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Topic # 57128 3-Feb-2010 18:14
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Looking for a good testbed for some projects and I need a solid server for virtualisation.

Some baseline ideal requirements



  • Quad Core minimum - more would be better

  • 16GB Ram min

  • Support upto 6 sata HDs - hot swap not required

  • Tower case is fine, this isn't going into a data centre

  • Dual Gigabit ethernet


Some nice to have but not as urgent


  • Off the shelf with decent support - eg Dell/IBM/HP or good local supplier

  • Not restricted for upgrades to their own components

  • Rack capable case

  • Quad Gigabit

  • Remote Lights Out


I've had a look at some of the Dell Txxx series units and the HP MLxxx units but the issue is always the right combination of RAM and HDs. A lot only have 4 Ram slots which means very expensive 4GB sticks.

There is some nice Intel barebones gear around and I could easily build up a box, but at some point often Dell ends up cheaper.

Any other suggestions?




Generally known online as OpenMedia, now working for Red Hat New Zealand as a Solution Architect for all things Linux, Virtual and of course Cloud. Still playing with MythTV and digital media on the side.

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Amanzi
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  Reply # 295826 3-Feb-2010 20:39
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I don't know too much about the IBM and Dell offerings, as I've pretty much settled on recommending/selling HP servers (great support and performance). With that in mind, the ML330 G6 seems to fit your bill. It's dual-proc capable, has 18 slots (9 per CPU) for DDR3 memory, and can take up to 8 LFF (3.5") drives. It has dual gigabit built-in, but you could expand this with add-in cards too. I think it has basic remote management included, but I'd have to check up on this. Base price starts from around $2500 for a single quad core proc and 4GB RAM. The base model has a 460W power supply which *may* struggle if you're going to fill the server with hard drives - I'd have to check this too. Let me know if you need more info, but here's the HP site link: http://h10010.www1.hp.com/wwpc....

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  Reply # 295831 3-Feb-2010 20:51
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do you need this to be a "production" quality machine? if you're only going to go single CPU quad core, and you dont need redundant power, etc, then get yourself one of the i5 or i7 desktop systems (or build one yourself). I've built a couple recently that support 16GB+ ram, if you get an ATX board you can get 6 triple channel ram slots - that gives you 12GB for an ok price at current DIMM pricing.

if you're going for 'production' equipment then i'd recommend HP if you want lights out - their iLO works well. You can also buy an ML series servers and they get a rack conversion kit later if you dont have an immediate need to rack them (although they will use more U's than DL series).

depending on what you're virtualising, you could even pick up a cheap older model HP or IBM blade chassis loaded with blades from trademe.

a further option is to go for a rack server with only a couple of drive bays and hook it up to an external storage enclosure, or get a cheap rack iSCSI NAS unit (e.g. QNAP) for your extra storage. All the virtualisation platforms will support VM's hosted on iscsi storage - and you can also connect iscsi storage from within a VM.




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  Reply # 295837 3-Feb-2010 21:31
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I could probably make do with 12GB as I really want a couple of machines. Ideally 6-10 VMs per box depending on memory use. At the moment I want lots of local spindles as I/O is going to be a major issue with some of the test work loads. I want to be able to dedicate a set (or two) of spindles to a VM to get close to native performance to simulate production loads.

Yes the ML330's look good but they only support 4xHDs. Really want a chassis that can handle upto six.




Generally known online as OpenMedia, now working for Red Hat New Zealand as a Solution Architect for all things Linux, Virtual and of course Cloud. Still playing with MythTV and digital media on the side.

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  Reply # 295843 3-Feb-2010 21:46
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openmedia:
Yes the ML330's look good but they only support 4xHDs. Really want a chassis that can handle upto six.

try this link:  http://h10010.www1.hp.com/wwpc/us/en/sm/WF06a/15351-15351-241434-241646-241477-3948598.html

"Up to 144GB DDR3 Registered or 24GB DDR3 unbuffered system memory as well as 8 LFF HDD for either hot plug or non-hot plug SATA or SAS"

I think the 4 bays might be additional internal bays?

You may also want to look at the HP DL380 G6 machines.  Get someone to give you a price - there is a good HP promo on them right now

One problem with buying IBM/Dell/HP etc is that you'll end up paying through the nose for disk drives and branded memory.  This is fine if you want the 4hr warranty, but if its a testbed that can endure some downtime it will be *lots* cheaper to DIY.

Do you have any idea how many IOPS you're talking about for your storage I/O?




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Amanzi
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  Reply # 295870 3-Feb-2010 22:56
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Yes, the ML330 G6 servers can take up to 8 LFF SATA drives. If you wanting to keep it cheap for test purposes, you can buy your own SATA drives but you'd need to source the brackets from somewhere else. Also, you can buy Kingston or Crucial RAM which they have certified to work with the HP servers. I don't think using 3rd party RAM or hard drives would void your HP warranty, but I'm sure the first thing they would do when troubleshooting would be to ask you to remove them and test again. I wouldn't recommend this for a production environment unless you're willing to accept that risk.

As someone else mentioned above, if you're after a lot of storage, you could look at buying a SAN (at least $10k upwards) or building your own whitebox iSCSI SAN using OpenFiler or some other linux variant.



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  Reply # 295871 3-Feb-2010 22:57
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Regs:Do you have any idea how many IOPS you're talking about for your storage I/O?


One reason for the HW is to try and work this out for a variety of workloads.




Generally known online as OpenMedia, now working for Red Hat New Zealand as a Solution Architect for all things Linux, Virtual and of course Cloud. Still playing with MythTV and digital media on the side.



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  Reply # 295872 3-Feb-2010 22:59
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amanzi: Yes, the ML330 G6 servers can take up to 8 LFF SATA drives.


Do you know of a good reference of what defines an LFF SAS or SATA drive?




Generally known online as OpenMedia, now working for Red Hat New Zealand as a Solution Architect for all things Linux, Virtual and of course Cloud. Still playing with MythTV and digital media on the side.

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  Reply # 295876 3-Feb-2010 23:03
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Sorry, "LFF" is HP's acronym for a Large Form Factor drive, as opposed to an "SFF" (Small Form Factor). Basically, a LFF drive is a standard 3.5" hard drive, and a SFF is the smaller notebook size which is quite common on the newer rack-mount servers with SAS (Serial Attached SCSi) drives.


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  Reply # 295976 4-Feb-2010 10:29
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openmedia:
Regs:Do you have any idea how many IOPS you're talking about for your storage I/O?


One reason for the HW is to try and work this out for a variety of workloads.


so now you're interested in dropping $50K on a SAN solution and you need an EVAL unit to test ;)

next question, are your IOPS random reads and writes (eg. database, file server), or large consectutive reads/writes (e.g. logging, tv recording)?  SATA drives do not do random I/O very well.  SAS would be a better choice for that.  SATA is great for sustained consecutive transfers though - as long as there is only one operation on the disk at once.




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  Reply # 296692 7-Feb-2010 02:47
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As you're wanting all this for a testbed, why not go right ahead and purchase some virtual machines from a reputable hosting company who use enterprise grade hardware for their platforms. Would save you a ton in having to shell out on hardware upfront which you may not even use after your testing, providing your testing is not going to be prolonged.




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  Reply # 297649 10-Feb-2010 13:26
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The storage requirements for some of the environment make virtual hosting services uneconomical at present.

Had a look at some Core i5/i7 board that can take quite a lot of Ram and disk. Anyone one got recommendations on a unit that would compare well with Intel's Server grade boards?




Generally known online as OpenMedia, now working for Red Hat New Zealand as a Solution Architect for all things Linux, Virtual and of course Cloud. Still playing with MythTV and digital media on the side.

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  Reply # 297809 10-Feb-2010 22:13
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openmedia: Had a look at some Core i5/i7 board that can take quite a lot of Ram and disk. Anyone one got recommendations on a unit that would compare well with Intel's Server grade boards?


The server grade boards, together with their chassis, typically add:
* Dual CPU capability
* Requirement for ECC Memory
* Additional RAM slots
* Onboad SCSI/SAS controllers
* Redundant Power
* Dual Network
* Stable configurations (i.e. long run of same model, instead of new model every other month)
* Lower Power CPUs for blade computing

We're runnning developer desktops at the office with i5 and Core2 cpus and they all run pretty well for cpu intensive workloads compared to the blade server/san combo.  The higer I/O workloads tend to suffer a bit though given that the desktops are running 2 or 3 sata disks instead of sas, scsi or fibrechannel.

Pretty much any i5 or i7 system out there will be a good option compared to what was available (for a reasonable pirce) in servers a year or two ago.




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  Reply # 299646 16-Feb-2010 23:45
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openmedia: The storage requirements for some of the environment make virtual hosting services uneconomical at present.


How much disk storage did you require? And how much is uneconomical in your view per GB (please don't quote SATA pricing)?

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  Reply # 300105 18-Feb-2010 12:44
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I am in the middle of speccing a VM box for work. So far I have the folllowing and the prices are justa guide from an online retailer.

Description HP Parts # Quantity Unit Price Each
DL385 G6 - 2431 8GB SFF 2U 570103-371 1 $5,018.08 $5,018.08
72GB SAS 15K 2.5" HDD 512545-B21 2 $398.52 $797.04
iLO server + 1 Yr Support 512485-B21 0 $527.97 $0.00
AMD 2431 Processor 570115-B21 0 $1,681.82 $0.00
2 x 2GB DDR2 Memory 497765-B21 1 $527.97 $527.97
NC360T NIC 412648-B21 0 $509.45 $0.00
460W PSU (Spare) 503296-B21 0 $559.35 $0.00
750w PSU 512327-B21 2 $658.34 $1,316.68
Smartarray P410/256 462862-B21 0 $1,142.85 $0.00
8 SFF Drive Cage for 385g6 501263-B21 1 $398.39 $398.39
146GB SAS 10K 2.5" HDD 507125-B21 6 $358.11 $2,148.66

Sub Total $10,206.82
GST $1,275.85
Total $11,482.67

Standard machine comes with
6 cores.
8GB ram.
4 nic ports.
Raid 0,1,5,10 8 port SAS/SATA array controller.
SFF SAS config for 8 drives.
single 460W PSU.

All you need to add are the drives, 72GB and 146GB items listed.

It can be expanded to 12 cores (2 processors), 144GB ram, 16 SAS SFF drives.

Power usage for 2 processors and more than 8 drives requires 750W PSU.




Home Server: Mobo GA-990FXA-UD3, AMD FX-8370, 32GB RAM, 40TB HDD, 2 x HP Smart Array P410, 3 x Norco SS-500, 10GbE, ESXi 6u2, NextPVR, Emby Server, Plex Server, 2 x HDHomerun.
Lounge Media Center: NVIDIA Shield TV 16GB: Kodi17.4/SPMC17a11 with Titan, Emby, NextPVR, 250GB SSD.
Kids Media Center: NVIDIA Shield TV 16GB: Kodi17.4/SPMC16.7 with Titan, Emby, NextPVR, 120GB SSD
Test Center: NVIDIA Shield TV Pro 500GB. Plex Media Server, Kodi17.4/SPMC17a11 with Titan, Emby, HDHomerun.
Main PC: Ryzen 7, 24GB RAM, Nvidia GT730 + RX 470, 512GB ADATA SSD, 3 x 1TB HDD, 2 x 24" Panasonic LCD TV, Blu-ray drive, Windows 10, Kodi17.4, Emby, Titan.


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  Reply # 301862 24-Feb-2010 16:54
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Hi Open Media, not sure if you've found a server solution for your virtualisation project yet, however, IBM have some new announcements in their server range next month that you should consider.

The Power7 launch is next week (register at the link below).  If that box isn't right for you, you'll find the right guys from IBM and their business partners available to have a chat.

http://www-07.ibm.com/events/nz/systems/whatscoming/

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