motherboards and unsupported servers that work with ESX 3.5 and / or ESXi 3.5 Installable:

    Here's another tip: Boot ESXi via USB -

    Let me know if you need additional instructions with the setup. It's fairly straight forward.

    LVL 2

    Assisted Solution

    Tried ESXi on garbage collection (Single Celeron on ICH7, 3GB RAM, 5x SATA 250GB) with  spare LSI. Uptime some 2,5 months.

    Assisted Solution

    I've tried this on two laptops with SATA drives. I get "Unable to find a supported device to write VMWARE server..."
    Just tried it on HP Proliant ML330. It won't boot the CD. I get "isolinux: Disk error F3"
    All seem to be related to disk. Any ideas?
    LVL 42

    Expert Comment

    Try to download and reburn the ISO.  I've had it fail on me before

    Author Comment

    i will try out the USB booting option at some point however it looks like I will need iSCSI storage; I have SATA which is the problem. thanks for sharing your experiences though.

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