ESXi Whitebox - ML110 G5 or ML115 G5

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I am currently looking to get either a ML110 G5 or ML115 G5 to use as a ESXi Whitebox to assist in my studies and allow me to play with various packages, however I'm looking for some feedback from existing users with regards of ease of install (onboard controller) and performance (this being the key part)

Im looking to run the following

2x 2003 Domain controllers
1x 2003 File & Print
1x 2003 Terminal Server (will eventually be 2008 with a 2008 TS Gateway)
1x Sharepoint
1x VPN
1x Web Server
1x Exchange 2003

Is the dual core box up to the task or will the extra cores benefit?

I already have 8GB (4x2GB) OCZ Gold PC6400 spare that I will put in and 4x500GB Seagate ES drives

I will also be putting in a single PCI-E Intel Pro 1000 PT network card

Thanks
 
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If youre buying a server its not exactly whitebox :)

The ML115 should fit the bill and can be had with a quad core for about 170 quid
 
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If youre buying a server its not exactly whitebox :)

The ML115 should fit the bill and can be had with a quad core for about 170 quid

would be interested to hear more about these, any chance of a mail - in trust?
 
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My first thought is - overload. Especially with TS and Exchange on there. Exchange is particularly disk intensive.

With your DC's I would have a physical one also - preferably the PDC.

Your fileserver may suffer because of the other vm's running on there.

We have a couple of ML110's and they are great - but we don't use them in production. We use DL380 G5's fully loaded - but then you're into a whole different ballgame.

Providing you aren't expecting too much out of it - it should be ok.

As far as the install goes - it was very simple. I think we had one problem but I can't remember off the top of my head what it was - but it was sorted with a BIOS setting.

For the price, admittedly, you can't go wrong!
 
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There'll be no problem running that lot on a server of that spec for a learning/lab environment. Exchange is only disk intensive when it actually has users on it :)

I regularly run a few 2003 images on my laptop for demos and testing with no problem. Its a 2.0Ghz C2D with 2gb RAM - I can quite happily demonstrate a XenApp/XenDesktop deployment to a client with 3 or 4 VMs on it

PDC? We're not talking NT4 here :confused:

(Yes I'm aware of the PDC emulator FSMO role...)
 
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There'll be no problem running that lot on a server of that spec for a learning/lab environment. Exchange is only disk intensive when it actually has users on it :)

Sorry I missed the testing thing..

I regularly run a few 2003 images on my laptop for demos and testing with no problem. Its a 2.0Ghz C2D with 2gb RAM - I can quite happily demonstrate a XenApp/XenDesktop deployment to a client with 3 or 4 VMs on it

Agreed it will quite happily run all these with no users :)

PDC? We're not talking NT4 here :confused:


(Yes I'm aware of the PDC emulator FSMO role...)

Then you will be aware that the PDC emulator master has additional responsibilities. In fact I would always keep the FSMO roles on a physical server.

Having said that - if this is a lab environment, that's not important. Make sure you snapshot if you're making potentially destructive changes though - to save you doing a fresh reinstall.
 
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Then you will be aware that the PDC emulator master has additional responsibilities. In fact I would always keep the FSMO roles on a physical server.

Well obviously, although you need a pretty huge network until an AD server starts to use a lot of resources. As for keeping one physical - personal preference I guess, cant see much benefit myself.
 
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I seem to remember reading something about being careful with anything that might temporarily "pause" the VM such as snapshots or vMotion - cant recall the exact reasoning though.

When I did my VCP a year or so ago the official stance from them was to use all virtual if your enviroment was all virtual. If it was mixed physical/virtual then use mixed physical/virtual DCs - dont know if that stance has changed or not recently
 
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I seem to remember reading something about being careful with anything that might temporarily "pause" the VM such as snapshots or vMotion - cant recall the exact reasoning though.

Actually - yes - in fact I think they say not to use them at all with DC's - I think the reason is something to do with replication.



Regarding load considerations - on a VM you will see a bigger drop in performance due to heavy loading on a DC than you would with native hardware. I think Microsoft say its like 2% to 10% or something.

I'm not sure I'd be happy virtualising my entire environment. I may actually consider keeping my DC's entirely physical.
 
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Well obviously, although you need a pretty huge network until an AD server starts to use a lot of resources. As for keeping one physical - personal preference I guess, cant see much benefit myself.

It is actually a Microsoft recommendation:

You should retain one or two physical domain controllers per domain in your Active Directory infrastructure. An issue that is specific to virtualization software or the hardware on which it runs can interrupt services on every domain controller in the domain, or even in the forest. If possible, diversify the hardware that you use to host domain controllers so that a single hardware issue cannot interrupt your Active Directory services.
 
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My network has 2 DCs, both virtual. No issues whatsoever - I think they're a prime candidate for virtualisation because most will never run at any sort of significant load.

So long as you take care to work around the known "issues" then I cant see a reason not to do it
 
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So are we in agreement that the AMD Quad Core Opteron would be the better option?

Or the Intel Dual Core and maybe find a cheap quad to upgrade it to

I also have a Perc 5i card with the LSI firmware to use as a storage controller.
 
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Given the price of the Ml115 quad (170 quid ish) I see no possible reason for getting a dual...
 
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The only reason I have found so far is that the performance of the dual is better than the quad and the option to upgrade to a quad at a later date.

I can find the HP ProLiant ML110 G5 for £188 inc vat and the ML115 G5 for £230
 
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Performance as in clock speed?

For this sort of thing number of cores > clock speed

You can get the ML115 for less than that
 
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Ok i've found the ML115 G5 with 1yr warranty for £173 inc vat + P&P or with 3yr warranty for £230 inc vat + P&P

They have slight different configurations with memory, dvd drive and supplied hard disk.

Is the 3yr year worth the extra £50?
 
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Only you can answer that, surely. Its not a bad price for a 3 year warranty, but it is about 1/4 of the price...
 
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Hope you don't mind me piggy backing on this thread madman.

I'm looking to do something very similar to you and am considering the ML115G5.

The spec states "Integrated 4 port SATA controller with embedded RAID (0,1,5)" does this mean hardware raid? And does it support SAS drives?

If not can I simply buy a perc or adaptec card to plug-in that will do the job?
 
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It's hardware RAID but it wont support SAS - I dont think the onboard RAID is supported by ESXi though

If you want to use SAS then a PCI-E card will work just fine
 
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