Suggestions for a Silent Vmware 6.5 Server

Info & chat about quiet prebuilt, small form factor and barebones systems, people's experiences with vendors thereof, etc.

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king_yoshi
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Suggestions for a Silent Vmware 6.5 Server

Post by king_yoshi » Thu Nov 09, 2017 7:45 am

I am looking for a good, silent, home server that can run Vmware 6.5 24/7.
I currently have an old Supermicro 1U Server X7DBU 2x Xeon L5420 2.5ghz Quad Core 32gb server.
The thing is a jet engine. I currently wear PELTOR H10A Optime 105 Over-the-Head Earmuffs when working with it and cannot let it run when I am not home due to the noise.

It needs to have at least 32 gigs of RAM and have a processor that can handle running multiple Windows Server VMs at the same time.
I am using it to set up a at-home network lab so I can study for the VMWare VCP-DCV, Microsoft Windows Server 2012/2016, and CCNA certifications.

I will then connect it to the internet so that I can access it on the road.

Any and all suggestions are greatly appreciated.

CA_Steve
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Re: Suggestions for a Silent Vmware 6.5 Server

Post by CA_Steve » Thu Nov 09, 2017 8:15 am

Welcome to SPCR.

I'm not a VMWare guy, so I can't speak to the specs required to run your system - but you can. With a Task Manager window open, what CPU and RAM loads are you seeing with your heaviest use case? Just for comparision, an i5-8400 has a CPU Mark score of 11400 vs a single Xeon L5420 is 3500.

Will you be running Linux as the base OS with VMWare on top? Or Windows as the base OS?
1080p Gaming build: i5-4670K, Mugen 4, Asrock Z97 Anniversary, MSI GTX 1660 Gaming X, 8GB 1866 RAM, Samsung 860 Evo 500GB, Crucial MX100 256GB, WD Red 2TB, Samsung DVD burner, Fractal Define R4, Antec True Quiet 140 (2 front + rear) case fans, Seasonic SSR-550FX. 35W idle, 45-55W video streaming, 170-200W WoW, 318W stress test (Prime95 + Furmark)

king_yoshi
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Re: Suggestions for a Silent Vmware 6.5 Server

Post by king_yoshi » Thu Nov 09, 2017 8:49 am

I'm not a VMWare guy, so I can't speak to the specs required to run your system - but you can
This is a bit important since vmware cannot run on just any server hardware.
I would have to make sure that any suggestions meet their requirements.
With a Task Manager window open, what CPU and RAM loads are you seeing with your heaviest use case?
At the moment, if I am running 3x windows server VMs and 2x windows 7 VMs in ESXI. Altogether about 28 Gigs of ram is used and the CPUs combined load varies from 70-80%. Again, this is if I am really pushing it.
Will you be running Linux as the base OS with VMWare on top? Or Windows as the base OS?
I will be running the ESXI 6.5 hypervisor as my operating system.
Then within ESXI I will be running the VMs I previously mentioned. (Windows server 2012/2016, Windows 7, etc.)

So the stack looks a bit like this: The server hardware -> ESXI hypervisor -> Various server OSes / Windows OSes / Linux OSes etc.

Thanks again for your help and assitance.

CA_Steve
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Re: Suggestions for a Silent Vmware 6.5 Server

Post by CA_Steve » Thu Nov 09, 2017 11:07 am

Ok, this is definately well out of my wheelhouse. :) While I have friends that run VMWare on standard consumer level motherboards and CPUs, the compatibility guide doesn't show any modern consumer side CPUs....just Opteron and Xeons....and some fairly old consumer side CPUs.

Hopefully, someone else can step up and provide CPU/mobo recommendations. Overall, you'll want to move away from the 1U form cator and into an ATX or uATX case for better thermal/noise performance. Do you have a budget?
1080p Gaming build: i5-4670K, Mugen 4, Asrock Z97 Anniversary, MSI GTX 1660 Gaming X, 8GB 1866 RAM, Samsung 860 Evo 500GB, Crucial MX100 256GB, WD Red 2TB, Samsung DVD burner, Fractal Define R4, Antec True Quiet 140 (2 front + rear) case fans, Seasonic SSR-550FX. 35W idle, 45-55W video streaming, 170-200W WoW, 318W stress test (Prime95 + Furmark)

king_yoshi
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Re: Suggestions for a Silent Vmware 6.5 Server

Post by king_yoshi » Thu Nov 09, 2017 11:44 am

CA_Steve wrote:Ok, this is definately well out of my wheelhouse. :) While I have friends that run VMWare on standard consumer level motherboards and CPUs, the compatibility guide doesn't show any modern consumer side CPUs....just Opteron and Xeons....and some fairly old consumer side CPUs.

Hopefully, someone else can step up and provide CPU/mobo recommendations. Overall, you'll want to move away from the 1U form cator and into an ATX or uATX case for better thermal/noise performance. Do you have a budget?
I purchased the aforementioned server for about $100 used.

I was looking for something around the $300-$400 range at most.
I am open to buying used/second hand if need be.

awolfe63
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Re: Suggestions for a Silent Vmware 6.5 Server

Post by awolfe63 » Thu Nov 09, 2017 11:53 am

You are going to have to find something used and well-depreciated. 32GB of DDR4 RAM is $300+ - especially server RAM.

As a new machine you are talking $2K.

Also - rack mount are almost all noisy - especially 1U.

king_yoshi
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Re: Suggestions for a Silent Vmware 6.5 Server

Post by king_yoshi » Thu Nov 09, 2017 12:25 pm

awolfe63 wrote:You are going to have to find something used and well-depreciated. 32GB of DDR4 RAM is $300+ - especially server RAM.

As a new machine you are talking $2K.
I would not be buying a new server for 2k. :) This defeats the purpose of a home lab.

Home labs are suppose to be low cost for learning and testing.
New servers are generally for production environments.
awolfe63 wrote:Also - rack mount are almost all noisy - especially 1U.
I am looking at any and all options. Therefore I have no problem if it isn't rack-mounted.

Vicotnik
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Re: Suggestions for a Silent Vmware 6.5 Server

Post by Vicotnik » Thu Nov 09, 2017 12:51 pm

The Xeon L5420 is a 50W TDP part, two of those should not be that hard to cool. I have no experience with rack mounted stuff but if the performance is good maybe some modification of the cooling system would be the cheapest solution.
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CA_Steve
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Re: Suggestions for a Silent Vmware 6.5 Server

Post by CA_Steve » Thu Nov 09, 2017 3:35 pm

$300. heh. Yep, you are now firmly in the land of modify-this-setup. You have a couple of hurdles:
- this motherboard's form factor is proprietary and is 12" x 13". If you could even find a tower case it could physically fit into, the standoff/mounting holes would be off. Which leads to building your own case - or just frankensteining the current case (removing the top...or making a new top to fit whatever cpu coolers you jam in there.
- The CPUs are Socket 771...which have the same cooler mounting dimensions as Socket 775. Need two that fit / won't conflict.
- Need to pull the plug on the 1U case fans.
- The (most likely noisy) PSU will also be custom...and probably won't have std ATX connector for the motherboard.
1080p Gaming build: i5-4670K, Mugen 4, Asrock Z97 Anniversary, MSI GTX 1660 Gaming X, 8GB 1866 RAM, Samsung 860 Evo 500GB, Crucial MX100 256GB, WD Red 2TB, Samsung DVD burner, Fractal Define R4, Antec True Quiet 140 (2 front + rear) case fans, Seasonic SSR-550FX. 35W idle, 45-55W video streaming, 170-200W WoW, 318W stress test (Prime95 + Furmark)

CA_Steve
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Re: Suggestions for a Silent Vmware 6.5 Server

Post by CA_Steve » Thu Nov 09, 2017 7:43 pm

Something else to consider given the age of the server...maybe it's full of dust and crud causing the normally high and loud rpm fans to run even higher.
1080p Gaming build: i5-4670K, Mugen 4, Asrock Z97 Anniversary, MSI GTX 1660 Gaming X, 8GB 1866 RAM, Samsung 860 Evo 500GB, Crucial MX100 256GB, WD Red 2TB, Samsung DVD burner, Fractal Define R4, Antec True Quiet 140 (2 front + rear) case fans, Seasonic SSR-550FX. 35W idle, 45-55W video streaming, 170-200W WoW, 318W stress test (Prime95 + Furmark)

CapNemo72
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Re: Suggestions for a Silent Vmware 6.5 Server

Post by CapNemo72 » Mon Jan 08, 2018 4:02 am

Hi,
Did you found your server?

I had the same problem and I went for Dell T20 Xeon based barebone server. Mine came with 4Gb RAM and 1Tb HD. Price was somewhere 300USD.
In the meantime, I replaced 4Gb to 32Gb and added 4 * 4Gb WD Red HDisks.

It is a capable server and most importantly quiet. Not for the silent living room (you can hear the hum of the fan), but if there is a conversation, you can't really hear it. It is less noisy than my Asustor 104 NAS unit.

Otherwise, you can build your own probably. Cooling is important here, so bigger cooler and bigger fan mean less need for the fan to run at high speeds, ergo quieter.

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