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choosing hardware for an ESX testlab

When you're shopping for ESX servers to build your next production cluster, you know where to look. The hardware compatibility lists at are frequently updated, and contain everything you need to know. But what about test labs ? When you don't care too much about "is it supported" but rather ask yourself "does it work" and "can I buy something cheaper" ?

I asked myself the same questions when I built my own testlab. And this was my choice: 2 identical PCs, equipped with
  • MSI MS7345 motherboard
  • Q6600 intel CPU
  • 8 GB of RAM (four times 2 GB)
  • PCI Promise SATA 300 TX2plus
  • 80 GB sata harddrive (smallest I could get)
  • a dual port Intel gigabit card
Add a third PC, similar but with more diskspace, running CentOS 5 with IET as an iSCSI server, and you get a 19 GHz, 16 GB VI3 cluster with several hundred GB storage space. Perfect for testing, and without losing an arm and a leg paying for them.


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