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Hermes - Lab Build

Discussion in 'Hardware' started by JohnBradbury, Mar 17, 2015.

  1. JohnBradbury

    JohnBradbury Kilobyte Poster

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    Well it's back to the books and back to the late night study sessions. So that obviously means new build time.

    I'm going to be running a fairly large simulated lab environment to study for several certifications, including multiple MCSE paths.

    My plan is to setup the entire lab on a single PC running VMware Workstation 11 (including a nested 2-Node Hyper-V Cluster which may very well turn into a VMware Cluster down the line).

    Proposed Specs:

    CPU: Intel Core i7-5820K 3.3GHz 6-Core Processor
    CPU Cooler: Corsair H100i 77.0 CFM Liquid CPU Cooler
    Motherboard: Asus X99-DELUXE ATX LGA2011-3 Motherboard
    Memory: Corsair Vengeance LPX 64GB (8 x 8GB) DDR4-2400 Memory
    Storage: Samsung 850 EVO-Series 500GB 2.5" Solid State Drive
    Storage: Seagate Barracuda 2TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive
    Storage: Seagate Barracuda 2TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive
    Storage: Seagate Barracuda 2TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive
    Video Card: Asus GeForce GTX 970 4GB STRIX Video Card
    Case: Cooler Master Cosmos II (Black) ATX Full Tower Case
    Power Supply: Corsair RM 1000W 80+ Gold Certified Fully-Modular ATX Power Supply
    Operating System: Microsoft Windows 8.1 Professional
    Monitor: Dell U3415W 60Hz 34.0" Curved Ultrawide
    Other: Adaptec 2270900-R 6805E (RAID Card)

    I've already had a few of the parts delivered (CPU, Case, PSU and Memory) but I'm just considering some last minute changes to the storage (Not sure whether to ditch the RAID Card and just use the onboard controller of the Asus x99-DELUXE).

    Open to any comments or suggestions.
     
    jk2447 likes this.
  2. jk2447

    jk2447 Petabyte Poster Moderator

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    Looks cracking that John, only point I'd make is possibly another SSD as I'm guessing you'll have 8.1 installed on that 850? I'd possibly go for a smaller drive for your OS and keep everything else. I feel a little jealous of that beast mate!
     
    Certifications: BSc (Hons), HND IT, HND Computing, ITIL-F, MBCS CITP, MCP (270,290,291,293,294,298,299,410,411,412) MCTS (401,620,624,652) MCSA:Security, MCSE: Security, Security+, CPTS, VCP4, CCA (XenApp6.5), MCSA 2012, VCP5, VCP6-NV
  3. JohnBradbury

    JohnBradbury Kilobyte Poster

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    Initially I had spec'd out the system with 2 x Samsung 840 EVO 250GB drives (RAID1) for the OS, 2 x SAMSUNG 840 EVO 1TB drives (RAID0) for the VMs'. However after playing about on my existing machine I soon realised that 2TB might not be enough for the VMs' and I just couldn't justify spending any more money on this than I already am. I figured that the Hybrid drives in RAID0 won't be much different than the SSDs' in terms of general speed. The only benefit of the SSDs' is the short access time on small files but that doesn't really apply to this scenario.

    The Samsung 850 EVO 500GB is for the OS.

    At present I don't have any plans for backing it up but as it's only a lab system I feel okay with that.
     
    jk2447 likes this.
  4. SimonD

    SimonD Terabyte Poster Moderator

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    I see this more as a hybrid build than a virtualisation build, the Geforce card is overkill if all you're doing is lab work, you're better off seeing about either an onboard or cheaper GPU.

    Also if this is a virtualisation build, I would question the Hexa core build (CPU's aren't cheap) as well as the X99 motherboard (DDR4 ram isn't cheap either).

    I would be interested in knowing the cost of this build because you may be surprised in that it would be cheaper to build a couple of smaller boxes and stack them instead.

    I once went down the route of a single 64GB server but actually that didn't let me play with the functions I wanted and it was easier (and cheaper) to run a couple of shuttles instead of a big heavy work horse.
     
    Certifications: CNA | CNE | CCNA | MCP | MCP+I | MCSE NT4 | MCSA 2003 | Security+ | MCSA:S 2003 | MCSE:S 2003 | MCTS:SCCM 2007 | MCTS:Win 7 | MCITP:EDA7 | MCITP:SA | MCITP:EA | MCTS:Hyper-V | VCP 4 | ITIL v3 Foundation | VCP 5 DCV | VCP 5 Cloud | VCP6 NV | VCP6 DCV | VCAP 5.5 DCA
    WIP: VCP6-CMA, VCAP-DCD and Linux + (and possibly VCIX-NV).
  5. jk2447

    jk2447 Petabyte Poster Moderator

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    Nice one mate, I wouldn't worry about backing it up either, too much fun starting all over again ha ha

    Will you need 500GB for your 8.1 host mate? A 250GB might save you a couple of squid. Just had a quick look for you on dabs, the Evo 250 is £95, 500 is £180 so you could save £85 there and plough that into 3 x Seagate 2TB Desktop SSHD SATA which come in at £15 more each per drive, saves you £40 but if you check out the reviews the SSHDs get an award for performance and should give you an SSD like feel.

    As mentioned that graphics cards a bit much but I'm thinking you fancy a bit of gaming on the side, am I right? Atilla or something? :)
     
    Certifications: BSc (Hons), HND IT, HND Computing, ITIL-F, MBCS CITP, MCP (270,290,291,293,294,298,299,410,411,412) MCTS (401,620,624,652) MCSA:Security, MCSE: Security, Security+, CPTS, VCP4, CCA (XenApp6.5), MCSA 2012, VCP5, VCP6-NV
  6. JohnBradbury

    JohnBradbury Kilobyte Poster

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    All in it's a tad under £3300.

    The GeForce is a little overkill, the only reason I added it was because a few people had recommended getting a decent graphics cards to power the 34" Ultrawide Monitor, apparently even half-decent cards struggle to power the 3440 x 1440 resolution.

    The i7 HexCore was to ensure the VMs' could run as smoothly as I wanted. I know processing power generally isn't an issue with homelabs but I do intend to run a lot simultaneously. The X99 and DDR4 came as a result of the processor socket.

    I'm currently running Windows 8.1 on a smaller rig, few games installed, handful of VMs' and I'm constanly running out of space on my Sandisk 240GB. The Seagate drives in my list are the SSHD drives (64GB Cache) so they should be sweet.

    I'm not much of a gamer but I do like a good romp in Command & Conquer every now and then.
     
    jk2447 likes this.
  7. JohnBradbury

    JohnBradbury Kilobyte Poster

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    Initially I had intended to just buy a new Lenovo w540, max out the RAM to 32GB and add 2x 1TB SSDs' but I was concerned 32GB just wouldn't be enough.
     
  8. jk2447

    jk2447 Petabyte Poster Moderator

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    it's an absolute beast of a spec that mate I take my hat off to you. You must have very understanding management there ha ha :)
     
    Certifications: BSc (Hons), HND IT, HND Computing, ITIL-F, MBCS CITP, MCP (270,290,291,293,294,298,299,410,411,412) MCTS (401,620,624,652) MCSA:Security, MCSE: Security, Security+, CPTS, VCP4, CCA (XenApp6.5), MCSA 2012, VCP5, VCP6-NV
  9. JohnBradbury

    JohnBradbury Kilobyte Poster

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    I did luck out in the wife department, lol. She's very understanding.
     
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  10. jk2447

    jk2447 Petabyte Poster Moderator

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    Mine smash that over my head right now, we're in discussions over family holiday destinations ha ha Hardware definitely out of scope for this project
     
    Certifications: BSc (Hons), HND IT, HND Computing, ITIL-F, MBCS CITP, MCP (270,290,291,293,294,298,299,410,411,412) MCTS (401,620,624,652) MCSA:Security, MCSE: Security, Security+, CPTS, VCP4, CCA (XenApp6.5), MCSA 2012, VCP5, VCP6-NV
    JohnBradbury likes this.
  11. SimonD

    SimonD Terabyte Poster Moderator

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    WAF (Wife Acceptance Factor) is definitely key here chaps ;)

    John, have a look at the lab section on my blog, all three shuttles combined cost about £1500. Trust me when I tell you I can have it screaming. 40Ghz of Compute, 96GB of ram and approx 10TB of storage (not local, have to admit my storage is based on a Synology DS1513+).

    I would honestly suggest investing in shared storage, again something like the Synology where you can play with both NFS and iSCSI.
    Perks of thin provisioning also play a vital role in ensuring you keep performance and space at the right price point.
     
    Certifications: CNA | CNE | CCNA | MCP | MCP+I | MCSE NT4 | MCSA 2003 | Security+ | MCSA:S 2003 | MCSE:S 2003 | MCTS:SCCM 2007 | MCTS:Win 7 | MCITP:EDA7 | MCITP:SA | MCITP:EA | MCTS:Hyper-V | VCP 4 | ITIL v3 Foundation | VCP 5 DCV | VCP 5 Cloud | VCP6 NV | VCP6 DCV | VCAP 5.5 DCA
    WIP: VCP6-CMA, VCAP-DCD and Linux + (and possibly VCIX-NV).
  12. dmarsh

    dmarsh Terabyte Poster

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    One 2 TB spindle should be fine, ditch the RAID idea, upgrade the Samsung SSD to PRO version.

    I wouldn't buy an ultrawide monitor as I prefer more standard ratio, you could maybe save by keeping your old one until 4k 30 inch IPS is affordable and the software actually works on it.

    Id prefer a single box as a programmer, saves space and power, easier to use the compute on one box than write distributed code. Multiple smaller boxes would probably be cheaper however, and if you're testing systems admin tasks more like managing a real environment.
     
    Last edited: Mar 18, 2015
    Certifications: CITP, BSc, HND, SCJP, SCJD, SCWCD, SCBCD, SCEA, N+, Sec+, Proj+, Server+, Linux+, MCTS, MCPD, MCSA, MCITP, CCDH
  13. JohnBradbury

    JohnBradbury Kilobyte Poster

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    A few last minute changes to the build:

    Asus x99-DELUXE swapped out for the Asus X99-S (as it didn't really offer anything I needed)
    Corsair H100i swapped out for the Corsair H110 (due to issues reported online with the H100i)
    Samsung 850 EVO-Series 500GB swapped for Samsung 840 EVO-Series 500GB (due to availability)

    Still to be ordered:

    Monitor (which I'm now thinking of swapping for a decent 27")
    RAID Card (considered leaving out, I can use the RAID features of the motherboard as I don't feel the CPU overhead would be a big impact)
    3 x SSHD Seagate drives (considering 2 1TB Samsung SSDs')

    The first batch of parts arrived today and I'm as happy as a pig in mud.

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Mar 21, 2015
  14. jk2447

    jk2447 Petabyte Poster Moderator

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    Beautiful that John. Can't wait to hear what you set up on it
     
    Certifications: BSc (Hons), HND IT, HND Computing, ITIL-F, MBCS CITP, MCP (270,290,291,293,294,298,299,410,411,412) MCTS (401,620,624,652) MCSA:Security, MCSE: Security, Security+, CPTS, VCP4, CCA (XenApp6.5), MCSA 2012, VCP5, VCP6-NV
    JohnBradbury likes this.
  15. JohnBradbury

    JohnBradbury Kilobyte Poster

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    Well I put it together Sunday afternoon over the course of a few hours. The larger case was great to work with and gave me plenty of elbow room to. I stripped out the front drive bay cages to help with airflow and I tweaked the fan configuration to help keep everything as cool as possible.

    I haven't really had much chance to use it yet but I couldn't resist the obligatory stress tests. Using a benchmarking application (CPU set to 100% and GPU set to 90%) the CPU temperature spiked at 54 degrees after 30 minutes of use. However it was the virtualisation capabilities I really wanted to test so I cloned a 2012 Data centre image I had and fired up 22 separate VM instances.

    At first I wasn't really that impressed as the CPU hit 100% during the boot-up progress (as you would expect) but then continued to sit there once all of the VMs' were logged in and sat idle

    (Very unhappy bunny at this point)

    I quickly realised this couldn't be the case as all of the VMs' were actually very responsive.

    When I get more time I'm going to push it and see just how many I can run.
     
    Last edited: Mar 24, 2015
  16. SimonD

    SimonD Terabyte Poster Moderator

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    Don't forget that the usage will be based on the amount of CPU resources you allocate to the instances, you will probably be over consuming CPU resources and would start to struggle with performance if you loaded all VM's up with workloads but for the most part you should be good to go.
     
    Certifications: CNA | CNE | CCNA | MCP | MCP+I | MCSE NT4 | MCSA 2003 | Security+ | MCSA:S 2003 | MCSE:S 2003 | MCTS:SCCM 2007 | MCTS:Win 7 | MCITP:EDA7 | MCITP:SA | MCITP:EA | MCTS:Hyper-V | VCP 4 | ITIL v3 Foundation | VCP 5 DCV | VCP 5 Cloud | VCP6 NV | VCP6 DCV | VCAP 5.5 DCA
    WIP: VCP6-CMA, VCAP-DCD and Linux + (and possibly VCIX-NV).
  17. Sparky
    Highly Decorated Member Award

    Sparky Zettabyte Poster Moderator

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    On the company credit card? :)
     
    Certifications: MSc MCSE MCSA:M MCSA:S MCITP:EA MCTS(x5) Security+ Network+ A+
    WIP: Exchange 2007\2010
  18. jk2447

    jk2447 Petabyte Poster Moderator

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    Definitely something not right there is there mate. I wouldn't be something as daft as your vms downloading updates would it John? CPU staying high like that. Or Av on your host
     
    Certifications: BSc (Hons), HND IT, HND Computing, ITIL-F, MBCS CITP, MCP (270,290,291,293,294,298,299,410,411,412) MCTS (401,620,624,652) MCSA:Security, MCSE: Security, Security+, CPTS, VCP4, CCA (XenApp6.5), MCSA 2012, VCP5, VCP6-NV
  19. Arroryn
    Honorary Member

    Arroryn we're all dooooooomed

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    Just my few pence... I live in a flat and don't really have the room for rigs... I'm finding vendor-based labs, available pretty much wherever now, are invaluable. I also have a very meaty study rig using my MSDN subscription, which gives me $150 Azure credits per month, so I don't have to run anything local.

    https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/virtuallabs

    My highest VM has 8 cores and 114GB RAM. I can't exactly run it forever, but labs here and there... it's niiice ;)
     
    Certifications: A+, N+, MCDST, 70-410, 70-411
    WIP: Modern Languages BA
    jk2447 likes this.
  20. jk2447

    jk2447 Petabyte Poster Moderator

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    I need to look into this mate
     
    Certifications: BSc (Hons), HND IT, HND Computing, ITIL-F, MBCS CITP, MCP (270,290,291,293,294,298,299,410,411,412) MCTS (401,620,624,652) MCSA:Security, MCSE: Security, Security+, CPTS, VCP4, CCA (XenApp6.5), MCSA 2012, VCP5, VCP6-NV

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