Small form factor ESXi with 64GB+ RAM?

Discussion in 'DIY Server and Workstation Builds' started by Tjharris, Oct 17, 2017.

  1. Tjharris

    Tjharris New Member

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    I’m a long-time NUC user, running ESXi 6.5 as my home server. It’s a dual core with 16GB RAM. It has served me well, but with a couple memory hog VMs doesn’t meet my needs any more.

    The Skull Canyon NUC is interesting, but I would like to have more than 32GB of RAM to avoid the same issues I have with my current NUC.

    Any thoughts on:
    - Supermicro Xeon-D systems? Noise levels too high for office use?

    - Denverton Atom systems? Fast enough for general ESXi use? Some of the new Supermicro boards look good.. High core counts and lots of memory, but low clock speed: A2SDi-12C-HLN4F | Motherboards | Products - Super Micro Computer, Inc.

    - Other small form factor options?
     
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  2. i386

    i386 Well-Known Member

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    With small do you mean everything <µATX?

    The xeon d (not only supermicro) are awesome for appliances and good enough for smaller vms (128gb limit :D).
    After a little bit more than 1 year with a pentium/xeon d I would say that for my use case (storage) I don't have enough pcie slots (one x16 or two x8 on supermicro mainboards, gigabyte has one mainboard with one x16 and one x8 slot).

    Noise? "It depends" what chassis you want to use, on the add in cards (and their cooling requirement) and on the utilization of the server.
    If you want to buy xeon d with passive heatsink make sure to use a chassis with high static pressure fans.

    Check supermicros site for iot devices: Internet of Things Gateway Solutions | SuperServer | Products - Super Micro Computer, Inc.
     
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  3. Waterkippie

    Waterkippie Member

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    Systems like the SuperMicro E300-8D (Xeon-D) are absolutely not quiet enough for an office. Have it here with lower rpm fans and it's still too loud. (unless it's a room away)
     
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  4. Netwerkz101

    Netwerkz101 Active Member

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    While this may be true for the system (E300-8D), you can always build a
    1u system based on the 503/504 chassis + the X10SDV-TPF motherboard.

    I had the above setup and it could not be heard from about 6ft away.
    You can use 40mm Noctua on the heatsink or use active CoolJag via swap.
    (there is a post about cooling the FCBGA 1667 that shows options you can use)
     
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  5. Tjharris

    Tjharris New Member

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    Thanks for the responses. The noise on the Xeons is definitely a concern. A small tower like the Supermicro SuperServer 5028D might help with noise, but is pretty large relative to the NUC I'm using now.

    The Atom IOT servers look promising. I'm just not sure of the horsepower with those. My previous Atom experience was with the old Atom/Ion boards for HTPC use. Those Atoms were not in the same class as desktop/server CPUs. The newer ones seem to be quite a bit more powerful, but I'm wondering how they measure up as a hypervisor.
     
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  6. Patrick

    Patrick Administrator
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    I would suggest Xeon D over C3000 series. Doing something like this to the Xeon D will help a lot with noise Near silent powerhouse: Making a quieter MicroLab platform

    I actually like the C3000 series a LOT but if you are doing virtualization work I think the Xeon D is better with the L3 cache. If you just need to run a handful of KVM VMs, C3000 works fine. ESXi and many VMs, Xeon D.

    A dark horse here, is if you can see yourself with mATX/ ATX, then you can get Xeon Scalable. Start with a 4108 / 4110 and you will have room to upgrade to more RAM, more PCIe/ storage, more CPU, faster networking later while keeping the same platform intact.
     
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  7. Tjharris

    Tjharris New Member

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    Thanks, that's great input. I had seen your Proxmox on C3000 post and that got me interested in the Atom. So, it's good to hear the next level of detail on the performance.

    How about the smaller form factor SuperMicro systems, like the E300-8D or or E200-8D? Would replacing the fans in those get them to a reasonable noise level?
     
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  8. Stux

    Stux Member

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    I built an ESXi + FreeNAS AIO based on an X10SDV-TLN4F and Node 304 case in this thread:
    Build Report: Node 304 + X10SDV-TLN4F [ESXi/FreeNAS AIO]

    With some fan upgrades, and a fan control script, noise is fine. If i was running the CPU flatout 100% of the time, I'd want to replace the built-in screamer.

    Supports 128GB of RAM.
     
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