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My new project...

Discussion in 'Virtual Computing' started by zebulebu, Aug 28, 2008.

  1. zebulebu

    zebulebu Terabyte Poster

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    After ***ing around getting ESX to work from within VMWare workstation as a VM (wicked cool, but frustrating and time-consuming) I have decided to spend the next four weeks' worth of geektime sat in my dungeon building an ESX 3.5 lab.

    After reading a post on TechHead I just went and bought three ML115s and have availed myself of a couple of Catalyst 2950s and an 1800 series router I had knocking about which will form the basis of the lab.

    [​IMG]

    After much arsing about with couriers (grrrrr) I went and picked the (ahem) 'servers' up from the depot myself this evening - and was shocked at just how dinky they are - no bigger than the average corporate desktop. I plan on putting ESX on two of them, and using the third as an iSCSI target - probably running OpenFiler, I haven't yet decided - with oodles of storage. I'm sticking an HP SATA RAID card in to handle this. Apparently the onboard SATA controller on these little suckers isn't supported out of the box and requires a script to be run to kick it into life, which will be my first hurdle to overcome. Also, I'm still waiting on delivery of eight Intel Gb NICs as the onboard NIC isn't supported by ESX - I'm starting to get itchey in anticipation!

    My wife just took one look at it all this evening sat in the front room and sighed... What must it be like married to a hopeless case like me? :biggrin

    For those of you interested, I'll post updates as and when I get round to it!
     
    Certifications: A few
    WIP: None - f*** 'em
  2. Theprof

    Theprof Petabyte Poster Forum Leader

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    That does look like a fun project, but also quite complicated! I would definitely be interested in updates. It would be interesting to see how things turn out. Good luck Zeb!
     
    Certifications: A+ | CCA | CCAA | Network+ | MCDST | MCSA | MCP (270, 271, 272, 290, 291) | MCTS (70-662, 70-663) | MCITP:EMA | VCA-DCV/Cloud/WM | VTSP | VCP5-DT | VCP5-DCV
    WIP: VCAP5-DCA/DCD | EMCCA
  3. zebulebu

    zebulebu Terabyte Poster

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    Already a change in plans - and I'm not even a day into the project :biggrin

    I've bought two array controllers and am going to use them as VMFS datastores on the two ESX hosts, then use the third one for VirtualCenter rather than cannibalise an old box I had lying around.

    I don't think nerds make good project planners!
     
    Certifications: A few
    WIP: None - f*** 'em
  4. Sparky
    Highly Decorated Member Award

    Sparky Zettabyte Poster Moderator

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    Sounds good mate, keep us updated :biggrin
     
    Certifications: MSc MCSE MCSA:M MCSA:S MCITP:EA MCTS(x5) Security+ Network+ A+
    WIP: Exchange 2007\2010
  5. NightWalker

    NightWalker Gigabyte Poster

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    I like a good project, maybe I'm just a computer nerd...
     
    Certifications: A+, Network+, MCP, MCSA:M 2003, ITIL v3 Foundation
  6. onoski

    onoski Terabyte Poster

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    Interesting project Zeb, keep us updated as am keen on virtualisation too:) I take it the couriers that were messing about were city links?
     
    Certifications: MCSE: 2003, MCSA: 2003 Messaging, MCP, HNC BIT, ITIL Fdn V3, SDI Fdn, VCP 4 & VCP 5
    WIP: MCTS:70-236, PowerShell
  7. zebulebu

    zebulebu Terabyte Poster

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    LOLOL - how did you guess? Still, not quite as bad as TNT - officially the ****tiest company in the UK. Most of their drivers have the IQ of a root vegetable and as for the staff who 'work' at their depots - I've met more intelligent pieces of furniture.
     
    Certifications: A few
    WIP: None - f*** 'em
  8. Mr.Cheeks

    Mr.Cheeks 1st ever Gold Member! Gold Member

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    Zab - sounds good!
    ...waiting for your updates too, and try and keep it simple for us 1st/2nd liners!
     
  9. jiggy

    jiggy Nibble Poster

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    hi zeb, looks good mate...I too came across that post on tech head and was going to get myself some of those boxes but I managed to get esx working on my gaming pc so now I play "esx" instead of Call of Duty. I also have another server running win2003 with VMWare Server on it. I installed openfiler as a vm on this server (with the vmdk files actually being stored on my terastation nas box) and made it an iscsi target for my ESX box. Also used it to practice clustering for my mcse using the microsoft iscsi initiator.

    Anyway theres heaps of fun you can have with these kind of setups...hope you enjoy it, Ill be looking for your updates :-)

    Jiggy
     
    Certifications: MCSE
    WIP: ABC's
  10. Luddym

    Luddym Megabyte Poster

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    Now that's a nice little 'geeky' project. :biggrin

    I love virtualization, and ESX to play with is great. Keep us updated Zeb. :twisted:
     
    Certifications: VCP,A+, N+, MCSA, MCSE
    WIP: Christmas Drunkard
  11. onoski

    onoski Terabyte Poster

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    That means there is hope and improvement chances for City Links then?:)
     
    Certifications: MCSE: 2003, MCSA: 2003 Messaging, MCP, HNC BIT, ITIL Fdn V3, SDI Fdn, VCP 4 & VCP 5
    WIP: MCTS:70-236, PowerShell
  12. Arroryn
    Honorary Member

    Arroryn we're all dooooooomed

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    Zeb - sounds like a really interesting project, and I look forward to following it :)

    Let me know what the ML115s are like. As far as 'servers' go they're grossly cheap, and I'd like a real person's opinion on them (as opposed to a saleperson) before I get one. Mind you, if you've already bought three, they can't be that bad for home projects...

    I like how you've got an MCSE NT4 book partially propping up your shelving. Brings a new meaning to using pulp books for reinforcing structures.... :)
     
    Certifications: A+, N+, MCDST, 70-410, 70-411
    WIP: Modern Languages BA
  13. GiddyG

    GiddyG Terabyte Poster Gold Member

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    I wish my wife would let me buys loads of cool kit... not that I aint boss in my own house you understand? :oops:
     
  14. hippy

    hippy Kilobyte Poster

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    Update cha cha cha! *might be doing this my self in 1 1/2 months :D :oops:*
     
  15. TechHead.co.uk

    TechHead.co.uk New Member

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    Hi Zebulebu,

    How's the ESX project going?

    I've also just built up one of my ML110 G4's as an iSCSI Open Filer target. It's been running for a few days now and is running a treat. I've got a blog post drafted up and hope to have it up on the site over the weekend.

    Like your set-up in the photo - I wish I had that much space as I still have an ML115 G5 to squeeze in here. One of the problems of living in Central London.

    [​IMG]

    As Arroryn mentioned - like the use for the NT4 book :D

    Let us know how you get on with your ESX lab.

    Cheers,


    Simon

    http://www.techhead.co.uk
     
    Certifications: VMware VCP, vExpert, MCSE, HP MASE, ASE
  16. zebulebu

    zebulebu Terabyte Poster

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    Hi Simon

    Yes - there's other gumph under there as well, like an old book on TCP/IP and some of my old Geology textbooks - geek? Moi? :)

    Cheers for the props - I got most of the ideas for the kit I'm using from your post anyway!

    I've just got all the rest of the kit I need in today (drives, more RAM and another HP e200 card) and plan on sticking it all together this weekend. Already hit one little snag though - the schematic for the ML115 G5 mobo is different from that posted on HP's website and it took me ages to find the connector for the LED cable on the board. Think I've found it now, though won't know for definite until I power it up.

    Like you I'm going to plonk openfiler on one of the boxes for ****s & giggles, but have never done it before so it will be a voyage of discovery - hopefully your blog post will help :biggrin

    Regarding space, luckily enough I have a small basement that I tanked out a few years ago that now acts as my server room. Being below ground it never really gets too hot in the summer for things to start punking out, or too cold in the winter to stop me sitting in there, surrounded by all my tin! I think the missus was getting the hump with me turning the back bedroom into a data centre, so swallowed the pill and had the basement done - it cost me quite a bit of cash, but it was definitely worth it - if only to escape 'er indoors nagging!
     
    Certifications: A few
    WIP: None - f*** 'em
  17. TechHead.co.uk

    TechHead.co.uk New Member

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    Hi Zebulebu,

    Isn't it amazing how these IT manuals accumulate - I've recently had a throw out and was amazed how old some of them were. And there was me thinking that they were still relatively up to date, lol.

    Sounds like you've got a great set up there. Getting it lined out was money well spent. I would really like to have a basement/man cave set up though unfortunately my currently place is on the first floor. Unlike yours, my room tends to get quite warm in summer months, especially with 2 servers running 24x7.

    I'm always interested into knowing what other peoples set-ups are like and what they're running, etc. I'm thinking of putting a gallery type section onto the blog for this purpose. A place where people can upload pics of their home or office IT/server rooms, etc. Hmm, I think that maybe getting a little bit too geeky. :biggrin

    I'll get the Open Filer article posted this weekend. It's still a little bit rough and will need some tweaking - let me know if any of it doesn't make sense or doesn't work for you.

    It maybe a little late for you as it sounds as though you now have all the memory you need but just in case here is a good deal that I've just received through from EBuyer. I've used this Corsair XMS2 memory in my ML110 G4 and it works just fine.

    http://www.ebuyer.com/product/130429

    Good luck with your Open Filer build.

    Cheers,


    Simon
     
    Certifications: VMware VCP, vExpert, MCSE, HP MASE, ASE
  18. zebulebu

    zebulebu Terabyte Poster

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    Well - the first host is up and running!

    [​IMG]

    It took about 30 minutes all told - from start to finish - and that includes an aborted attempt at an install first time round using the onboard SATA controller - which punked, so I just tugged it and installed using the RAID card I bought (HP e200)

    Runs like a dream. just about to bring up the second host, then configure the networking (got a Cisco 2950 I'm going to use for iSCSI and Vmotion as its currently just connected to the local network). Once that's up, I'm going to run a test migration of one of my XP VMs and, provided all goes well, I'll V2V the rest of my VMs over the weekend. Then, by next weekend I think I'll be ready to chuck out some old tin (one of my DCs is a huge, noisy beast - that'll be the first to get virtualised).

    Now... anyone got an eval license for ESX Ranger? :biggrin
     
    Certifications: A few
    WIP: None - f*** 'em
  19. onoski

    onoski Terabyte Poster

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    Well done Zeb, keep em nice info coming about your virtualisation lab:)
     
    Certifications: MCSE: 2003, MCSA: 2003 Messaging, MCP, HNC BIT, ITIL Fdn V3, SDI Fdn, VCP 4 & VCP 5
    WIP: MCTS:70-236, PowerShell
  20. zebulebu

    zebulebu Terabyte Poster

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    And there it is! Second host up and running - quicker than the first. Currently installing a new DB Server to act as the repository for VirtualCenter (finally vaping my horrid old second Exchange box which gave me nothing but grief - gutted it and put two new disks and 4gb of RAM in there), then going to put VC on the third server I bought and - Robert's your Father's brother - an Enterprise-class data centre in my basement!

    Things You Will Need if you want to try this at home:
    3x ML110 G5 servers (£115 each - from ServersDirect)
    12Gb RAM (total cost about £220 from Crucial)
    2 x HP e200 RAID controllers (hefty - cheapest I could find was £170 each from one of our suppliers at work at cost price)
    2 x HP multi SATA cable adapters (like golddust - only £15, but a bastard to find - eventually got them from EBay)
    6 x 320Gb SATA disks (peanuts - about £40 each, from Dabs)
    6 x Intel/PRO Gb NICs (cheap as chips - £25 each, again from from Dabs)
    1 x manageable Gb switch w. VLAN capability - for iSCSI, VMotion and LAN connectivity (or three dumb Gb switches) (3 dumb switches would probably be about £170 in total - you can get managed 12-port Gb switches for about £120 nowadays)

    Sundry costs:
    Electrickery to run it all from your basement/den/man cave - About five hundred quid a month nowadays
    About five litres of Pepsi (Diet Pepsi if you're a poofter)
    Small fingers to fiddle about inside the cases of the Proliants (very dinky for servers - shovel-handed inbreeds beware)
    Pizza. Lots of it.
    Tea. Lots of that too.
    The patience of a saint when trying to locate the connector for the LED cable for the SATA disks on the ML110 G5 Mobo (nowhere near where the Mobo schematics On HP's site say it is)
    An understanding wife

    And, if you truly want to replicate the Zebulebu experience from start to finish:

    One large, lazy, fat white cat who leaves his hair all over place on your frickin desk whilst you're trying to work!!!
     
    Certifications: A few
    WIP: None - f*** 'em

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