What is the smallest most powerful server I can use for my virtualization lab?

nice343nice343 Member Posts: 391
I'm looking for a reliable, small yet powerful server which is less noisy.

I plan on doing some virtualization labs on there and maybe run a maximum of about 5 VM's for testing.

Space is an issue for me.... that's why I want to know if anyone has experience with small servers which can do that kind of stuff.
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Comments

  • gc8dc95gc8dc95 Member Posts: 206 ■■□□□□□□□□
    It will be hard to find an "actual server" that will be small and quiet since the fans are usually very loud, especially in smaller cases. If you are only looking to run about 5VM's I would do a Small Form Factor Desktop with i5, 16gb Ram, and a SSD. I run my laptop with a similar setup on VMware workstation and have no problem running more than 5 VM's, of course these are not working at high intensity.
  • Asif DaslAsif Dasl Member Posts: 2,116 ■■■■■■■■□□
    Do you need a server or a desktop? How much RAM do you need?

    If 16 GB of RAM is enough then I would say the new Gigabyte Brix Pro would work as a "server", it's the most powerful SFF/NUC type computer available - it's got a top of the range i7-4770R processor & room for an SSD and a mSATA SSD. You need to add the cost of RAM and a SSD to the above link.

    If you needed more than 16 GB of RAM then I would look at the Shuttle SZ77R5 (LGA1155 CPU) or a Shuttle SZ87R6 (LGA1150 CPU) - they have room for two 4xPCIe slots which you could use with quad port NICs for a GNS3 lab (if you wanted to do that). You could dual boot it with VMware and linux/windows for GNS3. You need to add the cost of a CPU, 32GB RAM & hard disk to the above link.

    I agree with gc8dc95 that if you are looking for a real server that's small that you will find it difficult to find one that is also quite.
  • antielvisantielvis Member Posts: 285 ■■■□□□□□□□
    I've heard Mac Mini's can run ESXi.
  • cyberguyprcyberguypr Senior Member Mod Posts: 6,915 Mod
    I vouch for the Shuttle devices. My sh67h3 runs my whole nested vSphere lab and has been rock solid. Silent and zero issues.
  • nice343nice343 Member Posts: 391
    Nice I will be looking at Shuttle servers then.
    My daily blog about IT and tech stuff
    http://techintuition.com/
  • tpatt100tpatt100 Member Posts: 2,991 ■■■■■■■■■□
    I used a Shuttle SH67h3 as well with ESXI 5.5 and it worked pretty well. The update killed support for the NIC so I had to look up how to manually do it but it did work before. I replaced the fan in it because mine was whining a bit but it's very quiet.

    Since I hardly used it.... and only used VMs on my laptop and desktop I put a video card in it and use it for Steam Big Picture on my living room TV now.
  • jibbajabbajibbajabba Member Posts: 4,317 ■■■■■■■■□□
    HP Microserver are pretty darn good and cheap. Sometimes HP gives even cashback, making it even cheaper.
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  • gorebrushgorebrush Member Posts: 2,741
    The Microserver's are nice but they aren't *the* most powerful boxes. All depends what you are expecting to do with it - it'll run a few VM's just fine that aren't doing heavy loads though.

    I found mine a bit underpowered and I went and built a 4U server in the end, cost a few hundred pounds but it'll do anything I ask it now.
  • jibbajabbajibbajabba Member Posts: 4,317 ■■■■■■■■□□
    You basically get what you pay for. It depends what you intend to do with the lab. If you just want to study for an exam or run a POC - Microservers are great - if you want to use it as an actual lab with proper work load then yes, they are underpowered.

    I started my lab with 5 Microservers and had to upgrade myself .. New home lab is all Supermicro

    My own knowledge base made public: http://open902.com :p
  • maliasmalias Member Posts: 14 ■□□□□□□□□□
    Does a 1U server count as small? I myself have 2x dell C1100 servers. Each have dual quad core procs, 72GB of RAM and 2x gig nics. I picked them up on ebay for about $450 a piece including shipping. They are quiet...so long as you can keep the room temperature in the low 60's. I've noticed that once it gets over 67 or so in my apartment, the fans ramp up constantly to 10k RPM over and over. Then it is annoyingly loud. But otherwise, two of these were great for the cost and works great with ESXi (after some network driver insertion into the image). You are more limited on RAID options, but the price for 72GB of RAM was too hard to pass up for me. I originally used a SAN style setup with the synology for both servers, but as I've been messing with the Nexus 1000V and needed both uplinks one of of the servers, I threw in 4x 250gb disks in a jbod setup-not like I'm running SQL servers here or anything really I/O intensive.

    lab.jpg 90.3K
  • CerebroCerebro Member Posts: 108
    malias wrote: »
    Does a 1U server count as small? I myself have 2x dell C1100 servers. Each have dual quad core procs, 72GB of RAM and 2x gig nics. I picked them up on ebay for about $450 a piece including shipping. They are quiet...so long as you can keep the room temperature in the low 60's. I've noticed that once it gets over 67 or so in my apartment, the fans ramp up constantly to 10k RPM over and over. Then it is annoyingly loud. But otherwise, two of these were great for the cost and works great with ESXi (after some network driver insertion into the image). You are more limited on RAID options, but the price for 72GB of RAM was too hard to pass up for me. I originally used a SAN style setup with the synology for both servers, but as I've been messing with the Nexus 1000V and needed both uplinks one of of the servers, I threw in 4x 250gb disks in a jbod setup-not like I'm running SQL servers here or anything really I/O intensive.

    That is a very nice lab *drools*
    2014 goals: ICND2[]

  • tpatt100tpatt100 Member Posts: 2,991 ■■■■■■■■■□
    Yeah I need to move some stuff into the basement so the home office looks more presentable, just have to run some ethernet lines down there.
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