Buying advice - Home Lab - Dell R630

Discussion in 'Chassis and Enclosures' started by takeawaydave, Oct 6, 2019.

  1. takeawaydave

    takeawaydave Member

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    Hello
    Looking to build a new home lab. I have a basement area however still looking for a quiet set up since I could move in the future. So noise should be kept low however more importantly I will be keeping things on 24x7 and would like low power consumption. Budget is on the low to medium side

    Typically I need to setup the following:

    a) Demo environment consisting of (to stay on 24x7)

    4 x Large VMs - 4 vCPU w. 16GB RAM
    8 x Small VMs - 2 vCPU w. 4GB RAM

    b) QA Testing environment (turn on when needed)

    1x Large VMs - 4 vCPU w. 16GB RAM
    6 x Small VMs - 2 vCPU w. 4GB RAM

    c) Home environment (to stay on 24 x7)

    Plex Server - 4 vCPU w. 8 GB RAM
    Time Machine Server - 2 vCPU w. 4 GB RAM
    General Use Server - 2 vCPU w. 4 GB RAM

    Means that I need to run 24 x 7:
    40 vCPU w. 112 GB RAM

    As well as at times:
    4 CPU w. 12GB RAM

    I was thinking getting a Dell R630 with following spec:

    Chassis
    1 x Dell R630 (1U) 8x SFF Hot-Swap SAS - Hot-Swap PSU - iDRAC Enterprise Licence £200.00
    Processor(s)
    2 x Intel Xeon E5-2630L V3 - 8-Core 1.80Ghz (20MB Cache, 8.00GTs, 55W) £40.00
    Heatsink(s)
    2 x Dell PowerEdge R630 Heatsink £10.00
    Memory (RAM)
    4 x 32GB - DDR4 2133MHz CAS 12.50 (PC4-17000, 2RX4, ECC REG) £125.00
    RAID
    1 x Dell PERC H730p (2GB NV) Mini Mono R630 Kit £250.00
    Network Connectivity (rNDC)
    1 x 1Gbps, 10GbE (Dual Port) SFP+, RJ45 CNA - Dell X520+I350 £60.00
    Rack Rails
    1 x Dell A7 PowerEdge R320, R330, R420, R630, R640 Ready Rail Kit £50.00
    Power Supply(s)
    1 x Dell Hot-Swap PSU 750W 'Platinum' £20.00

    This comes out just below budget at around $1500 however with no storage.

    I plan on running VMWare ESXi 6.7 using a VMUG license.

    I was also considering getting a Synology NAS for cover the storage side however was also reading about VSAN which would be covered under the VMUG Experience license.

    Questions:

    Would 32 threads across the 2 E5-2630L CPU's be able to handle the 40 vCPUs ?
    - There is a pretty large price jump when moving up to the 12C version of these CPU.

    Would segregating the environments using VMware virtual networks using pfSense work ok ? or should I look at adding a hardware managed switch?

    Could consumer grade Samsung SSD's work in the Dell R630 in the VSAN ? If so what would the better size SSD to use be ? Go for few larger or more smaller sized SSDs?

    Since I might in the future buy a second rack mount server I was considering using shared storage instead of local storage. What is VMware compatible and recommended ? Synology ? I would rather not build myself though due to time involved.
     
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  2. Aestr

    Aestr Well-Known Member

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    This is hard to say without knowing your workloads and what concurrent CPU usage on all VMs looks like. You're looking at 2.5-3.5 VCPU/Core which in general is pretty solid, but again it depends on what the VMs themselves are doing at the same time.

    That should work fine.

    You are going to have only one server so VSAN is not an option for you*. See this guide for details on the requirements for VSAN. Regardless of VSAN or not, the general consensus is that used enterprise SSDs have a similar price point to new consumer grade SSDs and provide much more consistent performance, but depending on your requirements consumer could work fine.

    *Small caveat that if you just wanted to play around with VSAN to understand it you could visualize it, but that would be for learning with a poor performance, non-redundant setup rather than building something that works well to host your other VMs. There are guides out there for this.

    I build my own so I'll let others speak to their experiences with prebuilt solutions. That being said if you don't have immediate plans to expand to a second vsphere node I would suggest holding off on shared storage for a single host as you'll spend a lot more and add complexity. Migrating to shared storage down the road won't be much more effort that setting it up now.
     
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  3. takeawaydave

    takeawaydave Member

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    @Aestr - Thank you for the detailed reply.

    I didn't realise this about VSAN - I think I might get a second machine since prices seem to be pretty healthy right now. I'll leave a storage device for some time in the further future.

    On the given link I read the following :

    "Do not run virtual machines from a disk or RAID group that shares its controller with vSAN disks or RAID groups."

    I think this poses a question due to having very little actual storage expertise (some knowledge though) but does this essentially mean the vmx file should reside on a non-VSAN datastore local to the ESXi where as the vmdx file/s can be VSAN resident ?
     
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  4. Aestr

    Aestr Well-Known Member

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    I think they just awkwardly are trying to say that if you have drives on a controller that are part of vSAN then don't use any additional drives on that same controller as non-vSAN datastores.
     
    #4
  5. takeawaydave

    takeawaydave Member

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    Thanks @Aestr - Talking about drives could you give any recommendations of drives to use in such as setup.
    Planning to get 2 R630 and not sure to go with consumer grade SSD or refurbished enterprise grade SAS HDD. I think they might work out around the same price but entirely ignorant of what to look, any gotchas. If I buy refurbed how do I know I am not getting something almost at the end of its life.
     
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  6. Aestr

    Aestr Well-Known Member

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    Even with enterprise you'll want SSDs for your datastore and the prices can still be quite good. As is so often the case your workload again will really dictate what you need, but in general Intel, Hitachi and Samsung are all popular choices. Depending on your needs for space and what other AICs you have planned, you could also look at an NVME drive for a pcie slot. As an example you could get a 1.6TB p3605 for under $300.

    If you're not in a huge rush keep an eye on the great deals section and if you're unsure if a drive listed makes sense for you just ask in the thread. Honestly it's worth looking at the existing posts as well to get a feel for what's out there and then you can start hunting for your own deals too.

    To make sure you're not getting an SSD that's burned through it's usable life just ask the seller for the SMART data. If you're trying to hop on a fresh deal that's posted here you often won't have time to wait, but see what's posted as many sellers include some level of detail on drive life, often as a percentage remaining. Also the comments in threads here usually point out potentially problematic deals.
     
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  7. takeawaydave

    takeawaydave Member

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