A single T7500 or 3 NUCs - Which would you choose?

GBAKER2204GBAKER2204 Member Posts: 91 ■■□□□□□□□□
Hoping to get a steer, which would you choose and why between the below:

T7500 with dual X5675s and 192GB of Ram 4Tb of 6Gb/S SAS and 2 x 256Gb SSDs

or 3 x i3 NUCs (NUC7I3BNH) each with 32GB of Ram, Samsung Evo 850 and Samsung 961 as storage

Or would you go for something else entirely?

Looking for the best bang for my bucks, whilst giving flexibility to study for the following:

MCSE Private Cloud

Possibly study for:
Other VCPs
WIP: 2017 - VCP6.5-DCV (Achieved), VCAP6-DCV, Citrix CCA-V


  • ITHokieITHokie GXPN | GPEN | GCIH | GPYC | CISSP | CEH | MCSE | CCNA | Others Member Posts: 158 ■■■■□□□□□□
    Just a little disclaimer - while I come from a systems engineering background, I'm a pen tester. I thought I'd chime in since I've been running a NUC lab for awhile. They are freaking awesome.

    The Lab:

    - 3 NUCs (2 i5, 1 i7)
    - HP Procurve layer 3 switch
    - Synology NAS

    Each NUC has no storage other than an 8 GB low profile thumb drive to run ESXi. All VM storage is presented as NFS or iSCSI on the NAS, although I may purchase SSDs just for host caching.

    Of course VMWare does not officially support NUC installations, but there are few sites out that there that document how to handle any weirdness. The only challenging piece of the NUC lab is the 1 NIC limitation, but you can get around that by using a USB NIC and installing a custom vib (also out there on various sites). By default the ESXi kernel will not recognize a USB NIC (though you can pass through to a VM), so you would not be able to build an HA cluster, do VMotion, etc.

    My lab is incredibly quiet and energy efficient. There is no way I would go bigger at this point unless the type of work I do required significantly more horse power.
  • sacredboysacredboy Member Posts: 303 ■■■□□□□□□□
    I personally ave two options:
    1) Shuttle DS87. More or less affordable though limited with 16GB of RAM.
    2) SuperMicro E200/300-8D. Quite expensive (not available in Australia) but quite powerful.
    Best, sacredboy!
  • GBAKER2204GBAKER2204 Member Posts: 91 ■■□□□□□□□□
    Thanks for the suggestions, I had almost discounted the SuperMicro servers on the basis of availability despite their flexibility. I have a £2300 budget to work to, which will include the cost of an EvalExperience subscription. My old lab (AMD A6 with 16GB Ram) was bought cheaply back in 2012 and has doubled as a family PC (nested setup), it's replacement will also likely do the same as well as give broader lab scope (more RAM/CPU and storage).

    I have potentially another option, a single 5028D-TN4T with 64GB DDR4 2133 RAM, Samsung Evo 850 and Samsung 961, and a 4TB Segate as storage. This has upgrade options for RAM in the future.

    What would you do in my position?
    WIP: 2017 - VCP6.5-DCV (Achieved), VCAP6-DCV, Citrix CCA-V
  • TechGuru80TechGuru80 Member Posts: 1,539 ■■■■■■□□□□
    I have a T5500...I would never go with more over the single unless there was a very good reason in a lab. You start to run out of power outlets, it gets hotter, could run into troubleshooting issues, etc. One box, with VMs is more than enough...no need to complicate things.
  • KyrakKyrak CISSP, PMP, MCSE CP&I, VCP5/6, CCNA R&S/Sec/Cyber Ops, ITIL, A+/N+/Sec+ Member Posts: 143 ■■■□□□□□□□
    I did something like this and added a 500 GB SSD and was able to do everything I wanted including HA and FT in a nested ESXi environment. It isn't too loud until you get several VMs going and it definitely isn't low power, but with the money you will save you can pay the power bill and have extra flexibility if you ever want to get some physical network gear. Check out the VMWare HOLs too if you haven't already.
    Up next: On Break, but then maybe CCNA DC, CCNP DC, CISM, AWS SysOps Administrator
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