(US) CDW Outlet: Lenovo ThinkSystem ST250 (7Y46A00TNA) B-Stock machine - 425 USD

WANg

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Well, for those of you looking for a relatively cheap 4 (or 8 bay) machine to setup a NAS, CDW outlet is offering the Lenovo ThinkSystem ST250 tower/4U server for 425 USD (normal pricing is quoted at around 900 USD). The specs are okay, it's a Xeon-E 2124 (should be socketed?), 4 PCIe slots, 2 of them PCIe 3.0x4 (most 10/40GbE dualport cards should be okay with it), 1 8GB DIMM provided, 4 DIMM slots with support for 128GB RAM max, it can be outfitted for dual PSUs and can fit 4 3.5" drives, hot swappable (not sure if this means that the second array of 4 drives are simply not outfitted or not wired up with a backplane - you should be able to look up the part # for the backplane/bay module on the hardware maintenance manual). The system is reviewed by STH, the idle/full power is kinda high on the review system but it'll probably be dependent on how your specific outfit.
It is quiet enough for home lab use. .
 
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unmesh

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It would be attractive for its hotswap drive bays (though CDW doesn't show the config), the Xclarity management controller and the working M.2 NVMe slot. On the other hand, it has a E2124 without integrated GPU and potentially Broadcom rather than Intel NICs.

Update: Looks like M.2 is SATA
 
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WANg

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Amazon.com: Dell PowerEdge T40 Server, BTX Intel Xeon E-2224G 3.5GHz, 8GB 2666MT/s DDR4, 1TB 7.2K RPM SATA: Computers & Accessories is $440, and is frequently $350 on a sale on dell.com

t40 got higher freq cpu and smaller chassis, but can only fit 3 hdd out of the box(you can ziptie the 4th in the case), and need re-flashing to support m2 nvme.
Yeah, but several things - according to the technical documentation from Dell:

a) The T40 only has a single non-hot swappable 300w PSU - the ST250 can take up to 2 hot-swappable 550W PSUs (it comes with a single 250w in this machine)
b) the T40 can only do maybe 4 drives...the ST250 can take up to 16 (2.5") or 8 (3.5"). It's just the matter of ordering an additional backplane kit (200 USD per kit), fitting it on, and possibly installing a RAID/HBA card to make it work.
c) The T40 uses Intel VPro/AMT, while the ST250 comes with XClarity Enterprise, which is an actual IPMI controller and not something embedded onto the system controller.
d) It's a bigger machine but since it has larger diameter fans, it's acoustics are around 10 dBi lower than the T40.
e) The CPU Is socketed and could be swapped out (although the CPU itself is around 220 USD on the open market, whhich is already half the ask on the hardware) - and yes, it does have an embedded Matrox Millenium G200e for driving the VGA port, so you don't really need a Xeon with an embedded GPU within. If you need an actual GPU, you can easily slap a Quadro P620 on the chassis (or any PCIe x16 card you have lying around).
 
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WANg

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It would be attractive for its hotswap drive bays (though CDW doesn't show the config), the Xclarity management controller and the working M.2 NVMe slot. On the other hand, it has a E2124 without integrated GPU and potentially Broadcom rather than Intel NICs.

Update: Looks like M.2 is SATA
yeah, the Broadcom NIC pair is a bit of a bummer - that pretty much excludes it from VSphere 7. I thought the Xeon E2s are supposed to have Intel embedded 10GbE NICs in their silicon...? They didn't just slap the magnetics and the PHY onto the board and just break it out?
 
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unmesh

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@WANg

I'm currently running ESXi 6.7 and would have liked to run version 7 on my next server.

The docs say these can be configured with a fixed power supply or come with one or two hot swappable ones. The pictures on Newegg seem to indicate the former
Lenovo ThinkSystem ST250 7Y46A00TNA 4U Tower Server - 1 x Intel Xeon E-2124 Quad-core (4 Core) 3.30 GHz - 8 GB Installed TruDDR4 - Serial ATA/600 Controller - JBOD RAID Levels - 1 x 250 W - Newegg.com

Similarly, it is hard to tell whether this one comes up the so-called simple-swap LFF backplane or the hotswap one.

Do you know if Xclarity needs to be licenced like iDRAC? At least AMT is free!
 
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RTM

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Another "option" would be to do nested virtualization, stick your vmware in a VM and virtualize it on a platform that supports the NIC :D
 
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WANg

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@WANg

I'm currently running ESXi 6.7 and would have liked to run version 7 on my next server.

The docs say these can be configured with a fixed power supply or come with one or two hot swappable ones. The pictures on Newegg seem to indicate the former
Lenovo ThinkSystem ST250 7Y46A00TNA 4U Tower Server - 1 x Intel Xeon E-2124 Quad-core (4 Core) 3.30 GHz - 8 GB Installed TruDDR4 - Serial ATA/600 Controller - JBOD RAID Levels - 1 x 250 W - Newegg.com

Similarly, it is hard to tell whether this one comes up the so-called simple-swap LFF backplane or the hotswap one.

Do you know if Xclarity needs to be licenced like iDRAC? At least AMT is free!
Yeah, that PSU is fixed but the HMM/config videos point to the possibility of switching it over to the hotswappable configuration down the line if
needed be (the difference seem to be the metallic cage and the power backplane. This is probably not too hard to source from a parts broker.

The drives are hotswappable (at least that's what "HS" is supposed to imply on the PSRef). As for Xclarity? It comes with XClarity standard but getting it to Advanced is 45 bucks, and then from there to Enterprise is another 45 (one time entitlement upgrade), which isn't that bad compared to, say, HP or Dell equivalencies - Standard gets you usual IPMI monitoring telemetry, Advanced gets you KVM, and Enterprise gets you KVM recording power based throttling and virtual media mounting. Sure, SuperMicro gets you most of that on day 1, but if my experience with their X8/X9 IPMI implementation bares out, their functionality requires installing a JVM and the implementation is rather...wonky. As for AMT...eeeeeeh. That’s for managing desktops, and being used for Xeons it’s neither fish nor fowl.

It's still not a bad box to run implement a cheap NAS...although I thought it’s a little large to work well in my home.
 
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