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Server Hardware advice

Discussion in 'Hardware' started by cisco lab rat, Mar 25, 2011.

  1. cisco lab rat

    cisco lab rat Megabyte Poster

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    Some advice required

    I am looking to get a server/s to run VMware and multiple VM instances.

    Each VM instance requires 80gb of disk space and 2gb of memory. I have a HP ML110 G6 which has 250GB harddrive and has been upgraded to 8gb of Memory and is running 2 vm instances quite nicely using ESXi 4.0

    I need to run 24 vm instances on the minimum number of machines.

    I was toying with geting 12 x HP ML110, they are £180 from hardware.com plus another £40 for the memory upgrade from another site, for logistical reasons I can't do that so I need to find a server like the ML 110 G6 with twice the disk space or would it be possible to shove another 250GB SATA drive into the ML110?

    I will tell you all right now that anything P.C/Server stuff is not my forte. So please be gentle
     
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  2. dales

    dales Gigabyte Poster

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    Needing that many VM's the only bottleneck to not having them all on one server is memory, depending what the vm's are and how heavily they are used cpu and hard disk space can be hardly touched. I must have about 20 vm's spread across 2 of my lab servers (dell sc440's) and with 4-5 2k8 vm's switched on (plus a couple vyatta routers) the 6GB in one server is nearly all used up, whilst the cpu rarely goes over a couple of hundred megahertz.

    You could just stick another hard disk in the ml110 1TB or larger and then get esxi to create a datastore on it.

    In short yes you can buy another disk and stick it in but the ram will be the biggest issue.
     
    Last edited: Mar 25, 2011
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  3. ThomasMc

    ThomasMc Gigabyte Poster

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    The ML 110 G6 can take up to 16GB of Ram and Since the default CD-Rom isn't supported with 4.1/4.1u1 then you could rip it out and use Startech Caddies to convert them to a 3.5 bay and give yourself 6 HDD slots(4 default and 2x5.25" to 3.5") or use the Startech 1x5.25" to 4x 2.5" to get an additional 8 2.5" HDD. also it sounds like you ot the crappy CPU model, I would suggest the x3430 model its a little bit more to buy but well worth it. You could also use thin provioning to keep the VM disk sizes down.
     
    Last edited: Mar 25, 2011
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  4. onoski

    onoski Terabyte Poster

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    The HP ML110 for the price seems reasonable and if spread across each server you should be able to achieve your goal.

    Well this is taking into account that the HP ML range are quiet when powered on and don't use a lot of electricity or sound like an helicopter when in use:)

    In terms of memory I'd get the max that each box can hold i.e. 8GB.
     
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  5. ThomasMc

    ThomasMc Gigabyte Poster

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    ML110 G5 Max Mem is 8GB
    ML110 G6 Max Mem is 16GB
     
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  6. dales

    dales Gigabyte Poster

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    Ohh I didnt know they supported 16GB (opens wallet)
     
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  7. ThomasMc

    ThomasMc Gigabyte Poster

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    They are pretty sweet little boxes but like I said the x3430(non HT even those ESXI thinks it can support it) ones are good instead of the dual core G6950 versions, they also support VMware Direct Path and FT which is always a bonus.
     
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  8. onoski

    onoski Terabyte Poster

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    Thanks for the info Thomas:)
     
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  9. soundian

    soundian Gigabyte Poster

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    Strange, every website I visit, except HP themselves, say the G6 only has 8GB max memory.
     
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  10. SimonD

    SimonD Terabyte Poster Moderator

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    Or have a look at the Lenovo TS200 (the original, not the 200v) as that supports between 24 and 32gb (24 atm but when the supported 8gb dimms come out they will take 32gb). I paid silly money for my ones (£250 or so).

    I have 4 TS200's, 2 of which will have 24gb each by the end of the weekend.

    As far as storage goes, I would look at dedicated centralised storage rather than local, that way if you needed to move VM's between servers you can (something you can't do with local disk). Perhaps look at running something like Openfiler or NexentaStor (I am currently building up a Nexentastor box at home but it doesn't like my SSD cache drive for some reason, so waiting for a new SATA controller card).

    Both previously mentioned software NAS's are free (NexentaStore Community Edition supports up to 18tb now for free) and OF is nice and straight forward.
     
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  11. cisco lab rat

    cisco lab rat Megabyte Poster

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    Thanks everyone for all your advice, I am going to trawl through it all this evening when I have more time and sort this out.
     
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  12. ThomasMc

    ThomasMc Gigabyte Poster

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    Yeah I had noticed that also so not sure if that use to be the case
     

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  13. ThomasMc

    ThomasMc Gigabyte Poster

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    No probs onoski :)
     
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  14. Shinigami

    Shinigami Megabyte Poster

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    Yeah, for lab use, the CPU's won't be the bottleneck. Even with memory, you can usually tweak things around a bit and be just fine.

    However, I find that harddisk ends up becoming the bottleneck, not necessarily in size (in fact, if you use something like dynamic disks in Hyper-V, you may only use a few hundred gigs spread over ~20 machines), but it's the actual IO/spindle speed which will kill your setup whenever you do mass updates, copying of VM's, installations or starting up a bunch of machines at the same time. So in that sense getting more disks, but with a smaller size (to ease the cost on your wallet) makes some sense.
     
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  15. ThomasMc

    ThomasMc Gigabyte Poster

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    Never mind me am waffling
     
    Last edited: Mar 25, 2011
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  16. michael78

    michael78 Terabyte Poster

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    I would go with Simon's suggestion and by a server and install Openfiler on it and run your VM's on a SAN. I have 3x GL115's and use one as an Openfiler SAN and find it great. I had 4GB RAM in both my ESXi servers but have updated one with 8GB RAM and plan on doing the same with the remaining one. My openfiler SAN has 4x 1TB SATA disks in a RAID 5 configuration and I installed them using a RAID card bought from ebay. Took a little prep to get up and running (with the help from the guys on here:biggrin) but works really well.

    Whilst I'm on the subject with adding more RAM is it advisable to stick to the same brand or can I mix and match the RAM as long as it's the same type and voltage etc?
     
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  17. madman045

    madman045 Kilobyte Poster Premium Member

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  18. cisco lab rat

    cisco lab rat Megabyte Poster

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    DONE.

    I went for 3 x HP ML110 G6 P G6950 / 2.8 GHz, with an additional 500GB seagate harddrive. All in for £200 each and 8gb of RAM from crucial for each server. I got the servers from http://www.serversdirect.co.uk/

    I decided not to go for the HP ML110 G6 X3460 even though I could have shoved in 16GB and run the entire class off of it I was worried about the thing dying on me and be left with a classroom filled with smoke and no server, so I am spreaing the load across 4 machines.

    Can't wait!!! I love new kit

    Thanks everyone for your advice, there's a cup of tea and biscuits waiting for you if you ever come down to the big smoke
     
    Last edited: Mar 28, 2011
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  19. cisco lab rat

    cisco lab rat Megabyte Poster

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    I had a look into it, the reason I did not go for this option is that knowing my luck I will mess it up and it will all go horribly wrong, I have a pal that has this sort of set up at home, he was telling me all about about it but I started to tune out, for all I know he could have been talking about snails. I am not very good with computers just networking
     
    Last edited: Mar 28, 2011
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  20. dales

    dales Gigabyte Poster

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    Thanks Just getting in the car now, I'll be there in about an hour :) the promise of tea and biscuits will get me to go or do just about anything!
     
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