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Microserver HP MicroServer for a home vCentre Lab.

Dave Smith
Dave Smith asked
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Last Modified: 2020-10-19
Hello, looking at the following spec for a home ESXI lab running 7.0 and using vCentre. Looking to possibly buy the following:

Going for £400/$500 - HP MicroServer G1610T Gen8, E3-1220 @ 2.20Ghz,16GB, P212, 4x2TB HDD, 1x250GB SSD

Will updrade the RAM to 32GB but for now that's the spec when bought.

Is a gen 8 compatible with ESXI version 7? And can i in future use it for testing vMotion and other SRM and such like.

Dave

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KimputerIT Manager
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Commented:
Definitely passes minimum requirements for ESXi 7.0.

vMotion is more related to the networking between 2 machines (local network or even remote), so doesn't really have meaning in this stated question (it would have meaning if you said, 2 building connected by an ADSL connection).

Author

Commented:
Kimputer, thanks for the reply. may add a 2nd unit in future.  with 32GB ram could I have say 1 DC , 2 exchange servers set up in a DAG, and maybe another application served running SCOM?
KimputerIT Manager
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Commented:
Sounds like you're intending 4 servers, meaning much less than 8GB for each. If you want a smoothly running system, 8+ GB is much better if your budget allows.
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert PRO / EE Fellow)VMware and Virtualization Consultant
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Commented:
There is no 32GB support

But these are ideal for labs we have many and although not officially on the HCL for 7.0 they do work!

They were on the HCL for previous versions and have internal MicroSD cards for installation of ESXi

What you need to remember is that VCenter Server will use 12 GB of RAM on one of those servers which does not give much memory for anything else


I would fill with SSD in the four slots

Depending on budget power requirements there may be better options at £400!!!

Do you want low power?

Low noise?

What is Max budget?

Author

Commented:
Andrew, many thanks for your reply. I thought the max RAM for the 8th gen was 32GB? But even so with 12GB dedicated to one of the servers running vCentre that doesn't leave much capacity for anything else.

My budget is around £500.

Not bothered about power consumption or noise levels.

It won't be on all the time either as it's just for testing stuff from work and doing VMware/Windows IT certs, etc. May want to more testing with vMotion but would need to purchase another unit and that would be further down the line.

I was looking a rack servers but then this unit or the Intel NUC seem to be recommended?

https://www.scan.co.uk/shops/intel/nuc10-performance-mini-pc

Grateful for recommendations/thoughts.
KimputerIT Manager
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert PRO / EE Fellow)VMware and Virtualization Consultant
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Commented:
To my knowledge nobody ever had the money to waste testing the Gen8 with 32GB because the modules were not available originally

I would Google VMware Home Lab Builds

but these can get expensive BUT £500 buys a nice single desktop which you can use to build a vSAN cluster using nested VMware Workstation

Intel NUC SuperMicro servers are options but £500 does not get you much

if you don't mind noise you may get 2 or 3 Dell R720 or R730 from eBay

Author

Commented:
Cheers for replies.

Its more the size of the server rather than the noise of the thing!

Why would the NUC be a better bet that the HP micro server? Would the i5 version be adaquate I wonder? Is this based on max RAM capacity? I think the NUC is up to 64GB? Could maybe stretch to £600 if needs be. But the NUC has only one NIC so how would this reduce the lab testing capacity with VMware/Hyper V?

And which desktop would be a good fit?
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert PRO / EE Fellow)VMware and Virtualization Consultant
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Commented:
Any desktop which can run Windows for VMware Workstation, which you can pack with 32GB-64GB!

With vCenter Server now wanting at least 12GB of RAM for a tiny installation, you'll need at least 16GB, which means a single server will consume it all just running vCenter Server.

So you would need another Gen8.
Philip ElderTechnical Architect - HA/Compute/Storage
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Commented:
Option 1:
 * ASRock Rack ROMED6U-2L2T
 * AMD EPYC Rome 7262 8 Core or 7302P 16 Core (both 155 Watt TDP)
 * 6x 16GB RDIMM for 96GB ECC RAM
 * 2x Intel/Micron/Samsung Enterprise (That's with Power Loss Protection) 1TB to 2TB SATA SSDs in RAID 1
 * Basic 600 Watt PSU
 * Fractal Design NODE 804 or Silverstone Tek CS381 (has hot swap bays)

The above is a perfect fit for a lab and should come close to your budget.

Lots of room CPU and RAM wise and good IOPS/Throughput from the SSDs.

Option 2:
 Intel build ...
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert PRO / EE Fellow)VMware and Virtualization Consultant
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Commented:
for £600 GBP ???

the motherboard alone in the UK is at least £500, Case - £100, CPU - £600. Memory £540, SSD - £500

PSU  £50
Philip ElderTechnical Architect - HA/Compute/Storage
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Commented:
Okay then, go:
 * E3C246D4U2-2L2T 
 * E-2200 series entry level
 * 4x 16GB UDIMM
 * 2x Intel/Micron/Samsung PLP SATA SSD

Or, pick up a used R620 off an auction site and drop a couple of SATA SSDs in it.

Author

Commented:
Many thanks for the replies.

Philip, rather than building a PC from scratch with the component parts. I would prefer to have something already built and ready to use. Would a R620 be a better option than a R720/730, is it still current enough to use the latest software like centre version 7?? Andrew recommended the R720 or R730 in an earlier post. Will probably be using it for a two or more years and then iso it needs to be up to date as much as possible!

How about this one (a R620) ? Comes with two SSDs>

https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Dell-PowerEdge-R620-Xeon-E5-2640-2-50GHz-6-CORE-128GB-DDR3-Perc-H310-2x240GB-SSD/113209830144?hash=item1a5bd4eb00:g:6aoAAOSw8Mtdxzaj
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert PRO / EE Fellow)VMware and Virtualization Consultant
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R620 is just a smaller Dell Unit in terms of expansion.

I would try and get a model as late as possible.

and then there is the XD models which have lots of disk options.

looks ideal for a lab

Author

Commented:
yes the R620 is 1U which is preferred over the r720 2u model. looks like they were both released in the same year (gen 12). Has anyone installed vCentre 7 on a R620? don't want to buy one and then find a compatibility problem! looks like someone had a problem installing on a H310 Perc 🤔

this looks like a good deal? one with SAS drives though:

https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/114136378457

compared with one with SSDs:

https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/124103468473
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert PRO / EE Fellow)VMware and Virtualization Consultant
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Commented:
Anything which is NOT on the HCL, will suck it and see unless you can get verified working config.

We've used R730/R630 with ESXi 7.0.

Don't get too sucked into these box shifters, on eBay, they are configured to sell, they may have just put in two x Samsung 240 EVOs that were not designed for the server.

SSD and Controllers need to match sometimes, otherwise you'll get issues.
Philip ElderTechnical Architect - HA/Compute/Storage
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Author

Commented:
I've gone full circle after reading the very helpful advice on here and now looking at the NUC (an i7) with a max RAM capacity of 64GB (will probably buy with 32GB and upgrade later)

Thought about space and power and then decided against getting a full sized server.


So i have two options with this, either nested using VMware workstation or on bare metal and then browsed in with another machine - whats the best option here? Going nested would mean bumping up the cost as i would need to purchase VMware workstation and include a Windows license with the NUC.

If bare-metal, I take it I could configure the NUC with ESXi and then connect it directly to my home router and then browse to the vCentre web interface over WiFi using my MAC? *Edit  - didn't realise the NUC was NIC Wifi enabled, but I cant imagine there is a way to connect the bare metal install of ESXi to my home wifi, or is there?!

Thanks once again for your time and patience!
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Author

Commented:
Cheers for everyones help  - will close this comment down as I have enough info to decide which option to go for!
Philip ElderTechnical Architect - HA/Compute/Storage
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Commented:
Thank you sir! :)