Using an old PowerEdge 2900 I for a VMware Host

Posted on 2014-10-23
Last Modified: 2014-10-29
I have an old PE 2900 I server laying around and I'd like to get some use out of it.  It has 2 Xeon 5130 (dual core) 2.0Ghz processors and currently has 12Gb RAM.  It has 8 300Gb SATA drives attached to a PERC 5/i, I'd probably configure as 1.2Tb RAID 10 VD.  I'm thinking about using it for 8 to 12 Windows 7 VM's.  The VM's would run two apps, a SQL vertical and Outlook.  I want my remote users to RDP into these VM's to run these apps across our site to site VPN.  The VM's will just supplement their desktops.
I can't see a need for Vcenter, concerned about the RAM and core usage.  I do think I'll have the client buy Essentials, for the support if nothing else.
The highest processor I can run in the box is a Xeon 5160, still dual core, but 3.0Ghz.  I can buy a pair of those for $20.  I'd probably bump the RAM up to 32Gb or 48GB.
Does this make any sense, or am I trying to make a silk purse out of a sows ear?
Question by:trelstadtech
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Accepted Solution

Stampel earned 167 total points
ID: 40399311
Sure it does make sense,i am using 2 , PE2950 for testing purpose VMs but i am using SAS drives.
Just be sure you will not generate too many concurrent IO on the SATA disk as SATA doest like much concurrent IO.
This should be balanced by the use of RAID10.
LVL 120

Assisted Solution

by:Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2) earned 167 total points
ID: 40399385
I would first check the HCL, to see what version of ESXi is supported for your 2900.

12GB RAM is not much for testing, you may need to increase the ram.

If there is a version of ESXi (5.1/5.5) available for your server, make sure you download the OEM version from the Dell website.

Check the VMware Hardware Compatability Lists HCL here

The VMware Hardware Compatibility List is the detailed lists showing actual vendor devices that are either physically tested or are similar to the devices tested by VMware or VMware partners. Items on the list are tested with VMware products and are known to operate correctly.Devices which are not on the list may function, but will not be supported by VMware.
LVL 35

Expert Comment

by:Seth Simmons
ID: 40399770
if you're gonna put a 5160 in there then you can run 5.1 Update 2; 5.5 is not supported for that system

those systems can run up to 64gb so with a system that old, memory should be cheap
if you're doing that much work on it for disk and cpu, might as well max out the ram for the most bang for your buck
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Author Comment

ID: 40399831
Thank you very much for your replies.  I have already loaded 5.5 on this system, just for playing around with.  I did download the installation from Dell's website and I did not have any issues.  In looking at the HCL, I see they list the PE 2900 III with a 5100 series Xeon, I'm not sure a III ever shipped with a 5100 series.  So I'm not to sure what to think of that.  I did order a few processors, but have not ordered the RAM yet.  I'm getting conflicting reports on max memory too, Kingston says 96Gb, Crucial says 48Gb.  I'll have to research that a little more as I'd like to use the  8Gb DIMMs.
LVL 35

Assisted Solution

by:Seth Simmons
Seth Simmons earned 166 total points
ID: 40399877
your previous post was right, it is 48gb - 6 slots with 4gb each.  8gb modules not supported
where i worked before i had a number of 9g servers but were 2950/6950 which the latter supports 64gb
LVL 120
ID: 40400052
What the HCL means, is for some reason, Dell and/or VMware did not certify your server for 5.5 for your make and model of server.

This does not mean it will not work, BUT puts you in a grey area with VMware, when it comes to support!

Because, they can use the HCL as a "get out of jail card" in the event you have issues!

You will need to access the risk for your users and organisation, if you wish to run services on this server.

Author Closing Comment

ID: 40410297
Thank you very much for your help.  I did order the (slightly) faster processors and 48Gb RAM.  It was less than $200 for both, so not out a lot of dough if it doesn't work out.  Thanks again.

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