Dell R820/VMware compatability

Bill Courtney
Bill Courtney used Ask the Experts™

I am looking at the VMWare HCL. We have Dell R820s with Xeon E5-4640 v2 processors.
The processors are a go for 6.7.x but the host itself is not. Is it likely the motherboard itself
is keeping the 820 off the list??

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There are TWO questions implied here:

1. Is it supported?  Obvious answer is no.
2. Will it work? That is a little trickier, but I would guess it would run just fine. Realistically, you would need to test it to be sure though. Fortunately, it is pretty easy to obtain a free version, which is adequate for testing purposes.

So, my advice would be to grab a copy, try installing it, and see what happens. If it installs and seems to work it is almost certain to be fine, but for production work I would advise more extensive testing; load up a heap of VMs and thrash them for a few days with a heap of file copies, CPU benchmarks, VM migrations and whatever else you can throw at it.

The problematic areas are typically the NIC and RAID card, these will block installation if no drivers are supplied in the native image. It is possible to add drivers, if they exist, but it gets a bit tricky.
System Engineer Datacenter Solutions
I think the main problem is, compatibility is not automatically verified be VMware, but vendors have to test and certify their hardware.

As the DELL Gen12 Servers are now in market for over 5 years, and replaced in sale with gen 13 servers since 2014, DELL will not put much energy in certifying Gen12 for vSphere 6.7

Beside CPU compatibility, you should verify NIC and RAID Controller compatibility:

In the VMware HCL are also the recommended tested Driver and Firmware versions.
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE Fellow)VMware and Virtualization Consultant
Fellow 2018
Expert of the Year 2017

Is it likely the motherboard itself
is keeping the 820 off the list??

or Dell/VMware want you to purchase a new server!

Install ESXi 6.7 on it, and TEST, TEST, TEST and when you finished TESTING do some more testing.

Also you need to assess the RISK, if you need support with VMware, if you have any issues, because usually they'll not support you, e.g. answer your support call (if they found out or work it out!).

if you were using FREE ESXi - then does it matter ?

So these are Risks you need to manage for your organisation.

We have many clients, that do not use Certified Hardware, and ESXi is working fine, but those Clients, also choose not to have VMware Support! (with VMware)

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