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VMware ESXi 5 on i5/i7 for home lab

Posted on 2011-09-12
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Last Modified: 2012-05-12
I have heard rumors that VMware ESXi 5 does work with Intel i5 and i7 processors. Can anyone confirm if it does run on i5/i7 or AMD CPU's? If it does work can you point me to either a bare bone system capable of handling 32GB-48GB of RAM that is on HAL for version 5? Can it work with iSCSI SAN set up using FreeNAS? Primary use will be to build computer networks for testing, let's say 6-10 servers.

Appreciate any help
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Question by:Coffinated
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2) earned 500 total points
ID: 36523985
ESXi 5.0 will work on any Intel or AMD 64 bit processor with Intel VT or AMD-V.

The issue is often the storage or network controller which makes it incompatible.

With the FREE version of ESXi you can only use 32GB vRAM, so make a decision if you are going to use ESXi 4.1 or ESXi 5.0, if you are thinking about using the Free version.

FreeNAS is rubbish, and so is Openfiler, I would re-consider a Solaris based ZFS, OpenSolaris, Solaris Express 11, Nexcenta or OpenIndiana NAS using NFS or iSCSI. NFS on ZFS is better.

Check the following resources for building whiteboxes

http://vm-help.com/Whitebox_HCL.php
http://ultimatewhitebox.com/
http://communities.vmware.com/cshwsw.jspa
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I a little confused, because you also mention poiting you to a system which is on the HAL, do you mean HCL, otherwise here is the Official List

Check the VMware HCL (Hardware Compatability Lists) here

http://www.vmware.com/go/hcl
http://www.vmware.com/resources/compatibility/search.php
http://partnerweb.vmware.com/comp_guide2/search.php

These servers are designed and certified to work with ESXi 4.1 or ESXi 5.0, if you build one, you may experience issues.
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Here are some quick rough tests performed with Solaris Express 11 versus FreeNAS

http://andysworld.org.uk/2011/08/25/oracle-solaris-express-11-versus-freenas-quick-cifs-performance-tests/
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by:Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2) earned 500 total points
ID: 36524038
Fellow Experts Bestway reports the following:-

"Hi

I have installed v5 for testing in a Asus P6P7h55E Barebone and is working just fine. Found no issues until now.

CPU - Intel Core i3-540 3Ghz
Memory - 4Gb Dual Channel DDR3 1333Mhz
LAN - Realtek ALC887, 10/100/1000

I add more memory and a local disk of SATA II 500Gb and this cost me only about 340 euros"
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LVL 119

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by:Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2) earned 500 total points
ID: 36524045
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Of Course, you can install and use ESXi 4.1/ESXi 5.0 on VMware Workstation or VMware Player for FREE.
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by:Coffinated
ID: 36524068
hanccocka:

Yes I meant HCL, solaris Express or any other free or inexpensive solution can be set up.
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by:Coffinated
ID: 36524078
hanccocka:

Thank you for your input I have more than enough info to get started.
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