Hardware Spec for Virtual Server and multiple Virtual Machines

grind67
grind67 used Ask the Experts™
on
Hi friends,

I would like to build/buy a desktop PC with a hardware spec, which should allow me to install Virtual Server (ESX, Oracle VM, etc) and setup multiple virtual machines to run concurrently. Basically to setup and SIT environment or something like this in my deskop pc to play around and learn new suite of products install/configuration on Linux platform
Ex below 5 VMs:
Install oracle 2 node RAC database
Install OID,
Install Weblogic server
Install Fusion Middleware
Etc.

My request is:
1. Could you suggest a good hardware spec to support above scenario please? For example: CPU (i7 960, Xeon, etc), HDD 10k rpm, Memory? I can spend 1.5 – 2.5K USD (also I don’t need Highend Graphics card, monitor)
2. Is windows 7 ultimate good enough for the desktop?
3. Any other suggestions/advise that I need to be mindful?
4. Any pointers to reference material etc.

Anything would be very much appreciated.

Thanks in advance
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Awarded 2009
Top Expert 2010
Commented:
It would be more cost effective to buy yourself a entry level server.

For example the HP Proliat ML330 will support upto 196Gb of RAM which is where you will struggle with a desktop PC, see here: http://h10010.www1.hp.com/wwpc/us/en/sm/WF06a/15351-15351-241434-241646-241477-3948598.html
Gary CaseRetired
Most Valuable Expert 2013
Top Expert 2009

Commented:
Agree that you should use a server-based motherboard or system.    Be SURE it uses buffered RAM -- the Proliant suggested above is okay IF you use the RDIMM memory modules (not the unbuffered modules).

Running multiple VM's will quickly "eat" your memory ==> and unbuffered memory systems start to be notably less reliable when you install a large number of modules.   Buffered RAM does not have this problem ==> but desktop motherboards don't use buffered modules; so a server board is definitely preferable.    Note that some low-cost "server" boards use unbuffered modules -- so be careful what you buy.

Windows 7 is fine for your desktop OS.
Awarded 2009
Top Expert 2010

Commented:
If you will be running 64bit VM's you will need to use a 3rd party product like VMWare Server on top of Windows 7, this will obviously add to the memory requirements.

Alternatively you could use a free baremetal hypervisor like VMware ESXi: http://www.vmware.com/products/esxi/

Or HYPER-V server: http://www.microsoft.com/hyper-v-server/en/us/default.aspx
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Top Expert 2010

Commented:
Be advised that desktop OS's are not officially supported for VMware Server. For VMware Server to function/perform correctly, you need to install it on a Server OS (see pg. 25 of the VMware Server User's Guide: http://www.vmware.com/pdf/vmserver2.pdf).

If you do use a desktop OS (Win7, XP, or some Linux-based desktop OS), you need to run VMware Workstation (about $189US).

For hardware specs, whatever you decide upon, I recommend a quad-core CPU with the VMs you're wanting to create/test with; for RAM, make sure your latpop/desktop can host quite a bit (minimum 12GB is what I always recommend).

Here is a recent post on this topic:
http://www.experts-exchange.com/Software/VMWare/Q_26290613.html?sfQueryTermInfo=1+10+30+hardwar+spec

Regards,
~coolsport00
Awarded 2009
Top Expert 2010

Commented:
VMWarecServer may not be officially supported but I have it running in Windows 7 and it's where I do all my migrations.  It's never caused me a problem :)

Besides that it's free :)
Top Expert 2010
Commented:
I understand, but if you only knew the headaches I've had assisting other posters here in the VMware Zone that could have been mitigating from the get-go if they'd install it on the proper OS. (once they did, whatever issue they had was resolved)

That being said, keep in mind I'm not saying that it won't install/run, but it isn't officially supported...and it does indeed cause problems. I will also say that most of those problems revolved with Server around being installed on WinXP, not Win7. My "expert" opinion here is to follow VMware guidelines though. BTW...I have ESXi installed on non-supported hardware myself....and in production :)

Thanks.
~coolsport00
Awarded 2009
Top Expert 2010

Commented:
I agree, in production always follow manufacturer guidelines. :). However in a test environment I wouldn't be so strict :)

I also have ESXi running on an "unsupported" platform :)
Top Expert 2010

Commented:
We're such rebels! :)

~coolsport00

Author

Commented:
Thanks to each one of you for your suggestions.

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