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RAM Versus CPU in ESXi server

Posted on 2009-04-14
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Last Modified: 2013-12-10
I All,

I am building a lab pc that will host three VM on ESXi.

I am planning to use it for testing ex: 2 Exchange VM in a cluster, 2 SQL 2005/2008 in a cluster, MOSS07 in a cluster.

Will I be better of with a 16GB RAM and one Quad core CPU?

Or 8 GB RAM and two Quad core CPU?

Intel core 2 quad q3800 2.5ghz 4mb l2 cache lga 775 95w
Kingston HyperX 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 1066 (PC2 8500) Dual Channel
I appreciate your knowledge.
Nir
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Question by:STSDSE
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Expert Comment

by:za_mkh
ID: 24139846
My experience is that the more memory the better. Exchange and SQL eat up memory but it also depends on how heavy your testing is going to be. If the load on your exchange servers will be light, a single quad core could be sufficient to run them all.
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Justin_W_Chandler earned 50 total points
ID: 24139869
I use ESX every single day, and the answer is RAM RAM RAM! 16GB RAM and one Quad core CPU is the best investment. The CPU power is shared by the virtual machines, whereas the RAM is dedicated. Look at it this way:

1. host - 8 cpu + 2GB RAM
    vcpu1 - 8 cpu + 2GB RAM
    vcpu2 - 8 cpu + 2GB RAM
    vcpu3 - 8 cpu + 2GB RAM

2. host - 4 cpu + 4GB RAM
    vcpu1 - 4 cpu + 4GB RAM
    vcpu2 - 4 cpu + 4GB RAM
    vcpu3 - 4 cpu + 4GB RAM

Justin Chandler
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Author Comment

by:STSDSE
ID: 24140440
OK

I will go with 16GB RAM and one Quad core CPU.

Now, when I get some $$ in the bank, should I increase my RAM or get another CPU?

Will ESX recognize all my drive if they are not in RAID? And will it expanded from one drive to the other if a VM will run put of space?

Or should I go with RAID 0 for the big drive pool.

I know there will not be any redundant, but it is test environment.

Thanks much

Nir
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Expert Comment

by:jsvkav
ID: 24141575
I agree to the Experts above.  The more RAM the better.  Our environment has 4 Dell R900 servers (512GB of RAM, and close to 200Ghz of CPU power) in a cluster with ~150 VMs total.  The cluster is only getting tax'd around 10% of the CPU resources while RAM is at 60%.  So, I would get more RAM than get another CPU.

ESX recognizes different types of HDDs.  Please check out this link:  http://www.vmware.com/pdf/vi3_35/esx_3/r35u2/vi3_35_25_u2_installation_guide.pdf

If a VM runs out of space in other partitions other than system (C:\), you can allocated more HDD space to the VM and use diskpart utility that is built into Windows to increase the size.  As far as extenting C:\, what we do is restore an image taken by VCB, and increase the size of C:\ during the restore using vmware converter.

In my case, I would never do a non-redundant RAID configuration even if it's test/dev environment only.  If a disk fails then your VMs are still up and running, then all you need to do is replace the broken HDD.  

Good luck!
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Author Comment

by:STSDSE
ID: 24141917
Hi,

About the RAID, like I said I know that if a drive fails I will lose the data, but this box is for my home use.

Thank you all for the great advice.

Nir







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Expert Comment

by:Justin_W_Chandler
ID: 24142400
Hard drive space is CHEAP! If your controller can handle it, build a RAID0 (if you dont mind a major rebuild if a drive fails) or RAID10 (if you like to keep things happy if a drive fails) array and give the VM the max you think it would need. Once you get more money, you could certainly add more CPU power or RAM. At that point it might be a good idea to check your system usage... because for the huge majority of applications, 4GB of RAM will be sufficient... not to mention 4 CPUs... Frankly as this is a home rig and you won't be seeing any major loads, this rig should last you quite some time as it sits.

By the way I think it's absolutely hilarious that you're building a cluster of virtual machines. It's for learning purposes, I'm sure... but still quite funny :)

Justin Chandler
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Author Comment

by:STSDSE
ID: 24152119
I went with the i7 CPU and 12GB RAM.
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