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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I work as the IT guy and Engineer for a small tech company in Arlington, TX. We decided we wanted VPN capability into our office, but we didn't have anything to VPN into. My boss was thinking we'd need to buy 4 desktops to use for full functionality (we do VB.NET which can't compile code remotely, meaning the computer has to be reasonably powerful for doing programming work on) while we were out of the office - I suggested we just build one computer to run multiple VMs on, and then we could also use it to sandbox software on before we deploy it on our real server (which is kind-of a POS).

Specs:
SuperMicro dual-1366 bare bone
Xeon E5645 (only one to start with)
24 GB of RAM
Four 1TB HDDs in RAID 0+1
The cheapest video card I could find with a good warranty
Intel's new dedicated RAID card w/ battery backup
Server '08 R2 Enterprise

All the parts arrived and it was time for a little fun. I worked from home where I had all my tools and could take the build nice and easy and still get paid normally - because this is still a LOT cheaper than buying a pre-built server from somebody and I'm between projects at work.

Got the bare bone system opened, tidied up the cable management just a little bit and was ready to start.
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Removed the fans and the old SATA cables
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A very simple looking 24GB of RAM
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The new RAID card w/ battery backup mounted and the cables ready to go in
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CPU, GPU, RAM and RAID card installed; the hot-swap panel wired.
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DVD drive, fans and HSF (I flipped the fan in it, so ignore the little arrow) installed, and the minor cable management I had to do to keep this looking clean
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I got the RAID all configured and fully initialized. Then I started PC Check to verify all the hardware worked correctly out of the box and took a nap while it ran. The dog joined me.
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PC Check (like most diagnostics that run outside the OS) can't test most RAID arrays. So I installed Server '08 R2 Enterprise and fired up Western Digital Data Lifeguard which in my opinion is the most effective way to test a complete RAID array for perfect functionality.
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Possibly the best day and a half of work ever in IT
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I'm a little surprised this thread didn't get more views, there aren't a lot of server-class builds on here.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by CTRLurself View Post

I'm a little surprised this thread didn't get more views, there aren't a lot of server-class builds on here.
I know. this is like heaven to me lol I love anything to do with high speed servers
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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Quote:
Originally Posted by joshd View Post

Niceee!! Great work, just get another Xeon!!!
Well, this server was built with expansion in mind, and so far I've peaked it at around 11GB of RAM being used under light work. It may need more than *just* another Xeon.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Because I'm using up 50% of the RAM working by myself on here getting all the VMs working right. If we had everybody dial into it at once I think it would be close to overloaded.
 

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Should of done a SR-2, or a SR-3 if thats out yet.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by CTRLurself View Post

Because I'm using up 50% of the RAM working by myself on here getting all the VMs working right. If we had everybody dial into it at once I think it would be close to overloaded.
Ah. What you going to get. 64 GB
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?
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Quote:
Originally Posted by cloudbyday View Post

Should of done a SR-2, or a SR-3 if thats out yet.
No. The only benefits it has are overclocking - which you don't really do in a server environment - and a ton of PCI-E slots which we didn't need. Besides, that board costs a lot more, and the cases that support it are expensive. $880 got me PSU, fans, case motherboard and a beastly hot-swap panel. Good luck beating that price using an SR2.
Quote:
Originally Posted by joshd View Post

Ah. What you going to get. 64 GB
biggrin.gif
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Probably add another 24GB if needed. I have to finish loading everything on here and then stress test it. That'll decide if we need another CPU and/or more RAM.
 

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love server build, the tec is so much more interesting,
we have so many how do i overclock my i5/i7 threads,
this is the fascinating stuff
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Maybe you need 128GB? I mean the manager will laugh at the bill but then again you will need it if you catch me drift
tongue.gif
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Quote:
Originally Posted by george_orm View Post

love server build, the tec is so much more interesting,
we have so many how do i overclock my i5/i7 threads,
this is the fascinating stuff
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Amen. It get's old seeing so many of the same threads over and over again. That's why I only share builds that are bizarre and fun and unusual. I build a bunch of basic computers, but I don't see the point to sharing those.
Quote:
Originally Posted by joshd View Post

Maybe you need 128GB? I mean the manager will laugh at the bill but then again you will need it if you catch me drift
tongue.gif
I'm thinking the upgrade will just be to 48GB of RAM. I'm at 14GB of usage right now, and 40% CPU load sustained. I'm not even done loading everything on it yet, upgrades are likely to come to this
smile.gif
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
If you guys were wondering what it takes to run a small VM server, here's an idea. This is running Server 08 R2 as the host OS, three instances of Windows 7 Pro 64-bit (4GB of RAM, 120GB hard drives and a quad-core CPU) and one instance of Server 08 R2 Enterprise (4GB of RAM, 250GB hard drive and a quad-core CPU) for testing management software on.
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If I could find the screenshots I also benched the RAID 0+1 array and got 185MB/s sustained read, and I can't remember exactly what the write or burst speeds were... back to searching for those screenies I go.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
I finally found my disk benchmarks:

Read
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Transfer
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Random
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