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Dell's R210-II as vSphere home lab server

My VI3 and vSphere4 home lab consisted of whitebox PCs. For VI3 I used MSI based nonames, for vSphere4 I used Shuttle SX58j3. For the new vSphere5 generation, I wanted some real server hardware. Because of shallow depth requirements, the choice of rackmount servers was limited. I picked the Dell Poweredge R210II instead of the sx58j3 because
- on the vSphere HCL (the sx58j3's won't boot vSphere5 RC !)
- Sandy Bridge low TDP CPUs available (I got the E3-1270)
- onboard dual BCM5716 nics support iSCSI offload (aka "dependent HW iSCSI")
- IPMI built-in (not tested yet)
- dense: 1U (the sx58j3 is about 4 units, but can fit 2 in 19")
- one free PCIe slot (The sx58j3 has 2 slots, but needs a VGA card)
- not incredibly expensive (up to 16GB RAM)
Downsides:
- only one free PCIe slot (max GbE nics needs expensive quadport card)
- incredibly expensive (with 32GB RAM it's 3x the price of a 16GB config)
- can't buy without at least one disk. I'll be running from USB sticks.

Comments

Brian said…
Hi! I found your post about using ESXi on a R210-II. Did you get this to work? I tried loading it this morning and it seems to have a hard time recognizing the drive config.

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