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ESX Test Machine?

Discussion in 'Virtual Computing' started by Luddym, Jan 25, 2008.

  1. Luddym

    Luddym Megabyte Poster

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    Hey guys,

    Taking an ESX course in a couple of weeks and am looking at buying a PC to use as a test bed.

    Looking at a Quad Core 2.6Mhz Intel with 4GB ram, 500GB hard disk etc etc etc.

    Was going to install XP then a copy of Workstation. Within workstation i was going to install ESX and an XP so I could install VI to control ESX.... then within ESX I can play.

    Am I being too optimistic with the kit involved?
     
    Certifications: VCP,A+, N+, MCSA, MCSE
    WIP: Christmas Drunkard
  2. JohnBradbury

    JohnBradbury Kilobyte Poster

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    ESX will not install in a virtual environment. It's designed to sit on the bare metal.

    Given that it runs on a modified version of Red Hat I'd also imagine that hardware support is limited and would need to be addressed before buying your kit.
     
  3. zimbo
    Honorary Member

    zimbo Petabyte Poster

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  4. zebulebu

    zebulebu Terabyte Poster

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    It may be possible Zim, but its certainly not what ESX was intended for. If you were to install it this way you would be defeating the object of ESX - which is to run on bare tin and eliminate any underlying OS issues or limitations. Seriously - whilst you may get to understand how to play around with the ESX interface, you wouldn't be learning much, as all the neat features that ESX gives you are either not available at all or severely limited.

    It's not worth it - just install it direct onto the box - trust me!
     
    Certifications: A few
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  5. ThomasMc

    ThomasMc Gigabyte Poster

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    A Bit OT but i was at a workshop last week about ESX, thats one nifty bit of kit
     
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  6. Phoenix
    Honorary Member

    Phoenix 53656e696f7220 4d6f64

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    Err sorry, gotta disagree with some of you guys
    We know ESX is not really designed to be deployed in this manner, but thats not to say it doesnt work (with some tinkering) nor does it chop out half the features

    I frequently do demos of ESX on my laptop. 4 VMs, 1 VC, 1 iSCSI San, 2 ESX
    with that I can demo vMotion, HA, DRS, pretty much all the enterprise features
    is it brilliant? no, its slow, vMotion doesnt get its full wow factor, but from a studying perspective and not having to carry 4 servers to a meeting, works a treat!


    If you have access to a copy of ESX, I can advise you how to get it set up on barebones hardware too, I did it myself for my home ESX Farm, cost me :h:00 quid a system
     
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  7. JohnBradbury

    JohnBradbury Kilobyte Poster

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    I stand corrected ..

    I had previously tried to install ESX in Workstation 6 but failed miserably.

    Ryan how did you manage to put together VMWare boxes for £300 each?

    I'm assuming I'd have some problems trying to install it on my main system?
     
  8. Phoenix
    Honorary Member

    Phoenix 53656e696f7220 4d6f64

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    They key requirements are not stupidly pricey to meet

    you NEED an enterprise network card, that said, and Intel Pro 1000/GX desktop card uses the same driver as the Intel Pro 1000 server card (the e1000) driver, and that meets the network requirement, these can be had for 20 quid on dabs

    the storage side, VMFS volumes can not exist on PATA or SATA drives, SCSI or SAN only, this is a problem as these are expensive
    3.5 supports SATA but with limited chip sets and I have not tested in my home lab yet, although a client told me the SATA controler in the ICH7 intel chipset works fine, for this requirement I use iSCSI SAN technology to present my SATA drives over the ethernet to ESX, ESX thinks its SAN storage, and as the iSCSI protocol is supported, no problems there

    ESX CAN be installed on to non SCSI hard drives, you just cant put your VMFS volume on non SCSI hard drives, so PATA worked fine for that requirement (no boot from SAN yet, boo hoo)

    I picked up an Asus barebones system, Dual Core proc, 2GB memory (the more the better) and a few of the Intel NICs
     
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  9. JohnBradbury

    JohnBradbury Kilobyte Poster

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    Thanks Ryan that's pretty interesting. ESX is on my to do list as I've had a fair amount of experience with the infrastructure client and its features but not ESX itself.
     
  10. Luddym

    Luddym Megabyte Poster

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    Thanks for the replies guys.

    I'm lucky and unlucky... at the moment we have ESX 3.0 in a production environment and are struggling to support it properly (we have 2 ESX server replicating around 10 Virtual machines, and are looking at moving one to another site for redundancy purporses.), so I get to 'fiddle' in a live environment, which isn't good but ultimately necessary.

    I just wanted a test bed to do some of the more dangerous experiments.
     
    Certifications: VCP,A+, N+, MCSA, MCSE
    WIP: Christmas Drunkard
  11. BrizoH

    BrizoH Byte Poster

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    Wouldn't have been the Dell workshop by any chance?
     
    Certifications: CCNA, CCNA Security
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  12. BrizoH

    BrizoH Byte Poster

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    Slight hi-jack of the thread, but on a similar topic I'm hopefully getting to dip my toes into ESX for a DR requirement.

    What do you guys think of the attached server spec - to run three virtual machines initially (1 x IIS Web server, 1 x SQL 2005 Standard, 1 x Reporting server)
     

    Attached Files:

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  13. JohnBradbury

    JohnBradbury Kilobyte Poster

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    Just wanted to say thanks to Limbo and Ryan. I followed the instructions in the pdf and I now have an ESX3 host running under VMWare Workstation 6. I hope to mess with it some more and no doubt I'll be asking further questions :biggrin
     
  14. popeye67

    popeye67 Bit Poster

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    You can have VMFS on sata drives. key here are supported controllers. I've bought two dell sc 440 machines with lsi sata controllers. Works like a treat. As for the network cards I've had tons of issues with 3com. So yes anything that will work of e1000 (intel, hp, ...) works a treat.

    hth
     

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