70-649 - LAB Hardware

swatswat Posts: 22Member ■□□□□□□□□□
I plan on taking 70-649 in the fall, and I don't think the machine I used to LAB it up on my 2003 MCSE will be adequate.

I'm assuming a quad-core 6GB machine would be sufficient, but I'd like some opinions. Specifically, what CPU/Mobo combos would work well with VMWare, HyperV, possibly ESX, etc. I'm a bit out of the loop on what the best bang for the buck i7 CPUs are, but I'd prefer they would play nice in a virtualized setting. Lots of L3 cache and hyper-threading?

I will most likely stick to VMWare workstation for the time being, but might dive into HyperV if it makes more sense.

The machine will most likely be retained post-test, so I can have a fully functional multi-domain network running at home - I might load up Exchange 07/10 as well which will definitely take a nice slice of hardware.

Thanks in advance!

Comments

  • earweedearweed Posts: 5,192Member ■■■■■■■■■□
    This may give you some tips on what youmight want Ultimate VMWare ESX Whitebox
    No longer work in IT. Play around with stuff sometimes still and fix stuff for friends and relatives.
  • swatswat Posts: 22Member ■□□□□□□□□□
    earweed wrote: »
    This may give you some tips on what youmight want Ultimate VMWare ESX Whitebox

    Thanks! That will definitely help me select what CPU/Mobo I need.
  • ciscog33kciscog33k Posts: 82Member ■■□□□□□□□□
    The one consideration that may or may not matter to you, with regards to those machines, is that real servers are hella loud. If you live in an apartment, they're unpleasant to say the least. If you can stick them in the basement of your house they're not so bad.

    If you do some research on chipsets/cpus you can build an esx4 capable machine and stick it in an antec p183 and use some undervolted quiet fans. I'm continuing to run VMware server 2.0 on my main computer until i get a job, but I plan a similar build for a real esx server once i have an income again. I'm also gonna setup an iscsi SAN to provide centralized storage for my music/blu-ray library, all the VMs, etc.

    You can do a lot with VMware server though. I have a quad core with 8GB of ram. RAM is really the key. The biggest advantage to server boards is that they provide way more RAM slots. You're not going to do anything on those cores that will really tax your CPU. I have like 25 VMs on my machine and I can easily run several VMs of server 2008/exchange/whatever and not sacrifice any speed. I could run 15 at once if RAM wasn't constraining me.
  • Hyper-MeHyper-Me Posts: 2,059Banned
    If you are building a Hyper-V box you only need to be worried about a handful of things.

    1. Hardware Assisted Virtualization (HAV) - Must have it on processor and mobo
    2. Data Execution Prevention (Hardware based DEP), sometimes called Execute Disable Bit. Must be supported on Mobo/CPU
    3. 64-bit processor
    4. Stay away from add-on graphics cards. Don't ask me why, they just tend to screw with Server 2008 and Hyper-V.
    I got a fortune cookie that said "Outlook not so good" and I thought to myself "Yeah...but Microsoft sells it anyway."
  • erpadminerpadmin Posts: 4,165Member
    Anyone have a preferential vendor that they like to use to buy parts, or is pretty much ebay for their boxes/parts? I like newegg.com myself, though because they have a business presence in my state [NJ], I have to pay tax. icon_sad.gif To date though, I have yet to find another vendor that comes close to newegg in terms of having EVERYTHING (PC/Server/Electronic related) under one roof. But I think I will build my whitebox soon. :D

    If someone can point me to something just as good, but better on price, I'd definitely wouldn't mind knowing.
  • TheShadowTheShadow Posts: 1,057Member ■■■■■■□□□□
    Newegg.com
    Mwave.com
    Frys.com
    Tigerdirect.com

    In no particular order. Frys has store fronts also so on the west coast they get a lot of business for sales that are not on their e-store. Tigerdirect the same if you are in Chicagoland. All four compete with each other on price so I check all four if it is a large purchase. Ebay when all else fails.
    Who knows what evil lurks in the heart of technology?... The Shadow DO
  • erpadminerpadmin Posts: 4,165Member
    Hyper-Me wrote: »
    If you are building a Hyper-V box you only need to be worried about a handful of things.

    1. Hardware Assisted Virtualization (HAV) - Must have it on processor and mobo
    2. Data Execution Prevention (Hardware based DEP), sometimes called Execute Disable Bit. Must be supported on Mobo/CPU
    3. 64-bit processor
    4. Stay away from add-on graphics cards. Don't ask me why, they just tend to screw with Server 2008 and Hyper-V.


    Based on this advice and ultimatewhitebox, I'm leaning toward a build consisting of a Intel Core 2 Duo E8500 Wolfdale 3.16GHz LGA 775 65W Dual-Core Processor Model BX80570E8500 on this motherboard Intel BOXDQ45CB LGA 775 Intel Q45 Micro ATX Intel Motherboard. I will be getting the max amount of RAM (8GB) but I am concerned that hyperthreading is not available on the Processor, but hardware virtualization is. I'm a bit ignorant on CPUs, but PC builds I can do in my sleep. (Not much has changed in 13 years in that regard...other than it's now a whole lot easier...).

    The reason hyperthreading concerns me is because I want to eventually turn a couple of these Virtual Machines into a SQL Server failover cluster and create a practice PeopleSoft environment based on the latest Tool set/MS database (instead of waiting for my sys admin guys to find me a box somewhere...). SQL Server is processor intensive, so I know that hyperthreading is important. Should I focus on getting a Xeon processor/board (spend more money), or will this setup be adequate for a demo environment?

    Any help would be appreciated. I finally have the motivation to create a lab, now that virtualization has matured substantially to the point it is now in some production environments, from some of the shops I have talked to. The machine I'm building should be adequate for building MS cert labs as well as PeopleSoft labs.

    Thanks.
  • earweedearweed Posts: 5,192Member ■■■■■■■■■□
    I've gotta get going on my box. I hadn't been in a hurry due to the cost. I may have to settle with just 4 GB RAM so I can see Hyper-V in action while studying for the 70-643. I already got the CPU/MOBO and box gotta pick up a HD,PS, and RAM to finish it off.
    No longer work in IT. Play around with stuff sometimes still and fix stuff for friends and relatives.
  • DevilsbaneDevilsbane Posts: 4,212Member ■■■■■■■■□□
    earweed wrote: »
    I've gotta get going on my box. I hadn't been in a hurry due to the cost. I may have to settle with just 4 GB RAM so I can see Hyper-V in action while studying for the 70-643. I already got the CPU/MOBO and box gotta pick up a HD,PS, and RAM to finish it off.


    And RAM is always an easy upgrade. The price is generally not too bad either. As long as you aren't purchasing ddr3. That stuff can be quite expensive.
    Decide what to be and go be it.
  • earweedearweed Posts: 5,192Member ■■■■■■■■■□
    I wish I had done this when DDR2 was so cheap a while back.
    No longer work in IT. Play around with stuff sometimes still and fix stuff for friends and relatives.
  • Hyper-MeHyper-Me Posts: 2,059Banned
    erpadmin wrote: »
    Based on this advice and ultimatewhitebox, I'm leaning toward a build consisting of a Intel Core 2 Duo E8500 Wolfdale 3.16GHz LGA 775 65W Dual-Core Processor Model BX80570E8500 on this motherboard Intel BOXDQ45CB LGA 775 Intel Q45 Micro ATX Intel Motherboard. I will be getting the max amount of RAM (8GB) but I am concerned that hyperthreading is not available on the Processor, but hardware virtualization is. I'm a bit ignorant on CPUs, but PC builds I can do in my sleep. (Not much has changed in 13 years in that regard...other than it's now a whole lot easier...).

    The reason hyperthreading concerns me is because I want to eventually turn a couple of these Virtual Machines into a SQL Server failover cluster and create a practice PeopleSoft environment based on the latest Tool set/MS database (instead of waiting for my sys admin guys to find me a box somewhere...). SQL Server is processor intensive, so I know that hyperthreading is important. Should I focus on getting a Xeon processor/board (spend more money), or will this setup be adequate for a demo environment?

    Any help would be appreciated. I finally have the motivation to create a lab, now that virtualization has matured substantially to the point it is now in some production environments, from some of the shops I have talked to. The machine I'm building should be adequate for building MS cert labs as well as PeopleSoft labs.

    Thanks.

    If you will be doing stuff thats gonna eat processor id get at the minimum a Core i5 Quad. I would shoot for a Core i7 Quad with hyperthreading if you can. 4 physical cores and 4 virtual cores.
    I got a fortune cookie that said "Outlook not so good" and I thought to myself "Yeah...but Microsoft sells it anyway."
  • DevilsbaneDevilsbane Posts: 4,212Member ■■■■■■■■□□
    I have the i7 on my laptop. Eats a ton of power, but it is lightning fast. Also cool to see the 8 graphs in task manager lol.
    Decide what to be and go be it.
  • erpadminerpadmin Posts: 4,165Member
    Hyper-Me wrote: »
    If you will be doing stuff thats gonna eat processor id get at the minimum a Core i5 Quad. I would shoot for a Core i7 Quad with hyperthreading if you can. 4 physical cores and 4 virtual cores.


    Done. I just saw the prices for the same i7 CPU (930 vs. 950). No lie, $271 for a .26 Ghz difference. I'm like, really?! I had to do a compare to be sure there was something else, and there was nothing...everything was the same. It was a bad enough I was spending about that much on a CPU, but to spend almost double for a .26 difference? I wouldn't even rant about it, if it weren't for the fact that gamers would spend mommy and daddy's money to make them buy the 950 for a .26 difference, which they're just going to end up overclocking anyway.

    Thanks alot, Hype. I will be going with the 930. The 920 was ~$11 cheaper, but $11 isn't something I'm going to cry about. :)
  • ciscog33kciscog33k Posts: 82Member ■■□□□□□□□□
    shoulda gotten a xeon 5520 :P

    Server boards are expensive but you can put gobs of RAM on them.
  • mathelizemathelize Posts: 66Member ■■□□□□□□□□
    You had better go with i7. I just built one for myself with this spec.
    Rampage 2 extreme board £265
    I7 930 2.88GHZ £204
    12GB Ram £300 Corsair
    1 TB and 500GB Sata HD £90
    850 Watts PSU £35

    The boards comes with 2 gigabit network cards, so it's ready for hyper v. It's lightning fast and doesn't strain the cpu at all. It supports up to 24GB ram.
    Please, avoid SC1435 dell server. It's a piece of shyte.
    In my Lab
    I have access to any cisco equipment I need
  • earweedearweed Posts: 5,192Member ■■■■■■■■■□
    Hopefully my Corei5 will be sufficient for anything I need to do. I'm gonna have to settle for 4GB ram so I can get it built this coming month due to money. I"m gonna put in more RAM later and a couple bigger HD's but 1 1TB will do for now.
    First upgrade after I build will be RAM so I can run as many VMs at once as I need.
    No longer work in IT. Play around with stuff sometimes still and fix stuff for friends and relatives.
  • earweedearweed Posts: 5,192Member ■■■■■■■■■□
    Hyper-Me wrote: »
    If you are building a Hyper-V box you only need to be worried about a handful of things.

    1. Hardware Assisted Virtualization (HAV) - Must have it on processor and mobo
    2. Data Execution Prevention (Hardware based DEP), sometimes called Execute Disable Bit. Must be supported on Mobo/CPU
    3. 64-bit processor
    4. Stay away from add-on graphics cards. Don't ask me why, they just tend to screw with Server 2008 and Hyper-V.
    This article explains it
    Understanding High-End Video Performance Issues with Hyper-V - Virtual PC Guy's WebLog - Site Home - MSDN Blogs
    No longer work in IT. Play around with stuff sometimes still and fix stuff for friends and relatives.
  • ciscog33kciscog33k Posts: 82Member ■■□□□□□□□□
    earweed wrote: »
    Hopefully my Corei5 will be sufficient for anything I need to do. I'm gonna have to settle for 4GB ram so I can get it built this coming month due to money. I"m gonna put in more RAM later and a couple bigger HD's but 1 1TB will do for now.
    First upgrade after I build will be RAM so I can run as many VMs at once as I need.

    You might want to think about having different drives for your VMs. If you're worried about cost, go with smaller cheaper ones. It depends on what you're planning on doing obviously, but I have my VMs spread across 4 drives and it makes a huge difference. The 4 vMs I have that are always on are all on different disks. In particular, I have my WDS and WSUS (same VM) on a raptor so that i can deploy additional VMs and updates without your disk performance going to hell.
  • earweedearweed Posts: 5,192Member ■■■■■■■■■□
    I'm gonna start with the 1 1 TB and 2 smaller drives I have on hand (232GB) as I don't plan to run more than 3 or 4 VM's at once. I'll still be way better offf than I am now having 2 mediocre VMs or 3 raelly sluggish VM's and not being able to use Hyper-V.
    No longer work in IT. Play around with stuff sometimes still and fix stuff for friends and relatives.
  • LunchbocksLunchbocks Senior Member FloridaPosts: 290Member ■■■■□□□□□□
    What motherboard/CPU combo are you using? I have been going through the vmware whitebox hcl, and comparing the results to whats available, and still haven't decided on what to go with. The MB I am looking at now is the Asus M4A785-M with the AMD Athlon II X4 630 Quad Core. Any thoughts?
    Degree: Liberty University - B.S Computer Science (In Progress)
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