Small/cheap ESXi homelab server

Discussion in 'DIY Server and Workstation Builds' started by michal168, Oct 28, 2017.

  1. michal168

    michal168 New Member

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    Hello,
    I am looking forward to build an ESXi small homelab server to learn myself not only VMware (as I work with VMware a lot) but others like RHEL/RHV, SQL, for sure some Ansible/Puppet and so on, but not in the same time.

    I have calculated and my budget is quite low: 800-1000$ but the problem is that I live in UE so any ordering parts from US does not make any sense because of taxes...
    I have SATA disks just for low tier storage ( I wanted to run freenas or other "NAS" app as VM), SSD 120GB and 128 GB nvme M.2 plextor disks for ESXi and important VMs.

    As this will reserve some place in my apartment it has to be small, power efficient and as quiet as possible.

    I would liketo go with the case Supermicro CSE-721TQ-250B because of 4x .5 disks slots, 2x2.5 and miniITX board.
    I was thinking about Embedded Xeon D or Atom C3xxx series.
    Concerning my budget I can go with D-1518 4core/8thread Xeon: MBD-X10SDV-4C+-TLN4F or 8core C2750/C2758 but I dont know which will be better choice for ESXi?
    How many VMs I will be able to run simultaneously on 4/8 processor?
    I looked also on Supermicro MBD-X10SDV-6C+-TLN4F because its not so more expensive but 6/12!! I will have to spend some $$$ on this...
    I would likie to go with 16GB of ram for start and then expand it to 128 or 64...

    I the meantime I have Xeon E5 2650 and a lot of DDR3 RDIMM 8/16GB RAM DIMMs but no motherboard for that and that Xeon is 95W TDP...

    Please help me in my choice guys :)
     
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  2. Peanuthead

    Peanuthead Active Member

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    First questions are how many vms will you be running and what kind? That will help us get an idea of how much ram and storage you need long term.
     
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  3. michal168

    michal168 New Member

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    Hi :) thanks for your answer :) I would like to run some NAS app and ActiveDirectory for all the time. Then I would like to use for eg. Microsoft Windows Cluster or RHEL cluster or even RHV, I think 10 VM simultaneously max.. I dont think that they would need al lot of CPU.. but I think that 6/12 will assure me running them without any problems.. but what about 4/8?
     
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  4. Evan

    Evan Well-Known Member

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    Look around maybe for used d-1540 boards or even new at a heavy discount to put in that case. There is the -f version that only had 4 x 1g ports but if your doing all in one that’s all I think you will need. The 8-core will run heaps of VM’s but of course if budget says d-1518 then that’s also good.
    Or could consider the new 8-core version of the c3000 series which would be ok as well I think, although almost same price as the d-1518 and if that’s the case I would prefer the better per core of the 1518 and 10G connection.

    I have that SM case and I think it’s really a great option if you done need more than 6 drives (2x2.5 inside and 4x3.5 hot swap), 250w psu is although not gold well in its efficiency curve. The whole thing is not silent but it’s no loader than a PC either.
     
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  5. Evan

    Evan Well-Known Member

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    The 2650 you could make quiet, but not small !

    Probably pretty cheap since you have the cpu and ram but oh the pain of building a mATX or ATX system in terms of size.

    It’s kills me there is really not good mATX small cases that can do any kind of reasonable cooling and don’t look ugly or horrible quality , but burger ones are cheap and plentiful though.
     
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  6. whitey

    whitey Moderator

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    Me thinks someone was hungry when typing this :-D tee heh
     
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    Evan likes this.
  7. michal168

    michal168 New Member

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    What about Xeon D-1541 compared to C3955 Atom? I just received price calculation and price will be similar.. Will ESXi 6.0 or 6.5 run on C3955 without problems? For fact it has 16 cores vs Xeon's 8cores/16threads but I don't know how this will work in practice...
     
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  8. Evan

    Evan Well-Known Member

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    Both will work but in this case especially I would take 8 much faster cores than 16 half the speed. Single threaded performance is what you see as response time and also very important if a processs is single threaded as you have much more headroom.
    Xeon-D is just a Low power SOC version of a E5 v3/v4 cpu essentially. The C3000’s are build differently with different goals in mind, should still be very capable but really aimed at the lower end.
     
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  9. Evan

    Evan Well-Known Member

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    Haha must have been :)
     
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