New DELL server for a VMWARE vSphere Cluster - need some suggestions-

Posted on 2011-02-24
Last Modified: 2012-08-13

We are going to get a new Dell server for one of our ESX clusters, this server will be the 5th node of the cluster. Dell has strongly recommended to go with the R710 with the following specifications (see the picture attached).

I was wondering if you have any suggestions about any changes that we can make to the server configuration in order to get better performance, etc.

Thank you.


Question by:llarava
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LVL 40

Expert Comment

ID: 34974316
Looks fine; if this host will be in a current cluster, does the CPU match what you currently run so VMotion will work with this host?

LVL 121
ID: 34974352
what are the other servers in the cluster, and do you want equally loaded hosts, are you retiring older hosts, increasing the VMs in the farm.

I would always add more memory, but without knowing the total GHz and Memory in th farm, it's difficult to guage what your requirements are, and if you've got unlimted budget!!
LVL 28

Accepted Solution

bgoering earned 250 total points
ID: 34974367
Also looks good to me. A couple of observations...

With only 48GB of memory you will never get close to being able to exercise the two x5650 processors unless you run an extremely cpu intensive workload. I would consider more RAM.

If you would consider ESXi instead of ESX (good time to do it when deploying a new box) consider getting the embedded ESXi along with the server.

Good Luck
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Expert Comment

ID: 34974429
Yep, looks good.  As said above, more RAM can't hurt.  Also, I wouldn't be too worried about getting the same CPU if you are running 4.1.  It is recommended to enable EVC even if you are running a homogenous cluster.

Author Comment

ID: 34974605
All right a couple answers here...


what are the other servers in the cluster? We already have one like this one and 3 Dell PowerEdge 2950 8 CPU 2.992 GHz. Intel Xeon E5450@ 3.00 GHz. with 32 GB of RAM.

and do you want equally loaded hosts? We do not not own DRS we are manually moving the VMs across the servers

 are you retiring older hosts, increasing the VMs in the farm.? increasing the number of ESX hosts because we will be P2Ving new servers.

I would always add more memory, but without knowing the total GHz and Memory in th farm? This is already answered - Any suggestions based on the GHz number?


Can you please elaborate a little bit more your answer? How much RAM do you think it will be necessary?


EVC is already enabled in the cluster.

Thank you everyone.
LVL 121
ID: 34974683
Personally, I would spend money on DRS, this will do the work for you, and you may not need to purchase a fifth host server!
LVL 16

Expert Comment

ID: 34974689
I 2nd bgoering's response about getting the embedded ESXi option, then you won't need to order HD's.  If you don't need the internal storage, you could go with the r610 and save 1U of rack space but still be able to use dual procs and have the same memory capacity.

I think he's trying to say that with those processors, you will be able to load quite a few VM's on this system and you're more likely to run out of memory before taxing the processors ability to handle the load.
LVL 18

Expert Comment

ID: 34974710
I would also recommend increasing the RAM, ditching the PERC card and the SAS drives, and installing ESXi on mirrored SD cards. We are running R810's with 2 X6550 CPUs and we have 128GB of RAM each. So 96GB may be a good spot for you depending on the types of guests you have.
LVL 28

Expert Comment

ID: 34974767
As for necessary RAM that is entirelty dependent on your workload. The servers I just deployed were single x5650 processors with 72 GB of RAM and neither the processors or the Memory is taxed. For your two processor box you have described I would probably allocatge 96GB of RAM if you do normal  business type tasks (as opposed to scientific and engineering.).

The best thing is to take a look at the other hosts you have in your cluster and see what the consumption of each type of resource amounts to. For Example if your have 100 GHz of processor now and on average you are using 40 GHz then you are 40% utilized. If you have 256GB of RAM and are using nearly 200 then your Memory utilization is 80%. That would indicate you are close to needing more memory to accomodate your workload while CPU resources are still just fine.

Assisted Solution

juliovp01 earned 250 total points
ID: 34978611
In this case you need to consider the next couple things at the moment to add a server to a VMware ESX cluster.
- Processors need to be the same as the rest of the servers on the cluster, that mean if you are using AMD your need server will need to be AMD. If your previuos servers have Intel CPUs you should be OK adding the PER710, because those are Intel Xeon.
- After consider that you must check if the CPUs across the servers are the same generation and if not if are EVC compatible. You could check the KB regarding EVC enablement on ESX clusters : .
- Memory and CPU in the servers looks ok to me, but the true is that you should know the processing power and memory that you need to add to the cluster, base in current load of Virtual Machines and future projections. Also base on which rules for HA and DRS are you implementing in the clusters (how many resources your cluster could lost and continue working without issues).

Overall, Dell PowerEdge servers are a great choice for a server, i been working with Dell servers and ESX for couple years and they support is also fantastic. Great choice and good luck with your project!

Expert Comment

ID: 34986637
The spec looks fine. You will run out of RAM way before the CPU load gets busy. We have been running a pair of R610 hosts both 48GB RAM for a year and they have been rock solid. The only future upgrade we might do is double up on the RAM. I take it that you run ESX not ESXi already. I would advise you not to mix the two. You can upgrade all your hosts to ESXi installable in the future.

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