ESXi 5.x Home Lab Server Build with 16 GB and 32 GB of RAM

I have received requests around the configuration of my complete vSphere 5.x Home Lab.  I have been running 2 of these ESXi Servers with 32 GB of RAM each and they run awesome.  As requested, I have included Compute, Storage, Network and Cabling build details below. 

 

My final complete vSphere Home Lab consists of 2 - 2.9 GHz (Quad Core) Processors with 32 GB of RAM Each, Solid State Drive and 7200 RPM Drive NAS Storage Array with a 24 Port Gigabit Network Switch.  The final cost for the entire lab was $3,673.73 (Compute, Storage, Network and Cabling) (Without Tax and Shipping) with a majority of the cost ($2,519.91) for the storage.  The total cost of $3,673.73 may sound a bit expensive but I assure you that it has already paid off.  It amazes me that 2 vSphere 5.x Servers with a combined processor pool of 5.8 GHz with 8 Cores and 64 GB of RAM can be purchased for $943.86.  A lab like this can be created at an even lower cost (1 ESXi Server + NAS + Gigabit Switch) for $600.00 - $800.00.  My configuration is around my requirements for Storage/Server/Network Trunking and Jumbo Frames along with Solid State Drives within a Multifunction/Muti-Protocol 8 Slot NAS.

 

Packing and Shipping – I have received inquiries around being able to pack and ship a configuration like this.  All of my home lab contents can fit into a 24” (Length) x 17” (Width) x 10” (Depth) area.  The details for the shipping container are listed below at the end of this e-mail.

 

Coming Soon: As time allows, I plan to conduct storage performance tests with and without Trunking and Jumbo Frames.  I also plan to install an energy monitor on the main feed to calculate daily watts consumed along with energy costs per day.

 

I have built 2 configurations with the only difference being around 16 GB or 32 GB of RAM.  The AMD 2.9 GHz Quad Core with 16 GB RAM configuration is $391.93 and the AMD 2.9GHz Quad Core with 32 GB RAM configuration is $471.93.  In this particular configuration, the RAM is running at a frequency of 1600 MHz but the AMD Processor is capable of running at a maximum of 1866 MHz.  Mushkin offers RAM at 1866 MHz but it is a bit more expensive.  This is something to consider if you are engineering a solution around maximum possible performance with limited bottlenecks.  These systems run at a very low power consumption rate since they are not utilizing a hard drive or CD\DVD drive in the final configuration.

 

Note: You will need a SATA CD\DVD Drive to install the base ESXi image but it is not needed for day to day operation.

Note: This particular configuration utilizes a AMD Processor but a Intel Processor can be used as well.  My configuration was around cost with the AMD Quad Core Processor at $84.99 and the Intel Quad Core Processor at $300.00+

Note: This particular motherboard is capable of supporting 16 GB Memory Modules for a total of 64 GB.

 

AMD 2.9 GHz Quad Core ESXi 5.0 Server with 16 GB RAM (Boot from 16 GB USB 3.0 Flash Drive) - $391.93

AMD 2.9 GHz Quad Core ESXi 5.0 Server with 32 GB RAM (Boot from 16 GB USB 3.0 Flash Drive) - $471.93

 

1 - IN WIN BL631.300TBL Black Steel MicroATX Slim Case Computer Case 300W Power Supply - $65.99

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811108065

 

1 - ECS A75F-M FM1 AMD A75 (Hudson D3) HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 Micro ATX AMD Motherboard - $79.99

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813135301 

   

Supported CPU

CPU Socket Type: FM1

CPU Type: A4 / A6 / A8 / E2 APU

 

Memory

Number of Memory Slots: 4×240pin

Memory Standard: DDR3 1866 / 1600 / 1066

Maximum Memory Supported: 64GB

Channel Supported: Dual Channel

 

2 x USB 3.0 (Rear Ports)

2 PCI Slots for Low Profile (Micro ATX) Intel PWLA8391GTL Desktop Network Adapters

 

1 - AMD A8-3850 Llano 2.9GHz Socket FM1 100W Quad-Core Desktop APU (CPU + GPU) with DirectX 11 Graphic AMD Radeon HD 6550D AD3850WNGXBOX (With CPU Heat Sink and Fan) $84.99

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819103942

 

1 - Mushkin Enhanced Blackline 32GB (4 x 8GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model 994055 - $159.99

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820226317

  

1 - Mushkin Enhanced Blackline 16GB (4 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model 993995 - $79.99

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820226272

  

2 - Intel PWLA8391GTL Desktop Adapter PRO/1000 GT Low Profile 10/ 100/ 1000Mbps PCI 1 x RJ45 - OEM - $31.99

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16833106122

 

NAS Cost Summary

NAS Array: $1,169.99

SSD (3 Drives): $599.97

7200 RPM (5 Drives): $749.95

NAS Configuration Total: $2,519.91

 

Qnap TS-869 Pro - $1,169.99

http://www.qnap.com/en/index.php?lang=en&sn=822&c=351&sc=513&t=517&n=9789&g=0

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822107081

 

CPU: Intel Atom 2.13GHz Dual-core Processor

DRAM: 3 GB

Hard Drives: 8 x 3.5" or 2.5" SATA 6Gb/s, SATA 3Gb/s hard drive or SSD

Slot 1: 256GB SATA III MLC Solid State Drive - 6Gbps Interface - RAID 5

Slot 2: 256GB SATA III MLC Solid State Drive - 6Gbps Interface - RAID 5

Slot 3: 256GB SATA III MLC Solid State Drive - 6Gbps Interface - RAID 5

Slot 4: 3 TB Seagate Barracuda ST3000DM001 3TB 7200 RPM SATA - 6Gbps Interface - RAID 10

Slot 5: 3 TB Seagate Barracuda ST3000DM001 3TB 7200 RPM SATA - 6Gbps Interface - RAID 10

Slot 6: 3 TB Seagate Barracuda ST3000DM001 3TB 7200 RPM SATA - 6Gbps Interface - RAID 10

Slot 7: 3 TB Seagate Barracuda ST3000DM001 3TB 7200 RPM SATA - 6Gbps Interface - RAID 10

Slot 8: 3 TB Seagate Barracuda ST3000DM001 3TB 7200 RPM SATA - 6Gbps Interface - Global Hot Spare

 

Final Storage Configuration

496 GB RAID 5 SSD Drive Group (496 GB Available and 248 GB Used for Protection)

6 TB RAID 10 7200 SATA Drive Group (6 TB Available and 6 TB Used for Protection)

3 TB Global Hot Spare

 

3 - OCZ Vertex 4 VTX4-25SAT3-256G 2.5" 256GB SATA III MLC Internal Solid State Drive (SSD) - $199.99

http://www.ocztechnology.com/ocz-vertex-4-sata-iii-2-5-ssd.html#overview

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820227792

OCZ Vertex 4 SSD YouTube Video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=0LLzUSF6ZLY

 

Performance

Tested Sustained Sequential Read: 548 MB/s

Tested Sustained Sequential Write: 471 MB/s

Test IOPS Performance: 83,494 combined IOPS

4KB Random Read: Up to 90,000 IOPS

4KB Random Write: Up to 120,000 IOPS

Seek Time: 0.1 ms

Interface: SATA III / 6Gbps (Backwards compatible with SATA II / 3Gbps)

 

5 - Seagate Barracuda ST3000DM001 3TB 7200 RPM SATA 6.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive - $149.99

http://www.seagate.com/internal-hard-drives/desktop-hard-drives/barracuda/?sku=ST3000DM001

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822148844&Tpk=ST3000DM001

 

Cache: 64MB

Average Latency: 4.16ms

Read Seek Average: < 8.5 ms

Write Seek Average: < 9.5 ms

Tested Maximum Throughput: 158 MB/s

 

1 - 24-port Gigabit Web Smart Switch w/ 2 Shared Mini-GBIC slots - TEG-240WS - $201.77

 

http://www.trendnet.com/products/proddetail.asp?status=view&prod=215_TEG-240WS

http://www.buy.com/prod/trendnet-teg-240ws-24-port-gigabit-web-smart-switch/10362056.html

 

24 x 10/100/1000Mbps Auto-MDIX RJ-45 ports

2 x 1000Base-SX/LX Mini-GBIC slots (shared with Gigabit ports 23-24)

48Gbps switching capacity

IEEE 802.3x Full Duplex Flow Control and Back Pressure

Static Port Trunk

IEEE 802.1D Spanning Tree Protocol

IEEE 802.1p QoS

IEEE 802.1X Authentication and SNMP v1 support

Supports port based IEEE 802.1Q VLAN Tag and Asymmetric VLAN

Full Wire-Speed non-blocking reception and transmission

Store and Forward switching method

Front panel diagnostic LEDs

Supports Jumbo Frame packet transfer (max size up to 10Kytes)

Integrated address look-up engine supports up to 8K absolute MAC addresses

Supports 512Kbytes RAM for data buffering

Easy configuration via Web browser

  

7 - 5ft Blue Cat 5E Patch Cable, Molded - $1.17 ($8.19 Total)

http://deepsurplus.com/Network-Structured-Wiring/Ethernet-CAT5e-Patch-Cables-5ft

 

Pelican APP-1630F  Case with Pick & Pluck Polyurethane Foam (For Shipping) - $343.74

Interior Dimensions - 27.70" (Length) x 20.98" (Width) x 15.50" (Depth) (70.3 x 53.3 x 39.4 cm)

http://www.pelican.com/cases_detail.php?Case=1630

http://www.metrocases.com/pelican/1630.htm