My ESXi Whitebox
Now that I have the LAN almost 100% virtual, I thought I would put a little post together on my ESXi 4.1 whitebox. Most of you won’t care, but ESXi whitebox info is kinda hard to come by, so maybe someone on google will find this useful someday. First, the VM Load. I’m currently running 7 VMs.
Boomer ubuntu 10.04 utility box that lives in my DMZ
Hybrid pfSense firewall with 4 physical NICs and 1 virtual attached
GLaDOS OpenFiler NAS with 3 2TB drives setup for raw sata access
Vault ubuntu 10.10 server with 3 1TB drives setup for raw sata access for backups of GLaDOS
Serenity XP VM that I use when I’m oncall
Sleven Windows 7 that I use for nefarious deeds
DC1 Windows 2008 Server setup as a DC to experiment with.
The ESXi server itself (Jane, Ender fan anyone?) is a quad core Xeon X3220 with 16 gigs of DDR3 RAM on a gigabyte motherboard that has an ICH10 chipset allowing for local SATA storage. I’ve had to add in an additional SIL3114 SATA 1 PCI controller to support the additional drives that are attached to the vault. SATA 1 drive performance hasn’t really been an issue since backups are mostly occurring over a WAN link anyhow. I was given an Intel quad port gigabit PCIEx4 adapter, so that’s my primary NIC and then I have a few old Intel dual 10/100 cards installed just in case. The server itself boots off of a USB thumbdrive and everything is stored in a 4U case with 7 Kingwin trayless racks holding the drives in place. Here are the actual parts I’m using
GIGABYTE GA-P43T-ES3G motherboard
Intel X3220 Quad core Xeon CPU
GSkill RipJaws DDR3 1333 4GB DIMMS x 4 (16GB)
Seagate 2TB SATA drive x3
Seagate 1TB SATA Drive x3
Vantec 6 port SATA II 150 PCI SATA card
Intel EXPI9404PTG2L20 quad port ethernet adapter (freebie)
Intel Dual port 10/100 ethernet adapter (junk parts store)
Kingwin SATA hotswap rack x7
generic 4U 7 5.25 bay rack mount enclosure
The whole system was put together piece by piece over time, but if I had to buy it all again, I would anticipate around $900 if you had no parts at all. My CPU load is almost always below 25% and RAM is around 50%. The amazing part though is that this setup has replaced at least 7 physical machines and very likely more around 10 when you figure in the “I want to try out solaris again” whims. I literally have a 7 foot rack in my basement that has a single server in it. Looks kinda sad really. I have only 1 upgrade planned for the year and that is to replace the USB boot drive with an SSD that I have, but otherwise this server is setup to carry my needs for a good long time.