Best budget/green ESXi hardware for home LAB.

Posted on 2014-09-17
Last Modified: 2014-09-18

What is these days the best ESXi hardware for a home lab (reasonable power consumption)?
Intel NUC, HP MicroServer Gen 8 ...?

I currently have HP Microserver with 16GB ram with 1,2 Ghz dual core CPU, so would like to upgrade to 32GB or 64GB and bigger cpu.

Please advise.
Question by:janhoedt
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LVL 121

Accepted Solution

Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2) earned 500 total points
ID: 40328678
Is power performance or electrical related ?

If you want to purchase a white box, ready built a ready built HP MicroServer Gen 8 (and processor change!), or Intel NUC, are very popular. We have both.

However, max memory on a NUC and ProLiant is limited to 16GB.

If you want something with more memory, which is a white box, then you will need to look at the ProLiant Tower range (more money, more electrical power!).

Select ML350e, if you want maximum RAM (192GB per server) - but there's cost, electrical and server costs.

Recently we have been building white boxes, based on Intel i7 and Desktop Motheboards. (48GB per desktop!)

Author Comment

ID: 40328691
Can you advise on those whiteboxes?
LVL 121
ID: 40328983
These are not cheap whiteboxes....and not Budget!

But are new whiteboxes are based on

Gigabyte GA-X99-UD4 Motherboard
Intel Core i7-5960X Extreme Edition 3.00GHz (Haswell-E) Socket LGA2011V3 Processor
8 x 8GB (64GB) 2133MHz DDR4 RAM

ASUS Dual Xeon Z9PE-D8 WS Motherboard
2 x Intel E5-2697v2 12 Core Processor - 2.7GHz
8 x 16GB (128GB) 1600MHz DDR3 RAM
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Author Comment

ID: 40328988
Thanks! So what are prices for these then?
LVL 121
ID: 40329119
6k and 10k
LVL 62

Expert Comment

ID: 40329323
Typical laptop will have UPS included and let you reach 32GB RAM (same on Intel or AMD), just do a quick check if virtualisation extensions are present on CPU.
And if you have couple of extra bucks you can play games while ESXi-s spin in background....

Author Comment

ID: 40330191
gheist, can you clarify what you suggest?
LVL 62

Expert Comment

ID: 40330277
A laptop with maxed out memory and virtualisation-capable CPU. It is a bit more expensive than microserver but less limited.
Then you run nested ESXi(s) inside vmware player or workstation (nesting needs all virtualisation extensions in CPU, not the simplest one - check vmware's pages on subject)
LVL 121
ID: 40330341
Best labs, are based on physical servers, and with a physical server, a MicroServer Gen8, VM Direct Path I/O can also be tested.

Also there are very few 32GB laptops available.
LVL 62

Expert Comment

ID: 40330441
I agree, you dont have many PCI slots on a laptop...

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