Server vs VM

SeedlessOneSeedlessOne Registered Users Posts: 3 ■□□□□□□□□□
Okay need some advice. I need to get my MCSA and MCSE server 2012 for work. I'm thinking of setting up a lab at home. Right now I've got a decent i5 box, 16gb, 1tb hard drive etc. I've also got quite a few random old desktops I can put to use as workstations.

So that leaves me with a few options.

Should I beef up the i5 box with more strange, ssd, ram and then run my
lab all VM.

Or should I get a full blown server? Maybe a Dell c6100. I don't mind dropping the cash if ill get more learning/experience going this route over VMs.

Please discuss and I'm all ears for options. Thanks a bunch.


  • dbrinkdbrink Member Posts: 180
    You should be able to run a decent lab with your current box.
    Currently Reading: Learn Python The Hard Way
  • EssendonEssendon Member Posts: 4,546 ■■■■■■■■■■
    Yep, the i5 machine will get you by. The disk may be a bottleneck if you run too many VM's at once, so grab an SSD or two and you'll do just fine. No need to buy a server.
    NSX, NSX, more NSX..

    Blog >>
  • SeedlessOneSeedlessOne Registered Users Posts: 3 ■□□□□□□□□□
    Essendon wrote: »
    Yep, the i5 machine will get you by. The disk may be a bottleneck if you run too many VM's at once, so grab an SSD or two and you'll do just fine. No need to buy a server.

    Thanks for the help guys.
    So you are thinking a couple of ssd. What size would up shoot for? Should I add any more regular hard drives for storage or work solely off the ssd. Should I consider more ram?
  • srabieesrabiee Member Posts: 1,231 ■■■■■■■□□□
    Don't get too ahead of yourself. Go ahead and set up your virtualized environment, and then go from there. If you find that you need more RAM (doubtful), SSD drives, etc, then you can add them later. You may find that your VMs run fine and you don't need anything extra at all. Ideally you want to spend as little extra money as possible to get this to work. Your goal is to simply set up a functional study/lab environment.
    WGU Progress: Master of Science - Information Technology Management (Start Date: February 1, 2015)
    Completed: LYT2, TFT2, JIT2, MCT2, LZT2, SJT2 (17 CU's)
    Required: FXT2, MAT2, MBT2, C391, C392 (13 CU's)

    Bachelor of Science - Information Technology Network Design & Management (WGU - Completed August 2014)
  • EssendonEssendon Member Posts: 4,546 ■■■■■■■■■■
    srabiee is right, if you dont experience a performance impact then just go with what you have. Going by the system you have, the bottleneck will be the single disk (that's if there's a bottleneck).

    There are tons of threads about labs, do some google-fu and that alone will teach you a fair bit.
    NSX, NSX, more NSX..

    Blog >>
  • cyberguyprcyberguypr Senior Member Mod Posts: 6,926 Mod
    Welcome aboard.

    I've seen performance in home labs being brought up as an issue since I started with virtualization. Earlier in my career I didn't have much cash for toys so I had to run really demanding labs on tiny/cheap/underpowered machines. Only problem I ever experienced was relative slowness. Don't forget that after initial setup you can have some VMs running with really limited resources while still being fully functional. Plus, you can power on and off VMs as needed for a specific lab without sucking resources.

    On the whole server vs. workstation issue, let's say I have servers in my lab only because I got them for free from work. I rather spend money on a smaller, powerful, yet power efficient machine. I can't think of any major advantage the server would provide. You can have really complex and powerful desktop based setups.
  • SeedlessOneSeedlessOne Registered Users Posts: 3 ■□□□□□□□□□
    Okay we'll after some thinking... I was going to just add some things to my current workstation but I was in need of a Nas as well. So with that, I think it would be better to knock out two birds with one stone. So I've backed my budget back down and I'm now looking at the gen8 microserver from hp or a dell c1100 from eBay. This server will need to do a few things for me. It will need to serve as my home nas and have at least 4tb of storage. It will also need to serve as my lab server. I could either run more VM workstations from the server or I could run the WM workstations from my current workstation. Make sense? Thanks for the input
Sign In or Register to comment.