Deciding on Machine for Remote Virtualisation - PC or Server

Posted on 2011-09-26
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2013-11-23
Hello guys :)

Im back with a slightly different question, ....

I am in the middle of deciding on another server as the one i have is Blatantly not good enough, (HP DL360 G4 / 6GB Ram ) ...

I am browsing around the net and i am wondering this ...

What are the main differences between servers and PC's

Do i need an actual server to do what i am looking for,

please could you tell me if the following system would do what i am asking regarding remote virtualisation :
3.4GHz Quad Core AMD Phenom2 x4
8GB DDR3 Ram

if it is not a good idea to do this on a PC, .. would the following be sufficient specs for at least 5 remote users :

HP DL380 G5

or even .....


I do know that ALL mentioned above have the VT+ feature

P.S. i understand if i googled this for long enough i will find scattered answers, but i would prefer to hear this kind of information from the "Experts"

Thanks in advance

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Expert Comment

by:Andy Keeney
ID: 36600920
server hardware (i have found) is inherently better because it is made to take the kind of "abuse" that would be necessary for VMware.  are you attempting to run VDI (virtual desktops) or just servers?  If it is desktops, what OS, applications, and so forth?  If it is for servers; What OS, applications, services would you be running?

Expert Comment

by:Andy Keeney
ID: 36600932
also the number of NICS and speed of backplane matter also.  You will need at LEAST 2 nics for a single server i would recommend 3 or more.  No less than a 1 Gb back plane.
LVL 123
ID: 36600957
Servers or Desktops - servers usually have server class components used, Processors and Storage, namely, but also a server has been designed with Airflow in mind, to ensure higher performance, dual power supplies, dual network cards to add redundancy.

But at the end of the day, it's memory, processor and storage in a case.

Do do not need a server to build a Terminal Server based PC (server or desktop), provided you use a fast CPU, motherboard that can provide a lot of memory, and a good fast storage system (non SATA), SAS based storage controller and storage.

However, *YOU DO NEED* a Server which is on the Hardware Compatibility List to run ESXi 4.1 or ESXi 5.0.

If you decide to build, what we call, a Whitebox server, it's built with risks attached that it may not support ESXi.

See here for compatile motherboards or servers for ESXi


3.4GHz Quad Core AMD Phenom2 x4 - 8GB DDR3 Ram - It is very difficult to comment, if this would work with ESXi, it depends on the motherboard.

Both the DL380 G5 are suitable for use as ESXi 4.1 and ESXi 5.0 and Terminal Services (Win2k8 R2)

1 X QUAD CORE 2.0 GHZ XEON would be okay, 2 x Dual Core would be better.
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Author Comment

ID: 36709893
Hello, i am in need of some quick advice related to this, ..

I am having a hard time deciding which to choose, ..

Can anyone say if there is a huge difference between the DL360 G5 and the DL380 G5 ?
(and indeed all in between like DL385 etc..)

Will the Dual Core 2.6 Ghz be noticably slower than Dual Core 3.0 Ghz ?

Are the 2 listed below good for what i am looking for

    2 x AMD Opteron Dual Core 2.6 Ghz (2218) - AMD-v (Virtualization) - 64-Bit
    8 GB RAM - PC2-5300P ECC
    HP Smart Array P400/512MB BBWC Controller
    2 x 73GB SAS Hard Drive Installed (146GB RAID)
    Dual/Redundant Power Supplies
    Dual Embedded Gigabit NICs


HP XW8400 2x Dual Core 3.0Ghz Workstation Tower PC 16GB
    TWO Intel Xeon Dual Core Processors - 3.0Ghz
    16 GB DDR 2 RAM
    On-Board SATA & SAS RAID Controllers
    500GB SATA Hard Drive
    Nvidia Quadro FX3400 Graphics Card
    SuperMulti DVD+/-RW LightScribe

Hopefully with your help, i can purchase a server today and get on with it lol

LVL 123
ID: 36709934
DL380 has more disk slots, oherwise it's the same.

DL385 are AMD processors rather than Intel.

number at the end signifies CPU vendor
0 - Intel
5 - AMD

2.6GHz or 3.0GHz, there will be a small difference.

As for the HP XW8400, it may not be on the HCL for use with ESXi.

Author Comment

ID: 36709966

thanks, that clears that up, now i found this :
    Product Description - HP ProLiant DL380 G5 High Performance - Dual-Core Xeon 5160 3 GHz
    Type - Server p/n  418315-421
    Processor - 2 x Intel Dual-Core Xeon 5160 / 3 GHz ( Dual-Core )
    Cache Per Processor - 4 MB l2 cache
    Storage Controller - RAID ( Serial ATA-150 / SAS ) - PCI Express x8 ( Smart Array P400 )
    Hard Drive - 1port 15K 72Gb 2.5" SAS HDD p/n 431930-002.
    Optical Storage - CD-RW / DVD-ROM combo.
    Graphics Controller - ATI ES1000 - 32 MB
    Networking -  2 x Gigabit Ethernet
    Power - 2 x PSU fitted
    Form Factor - Rack-mountable - 2U
    Dimensions (WxDxH) - 44.5 cm x 66.1 cm x 8.6 cm
    Weight - 20.4 kg

That looks good to me, what about you ?

would you recommend this machine ?

it seems to have alot of everything including 16Mb Ram

just about in my price range too

LVL 123
ID: 36709985
Only has 1 hard drive, and no BBWC, so storage could be bottleneck for Virtualisation.

It's on the HCL.

Author Comment

ID: 36709990
scratch that, its an auction with 5 days, no chance

this is alot more difficult to chose a system, than it is to set them up

i refuse to give up tho

Author Comment

ID: 36710000
would you recommend intel or AMD chips are there any major differences between them when it comes to Virtualisation ?

LVL 123
ID: 36710011
That's a personal choice, we always use AMD!

Author Comment

ID: 36710321
ok, thanks hanccocka, it has come down to these 2 machines :

if you could sway my decision it would be appreciated :

HP DL380 G5 2U Rackmount Server
    2 x AMD Opteron Dual Core 2.6 Ghz (2218) - AMD-v (Virtualization) - 64-Bit
    8 GB RAM - PC2-5300P ECC
    HP Smart Array P400/512MB BBWC Controller
    2 x 73GB SAS Hard Drive Installed (146GB RAID)
    Dual/Redundant Power Supplies
    Dual Embedded Gigabit NICs


HP DL380 G5

2x Dual Core 3.2 Ghz

HP Smart Array P400 256Mb
4Gb Ram
1x PSU
No Hard Drives
(sorry no more info on this one,
doesnt come with hard drive but will be same price if HDD ordered with it)

im thinking the first one,
do you agree ?

can i purchase with piece of mind

Thank you so much for your help with this, i mean it :)

LVL 123

Accepted Solution

Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2) earned 2000 total points
ID: 36710370
we assume the first is a DL385 if it had AMD Processors.

we would purchase the

HP DL385 G5 2U Rackmount Server
    2 x AMD Opteron Dual Core 2.6 Ghz (2218) - AMD-v (Virtualization) - 64-Bit
    8 GB RAM - PC2-5300P ECC
    HP Smart Array P400/512MB BBWC Controller
    2 x 73GB SAS Hard Drive Installed (146GB RAID)
    Dual/Redundant Power Supplies
    Dual Embedded Gigabit NICs

More RAM, Disks, and Dual Core, AMD CPUs!

So you've got 4 x 2.6GHz of CPU Grunt.

and you've got a BBWC controller which helps with performance, set to 75% write, and 25% read.

We would purchase the first!

Author Comment

ID: 36710412
Great thanks, ..

then that is the one im going to buy,

im pretty sure i read that i can upgrade the Ram to 32MB if i wish to at a later date

and can you confirm i can use for at least 3-5 remote users with the specs above

LVL 123
ID: 36710584
yes you can.
LVL 32

Expert Comment

ID: 36711444
You can fit up to 64GB of RAM.  You could probably fit 10x the number of users with just 8GB if they are general office workers.  If the server is used, check the age.  You might consider buying and installing a new BBU for the RAID for peace of mind.  There's usually a battery calibration/learn function that can test the battery capacity & let you know if it's charging.


Author Closing Comment

ID: 36711560
I have not received the server i purchased yet, but i am confident that hanccocka has provided me with more than enough information to help me begin my project.
hanccocka has been quick to answer and extremely helpful regarding this little dilemma i was having.

I could not have done this without hanccocka's help, i would recommend his assistance and service to anyone who seeks an accurate answer in a very respectable response time.



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