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ESX home lab upgrade

My original home lab, three years old now, included two PC's running virtualization software, with Intel core 2 quad CPU's and 8 GB RAM each. While browsing for a replacement, I found Didier's Shuttle SX58J3 review. I researched some alternatives, but decided to go for the SX58J3 as well, fitted with 12 GB RAM and i7-970 CPUs, hexacores with hyperthreading.
  • shallow: depth is critical in my telco rack.
  • reduced height: I might get 4 shuttles in the same space as 2 minitowers earlier. They're actually slightly wider, but not by much.
  • 12 GB per server is 50% more than the old lab (16 GB is supported but slower)
  • the Intel core i7-970 CPU gives 100% more MHz than the old Q6600. They are much more expensive, truth be told. But being Westmere generation, they support vSphere4.1 features like DirectPath I/O and Fault Tolerance.
  • I can re-use the PCIe dual gigabit adapters I had in the old lab.
One real problem so far: in BIOS v100, I couldn't change any setting without rendering the machine unbootable (hanging on "checking NVRAM"). With default settings, I could install Vista and update to BIOS v102. Booting problems were then solved, and the machines now boot ESXi 4.1 from a USB stick.
A minor issue I still have to resolve: putting ESXi in standby mode works, reviving them via Wake-On-LAN doesn't (yet).


Anonymous said…
> reviving them via Wake-On-LAN doesn't (yet).

I've tested it with a simple WoL tool (Fusion WOL) it works fine. Make sure you send the magic packets to the LOM, eventually the first NIC's MAC address.

I haven't tested with DPM so far...


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