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Hard Time deciding on route for new ESXi server

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 
I'm really having a hard time properly deciding the path to take on my new ESXi build I will doing in a few months.
Looking at building a solution that will last 4-5 years. However, I'm not sure which route to take.

Option 1:
Intel Core i7-2600
CORSAIR CWCH60
ASRock Z68 PROFESSIONAL GEN3
G.SKILL Ripjaws X Series 32GB
Fractal Design Define XL
Antec BP550 Plus 550W
Intel EXPI9402PTBLK Two Gigabit
LSI MegaRAID SATA/SAS 9260-8i??
LSI LSI00161 MegaRAID LSIiBBU07 Battery Backup??
Possibly also an SSD and a mix of hard drives(some I have, others I don't).

Option 2:
An ESxi server with same processor, less expensive MB, smaller case, etc.
A second NAS box running OpenFiler or FreeNAS for shared storage and software RAID.

My concern with Option 1 is that Hardware RAID is really expensive and I have yet to deal with a dedicated RAID card. (I'm not even sure that one RAID card can handle multiple arrays.
Currently I run an ESXi server with 2 separate datastores and no raid. WHS 11 is one datastore (and has 2 Data drives that WHS has in software Raid1) and backs up VM's on the other Datastore in case of a failure, but obviously this isn't ideal.

With Option 2 I would need to build 2 systems, though I might be able to save some money on the MB since I wouldn't need one with 8 Sata ports. However I'm new to using shared storage for ESXi. I did play around with OpenFiler on a VM and was able to present a Raid1 iSCSI to the ESXi succesfully, but not sure how comfortable I feel with it as of yet. It would seem though that you open yourself up to more points of failure running 2 boxes for one server, so I don't know.

What are your thoughts on either build and experiences? I would really like to hear what people have done and what may be considered a better option to go with. I am looking at getting something that will last for the long haul.
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post #2 of 14
I haven't done anything with hardware RAID, but I'm pretty sure you could just go with a cheaper RAID controller. How many drives are you putting in this thing? Your concern about more points of failure when running 2 systems for 1 server is pretty valid.

Edit: looking at Newegg there are a few that seem to have less ports in the $190-280 price range, so unless you happen to have 16 hard drives, this might seem like a good option. Also, I think that RAID controllers can only RAID the drives plugged into it.
Edited by lin2dev - 3/15/12 at 9:54pm
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post #3 of 14
im gunna preach my refurb servers, go to http://www.unixsurplus.com/ and look at the rackable systems servers, email and ask for justin if you want some upgardes and beleive me they run ESXi 5.0 perfect and will for another 5 years thumb.gif
 
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post #4 of 14
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by lin2dev View Post

I haven't done anything with hardware RAID, but I'm pretty sure you could just go with a cheaper RAID controller. How many drives are you putting in this thing? Your concern about more points of failure when running 2 systems for 1 server is pretty valid.
Edit: looking at Newegg there are a few that seem to have less ports in the $190-280 price range, so unless you happen to have 16 hard drives, this might seem like a good option. Also, I think that RAID controllers can only RAID the drives plugged into it.

A lot of the cheaper RAID controllers are "fake" RAIDS unfortunately so I'm not so sure that they will work with ESXi. I plan on running at least 6 hard drives, though it may be a few more (depending if I want to add an SSD or two). I'm aware that you can only RAID drives plugged into the controller, but wasn't sure if can handle multiple arrays, ie. 1 Raid 1 and 1 Raid 5.
Quote:
Originally Posted by stubass View Post

im gunna preach my refurb servers, go to http://www.unixsurplus.com/ and look at the rackable systems servers, email and ask for justin if you want some upgardes and beleive me they run ESXi 5.0 perfect and will for another 5 years thumb.gif

Thanks, I'll check that link out and see what they have available. I don't have a rack, but that's obviously not a big deal.

I'm also debating on using my old ESXi box as a second ESXi server in which case I would require shared storage. Or I can use that for the OpenFiler, though it would be overkill (see my systems for current specs) and consume a lot of power likely.
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post #5 of 14
but... putting all your mables in 1 box instead of two could be bad... when one hardware fails your whole ESXi virtual network would go down including your file server...
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post #6 of 14
If you are going to run Raid 5 you will want a Raid card that has a dedicated cpu as the parity calculations will make writes horribly slow, especially during a rebuild should a hard drive fail.

And as running the file server separate from the ESXI server would be optimal from the stand point if it does go down for some reason. That way the file server is still accessible if it is going to be constantly accessed.

But since your talking about running VM's and other stuff I have no clue about, I cant really say about for the rest.

Oh and that LSI MegaRaid card is a awesome raid card from a performance stand point from some reviews Ive seen on it. And I would have to say that if a dedicated raid card cant handle multiple arrays at once and Intels ICH9R can handle up to 3 at once, there is a problem. But when in doubt call there Customer support and Im sure they can tell you.
Quote:
Originally Posted by lin2dev View Post

Also, I think that RAID controllers can only RAID the drives plugged into it.

And he is correct on this one since its just like how the current SB boards have to have a added on chipset to have more than 2 Sata 3.0 ports and can only raid the drives connected to those chipsets. 2 difference examples LINK 1 LINK 2 You will notice you can only use 2 SATA 3.0 Ports in the raid even tho it has more than 2 ports.
Edited by terraprime - 3/16/12 at 8:26am
 
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post #7 of 14
Thread Starter 
Something like this rack server looks very interesting.
Though it has no hardware RAID and I am afraid what the power consumption on it would be. I don't need a sky high power bill from it redface.gif

On that I could run one processor/board for Open Filer and wouldn't need hardware RAID and present the shared storage to up to 3 different ESXi servers on one box.
It's cheaper then what I can build form my list above. Any ideas what the power draw on one these rack servers would be?
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post #8 of 14
Software RAID? No.

Go to ebay, search "P400"

Grab a P400 with 256 or 512mb ram and the array battery. I've seen them for $30 and run one myself in my file server.

They are not finicky with standard desktop mother boards and are generally recognized in the BIOS, if not you download the HP ACU (Array configuration utility) from HP.com and poof. Profit.

If you are going to skimp on the real raid controller, you might as well have a power supply be two hampsters in a copper wrapped wheel.

As for the rest of the build...

Skip the "Water cooling" - while I'll never call that real watercooling a server is 24/7 running, no downtime, etc. You don't need a pump failure on a server, grab a hyper 212+ or Ultra Carbon x5 - cheap, reliable, quiet.

The proc is fine, you'll run out of RAM long before you get near putting that proc at 10%. Which brings me to my next point.

RAM RAM RAM - find a board that'll handle more than what you're going to put in it today. If you max it out now at 32GB, you can't expand and will have to build another server eventually.

You may want to look at the X58 platform and a board that can handle 6x 8GB sticks. Just thinking of ESX overhead\vCenter\vsphere etc - whatever the kids are calling it these days.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dnic41 View Post

Something like this rack server looks very interesting.
Though it has no hardware RAID and I am afraid what the power consumption on it would be. I don't need a sky high power bill from it redface.gif
On that I could run one processor/board for Open Filer and wouldn't need hardware RAID and present the shared storage to up to 3 different ESXi servers on one box.
It's cheaper then what I can build form my list above. Any ideas what the power draw on one these rack servers would be?

Lots of power. My DL360 G5 runs dual 771 Quads 6x 2.5 SAS's and 32GB of RAM - it'll pull 350watts at idle 450 at med-higher loads. I've decommissioned it and now run my VMs on a Dell Poweredge r610. 10 times the power, under heavy load right now ALMOST pulling 200 watts. 2x Xeon x5650's with 48GB ECC FB's.
Edited by rpm666 - 3/16/12 at 9:10am
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post #9 of 14
Thread Starter 
Watched a video on the Dell PowerEdge XS23-SB and that thing is really loud. Think I'll have to pass. Power usage may be close to what it might be if I went with a 2 system setup.
The Dell Poweredge r610 looks nice, but is quite expensive.

I'll look at the P400 and a board capable of holding more RAM as that is a good point.

Also you say no to software RAID, but I see a lot of people recommend using OpenFiler to provide a SAN RAID for ESXi.
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post #10 of 14
Might I interest you in one of these?

You can order a case from here...thumb.gif
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Intel Xeon X5675 @ 4.2/1.352v Asus x58 Sabertooth NVIDIA Quadro FX4800 12GB Mushkin Radioactive 9-9-9-24 
Hard DriveHard DriveHard DriveOptical Drive
Samsung 32GB SSD (ESXi + ISO Images) Western Digital 250GB 7200 Sata (VMs) 3 x 750GB Segate Con ES Raid 5 none 
OSMonitorKeyboardPower
VMware ESXi 5.0 Dual Dell 17" Flat panel Cheap Logitech Seasonic X750 Gold 
CaseMouseMouse Pad
Antec 900 Cheap Logitech HP Blackbird 002 Gaming Pad 
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