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What else would I need?

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 
If I bought this:
C6100

Then what else would I need?

As I understand it, it only has 3 HDD connections unless I had a raid card or something to give SAS ports but I mainly wish to use it for backup and VM practice. I plan to setup a mock high end network; firewall, dns, mail server, active directory, nas, squid, local backup, etc and document the whole process and use it as a "here is what I can do" at interviews.

EDIT - Just noticed this version doesn't have hyper threading CPUs or SLAT available. Looking for a better one with decent price. Open to suggestions though and basic idea still applies!

C1100 Maybe something like this would be better suited to the task? The hyperthreaded and VT-x capable CPU are less but allow for better performance? Maybe? Not sure here.
Edited by Sarec - 11/8/13 at 12:35am
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post #2 of 8
@OP

That's one awkward thing with the C6100: usually three HDs per node, unless you use a RAID card and some creative cable routing. If you do decide to go for the C6100, this is probably the one you're looking for.

The C1100 is also a good option and has a more "natural" number of drives per compute node (i.e. 4). tycoonbob has a couple of these and loves them. Hopefully he'll chime in. smile.gif
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post #3 of 8
You would probably have a better time with a C1100 and then get a storage works or something like it and attach it to the c1100 with a raid card. This is what I have done and it works flawlessly.

Here is my post - Dell C1100 Storage Server

The last few pages are where the actual stuff happens the first few pages are just planing and looking for servers.
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post #4 of 8
If you are looking at C6100 or C1100s, you want at least the Xeon L5520 for Hyperthreading.

I like the C6100s, but decided against using them myself. The main killer for me is that each microserver is setup with only 3 drives. You can do some cable routing to set up 4 drives to two of them, and 2 drives to the other two, but then you loose hotswap microservers on the first two (because of the cables). The best solution is to use 1 drive for each microserver and use SAN storage, but you will want to add a quad gigabit card in the PCIe slot, or make use of the mezzanine slot.

Another option for storage is (if you're using Server 2012 & Hyper-V) to add HBAs to each MicroServer, and build a separate JBOD chassis (i.e., Dell MD1000) and set up a Scale Out File Server. It's highly available SMB storage, which works great for Hyper-V, but this was too cumbersome for what I wanted to do, which is why I chose a couple C1100s instead.

The C61100s with the L5520s will cost you about $800-1000 with 8 L5520s and 96GB RAM total. C1100s with 2 L5520s and 36GB of RAM will cost you about $320. Do you really need all the power in a C6100? I'm going to say no. I say no because I can get by with a pair of C1100s and still have lots of room to grow (currently running ~30 VMs across both of them; using Hyper-V Replica to replicate to each box for HA).

For what it's worth, I use two Dell C1100s with dual L5520s and 48GB of RAM. Each of them have a 60GB SSD for the OS (Server 2012 R2), along with a 2TB Toshiba DT01ACA200 and a 128GB SSD in a Tiered Simple Storage Space which I use for VM storage (IOPS are darned good). Between the two servers, I have my full AD Domain/DNS/DHCP, a squid VM, my backup server (with iSCSI storage for backups), and an Exchange environment (for familiarization, really). I have several other VMs running as well, but for example...on HyperV01 I have 17 VMs running (10 are Server 2012 R2, 1 is Windows 8.1 Ent, and 6 are CentOS 6.4). Those VMs are using a combined 22GB of RAM (statically set), and ~300GB of storage. CPU utilization on this box is normally around 1-2%, and according to Splunk, the highest it has hit was 22% in the past week (average is 1.06% utilization on the CPUs).

What I'm getting at is the C1100 is a very powerful server for virtualization. What you need to be mindful of is only allocate RAM that will be used (don't give 4GB of RAM to every Windows Server VM because they don't need it). Storage is always going to be your bottleneck way before CPU or RAM, and using either SSDs or some kind of storage utilizing tiered storage and SSDs.
post #5 of 8
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by tycoonbob View Post

you will want to add a quad gigabit card in the PCIe slot, or make use of the mezzanine slot.

Another option for storage is (if you're using Server 2012 & Hyper-V) to add HBAs to each MicroServer, and build a separate JBOD chassis (i.e., Dell MD1000) and set up a Scale Out File Server. It's highly available SMB storage, which works great for Hyper-V, but this was too cumbersome for what I wanted to do, which is why I chose a couple C1100s instead.

using either SSDs or some kind of storage utilizing tiered storage and SSDs.

My network at home is 100megabit at the moment. Cost too much to upgrade that. It is a hell of a bottleneck but the familiarization with real equipment and servers is still a need. So I don't think I need a gigabit card. I don't know what mezzaine slot is really but I will look it up even though I don't think I will need that either.

The part about the other option. I don't know what some of the acronyms you used are for. Such as: HBA, JBOD(just a bunch of disk) in raid sure but as a chassis?, Scale Out File Server(I assume this is a server you can scale up or move resources from to better equipment later?) I plan to make this a Xen or VMware server because I cannot afford the full licensing of windows for clients and servers. I am not entirely sure I can even get my hands on VMware. I will not be using a complicated raid setup becuase I cannot afford to buy two servers, let alone buy two raid cards(replacement in case one fails). I will be using my two 1.5TB disks in raid 1. Small storage but it will get me started. I was planning on buying an SSD, like 250-500GB, to store the VMs so I can mitigate the HDD bottleneck. Wasn't sure if I needed a dedicated OS drive for Xen or Vmware. I heard of some people using a pen drive for that.

Third point. I don't know what you mean by tiered storage. The image I get from that phrase does not entirely make sense with the context you are using it in.

I pretty much figured that I shouldn't go with the C6100. I am happy to know that 30 VM can be run on the C1100. One of the things I was planning to setup is a on the fly trans-coding for video storage that I have. Setting up a website and building a player in it to view my content. For my use only of course but it gives me a goal to code for(barely know anything about coding but I need a project I will be passionate about to get me start) and helps me solidify my knowledge of networking and server maintenance and base-lining. I plan on messing with the VM tech a lot.

@xNovax That thread and many others are the reasons I discovered the cheap C1100 and C6100 and like servers. I had no idea there were such beautiful machines for such a low cost until recently. The possibility of setting something like this up has been a dream for far too long.
Edited by Sarec - 11/9/13 at 9:24am
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post #6 of 8
@Sarec
Quote:
My network at home is 100megabit at the moment. Cost too much to upgrade that.

You can afford to think about buying a C6100 but can't afford second hand GigE off ebay? Really? GigE cards and switches are seriously cheap, and buying brand new makes no sense, if that's what you were thinking. smile.gif

Chick this out for a switch, and this for a card. The servers will come with GigE anyway. smile.gif
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post #7 of 8
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by parityboy View Post

@Sarec
You can afford to think about buying a C6100 but can't afford second hand GigE off ebay? Really? GigE cards and switches are seriously cheap, and buying brand new makes no sense, if that's what you were thinking. smile.gif

Chick this out for a switch, and this for a card. The servers will come with GigE anyway. smile.gif

I cannot afford to buy C6100. My original question was to see if I should wait without others opinion on money. I got my answer. As for the gigabit network. I have a managed 100megabit switch I plan to use as part of this project. Using VLANs, network teaming and other things along those lines. I am strapped as it is trying to afford the C1100 but I am willing to go that far to get what I need to have the extra during my interviews since so far I haven't landed any of the jobs. Switching my entire house over to gigabit is not a priority. My home isn't my own. Only my personal machine could connect at the gigabit speeds since the rest of the machines in my house are old enough to not have gigabit ports. Never seen a cheap gigabit managed switch.

Prices on so much of this hardware from just a couple years ago is so VERY different. I really need to revisit old project ideas in the near future. To add to this, I just recently got a minimum wage job in an area that ranges from 15-20% unemployment after being jobless for 3 years and having to work under the table to make ends meat. So I apologize for making use of assumptions on old knowledge. Never expected prices to come down that far.

EDIT -

Not trying to be a downer or anything just had a moment of venting.

Pulled the trigger on this one.
C1100 5520 and 36Gig

Appreciate the help from one and all! I will be starting a new thread when it arrives to document my learning and setup of this beast.
Edited by Sarec - 11/10/13 at 6:34am
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post #8 of 8
@Sarec

No worries. Like you, I worked on the information I had to hand. smile.gif C1100 is a great purchase (it's certainly on my shopping list, once I can afford it).

Looking forward to your adventures with it. biggrin.gif
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