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619 posts

Ultimate Geek
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Topic # 119712 11-Jun-2013 09:18
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Hi.

I want to provision an HP Elitebook 8650w (quad core) for the free version of ESXi.

The primary purpose is to run multiple (6-8) Win2008 R2 vms and possibly my day to day work Win7 client if disk space allows.  
The processor load is very low, just require the vms for testing with failover clusters.

From here it would be carrying 32GB of RAM, but I'm not sure what the best hdd options are.

Considering the ESXi-ness of it, will a 1 TB hybrid disk with 5400rpm have any benefits over a 500 GB 7200rpm drive?  Or would a normal 1 TB 5400rpm drive suffice?

Either way, the existing 700GB 5400rpm drive would into a caddy into the optical bay.

I'm a relative beginner with ESX so if anyone can see any flaws with this cunning plan I'd appreciate knowing them :)

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gjm

745 posts

Ultimate Geek
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  Reply # 833953 11-Jun-2013 09:24
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ESXi doesnt really have a gui to speak of so I dont understand how you are going to manage the VM's you create. Have you got another machine that you are going to run the vsphere client on?

Personally I think you should just run Windows on the laptop and then use either hyper v or vmware workstation to do your virtualization. Having said that the disk speed is going to kill you if you are doing anything meaningful on all the vm's at the same time. Id just get the biggest ssd you can afford and wack it in there. This will make the biggest difference and you wont regret it.

Hyper V on Windows 8 is very good so maybe start there?




[Amstrad CPC 6128: 128k Memory: 3 inch floppy drive: Colour Screen]

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Uber Geek
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  Reply # 833955 11-Jun-2013 09:25
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If you are wanting to run 6-8 Win2K8R2 servers and a day to day Win7 machine, then you really need to be looking at no less that a 7200RPM drive.

The disk I/O from that many servers (even if they are idling) will cause the Win7 Machine to run quite slow.

If you can expand to a 10K RPM drive then you would be far better off.

Any reason as to why you have chosen a laptop over a desktop PC?

CPU and RAM will be fine, although you are best to check compatibility on the VMWare site to confirm.

What is the purpose of the Win7 Client? what are you expecting to do with it as a day to day machine?

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  Reply # 833958 11-Jun-2013 09:27
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The main flaw is that your laptop becomes unusable except via ESXi command line. You need to remote into the virtual machines from another computer - meaning your laptop becomes essentially a headless server. Also with a single NIC all guests would be sharing the same port and limiting throughput for each guest.

If you're okay with that then as long as the CPU supports ESXi it should be fine.

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  Reply # 833989 11-Jun-2013 09:59
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I would say get the fastest disk subsystem you can get, eg. 2 fast (matching) drives in RAID1 (software RAID1 will be OK), 10k if you can or SSD/Hybrid.  Run HyperV on win2k3/2k8 rather than ESX and use the host OS as your workstation.



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Ultimate Geek
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  Reply # 833992 11-Jun-2013 10:03
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gjm: ESXi doesnt really have a gui to speak of so I dont understand how you are going to manage the VM's you create. Have you got another machine that you are going to run the vsphere client on?

Personally I think you should just run Windows on the laptop and then use either hyper v or vmware workstation to do your virtualization. Having said that the disk speed is going to kill you if you are doing anything meaningful on all the vm's at the same time. Id just get the biggest ssd you can afford and wack it in there. This will make the biggest difference and you wont regret it.

Hyper V on Windows 8 is very good so maybe start there?


Doh, of course, had completely forgotten about the headless aspect.

The full scenario (to answer some of jaymz's questions as well) is that I work from home with the office in Sydney.  VPN to the ESXi lab there is painful.
Have two work laptops - one very new HP Elitebook and a moderately newish Dell Latitude.

Am currently only using the Elitebook as a Win7 host + VMware Workstation.  Hence the lappy vs desktop question - I already have the laptop which work would rather upgrade than buy a new box.

Its a slow and painful process converting my thin provisioned Workstation VMs to ESXi compatible images to send to the office which is why I was figuring I might as well run ESXi full time.



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Ultimate Geek
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  Reply # 833995 11-Jun-2013 10:07
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jaymz: If you are wanting to run 6-8 Win2K8R2 servers and a day to day Win7 machine, then you really need to be looking at no less that a 7200RPM drive.

The disk I/O from that many servers (even if they are idling) will cause the Win7 Machine to run quite slow.

If you can expand to a 10K RPM drive then you would be far better off.

Any reason as to why you have chosen a laptop over a desktop PC?

CPU and RAM will be fine, although you are best to check compatibility on the VMWare site to confirm.

What is the purpose of the Win7 Client? what are you expecting to do with it as a day to day machine?


Thanks, its that importance of disk IO I was looking for.

As per gjm's point above, it looks like I'll be running just the servers on on this laptop and use another for access and the day to day machine.

gjm

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Ultimate Geek
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  Reply # 834001 11-Jun-2013 10:14
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Personally I would remote into a machine in Sydney and do all the work over there where possible. That way the only traffic going over the VPN is display, all the other stuff is local to the LAN. I'm working at home today and thats how Im doing it - VPN client on laptop and remote in to my work desktop for anything that needs to be a bit faster.




[Amstrad CPC 6128: 128k Memory: 3 inch floppy drive: Colour Screen]



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Ultimate Geek
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  Reply # 834003 11-Jun-2013 10:16
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ubergeeknz: I would say get the fastest disk subsystem you can get, eg. 2 fast (matching) drives in RAID1 (software RAID1 will be OK), 10k if you can or SSD/Hybrid.


The 10k price point puts it out of the picture but do you think the 7.2k Hybrid will have much of an advantage over a traditional 7.2k drive?  
Especially because as far as I can tell the mobo only handles SATA 2 (seems strange but all documentation I can find only mentions 2, not 3)

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