I am currently reviewing my options to improve my virtual environment at home. As all of us, I am trying to keep cost down, but get the performance I need and have some scalability.
It would be great to get some pointers if I am headed in the right direction or if I should re-structure my strategy.
I have wanted shared storage for sometime now so my current plan is to turn my existing ESXi host into a Openfiler iSCSI SAN. Been eager to use VI features. I was about to pull the trigger on a cheap disk less Dell 2900 ESXi host but with the recent release of the Xeon E5000 series I am leaning toward another whitebox.
Brief summary of current setup
Whitebox ESXi 3.5 U3 host
6 Active VMs (much slower since recent 2 additions)
Giga-byte M/B, P4 3.2 HT w/ 3.2GB RAM
Adaptec 5805 512MB
1x Intel EXPI9300TBLK 1Gbit
1TB RAID1 WD Blacks
1 74GB RAID0 WD Raptors
4 standalone WD SATAs
VM's and 1TB datastore load balanced over HDDs.
VI and backup server
XP Pro SP3
Athlon64 system, 2GB DDR
4x eSATA, 1TB eSATA disk
Veeam FastSCP offline backups
Netgear 8 1Gbps smart switch
2x1500VA APC UPS
The Openfiler would use the same hardware as my current ESXi host. I wanted to add an additional Intel dual port PCIe x4 for 2Gbps team but this M/B does not have the slot. This limits me to 3 separate PCIe x1 Gbit NICs and no team.
New ESxi 3.5 U4 host
Asus Z8PE-D12 dual 1366 (Extra CPU & RAM scalability)
1 Xeon E5520 2.26Ghz Quad (Awesome VT performance)
12GB DDR3 (Cheap & this is what I desperately need)
Intel EXPI9402PT 1Gbit dual port (primary 2Gbit team w/ SW trunk)
3x Intel EXPI9300TBLK 1Gbit (2x crossover Openfiler, MGT/Backups)
Dual Channel USB flash (Boot ESXi)
1. With the new ESXi 3.5 U4 release this whitebox build should be compatible?
2. STD P4 HT with Adaptec 5805 and Intel e1000 NICs should be compatible with Openfiler?
3. Due to my lack of dual port NICs on the Openfiler SAN, what options do I have to load balance 2 separate crossover connections to the ESX host?
4. With the older hardware, will the Openfiler SAN be able to keep up to speed with the ESX host?
5. Would Vlans be ideal for this small environment?
6. Performance is important and it will be sometime before I can afford another ESX host to use all VI features. Should I dump the Openfiler idea all together and wait until I can afford a decent system? Slap the Adaptec 5805 + HDDs in the ESX host as local LUNs and call it good?
Thanks for any feedback