What would you recommend?

You may have noticed that I haven't posted any updates on the home network lately. I decided to halt my current plans and take another path. As a result I am looking for a "super server" of sorts. On that will  virtualize most of the loads I need to run and also be expandable for many years going forward. I posted a similar request to some internal aliases and received some good advice and suggestions. I would like to open it up a little thogh so I am posting the request here as well.

The goal is to virtualize 6-10 of the PC's that run in the basement to one machine, then use SCVMM and DPM to manage and backup. I should note that some of the workloads are pretty insignificant but I will be moving two DC's, an Exchange server, a SQL Server, and a Web Server into the VM environment. SQL is not heavily used but Exchange and the Web server are (I host about 30 domains).

My thoughts are to get a machine that will be used for a number of years (I have PC's that are 10+ years old that I am going to decommission). My thoughts are to get a machine with the following minimums --

Dual Quad Core CPU's

16+ gigs of RAM

onboard SATA RAID

eSATA port

SCSI is an option but I would prefer to stick with SATA

on board Gigabit Ethernet (required and preferably two ports)

I am quite comfortable building my own systems so I welcome suggestions on specific MoBo's or even complete server systems. Price is a consideration but the system is going to be pricey no matter what so I am keeping an open mind.

What do you suggest?



Comments (6)

  1. ye110wbeard says:

    I am not going to knock Dell, they make some good stuff.  Maybe a nice package deal in a 1U or 2U pizza box?

    But if you prefer to built it (Sometimes more fun I think!) I’d opt for a Real Intel board from Intel.  I think the trick is the 16+, that bumps up the base price a bit.   If you find a good supplier, Intel has a "next day shipping" return policy with authorized suppliers.

    Make sure whatever system that has the eSata is hot pluggable.  Not all are.  You find out the hard way when you remove the drive live and the O/S freezes on you.  Not a nice surprise… 🙁

    Surprised the heck out of me, I used to hot plug IDE’s all the time in a pinch when stuck in a jam.

    Try to opt for SAS over SATA, If I remember right isn’t that the benefits of SCSI (Sector sparing, SCSI inside) with the ability to downgrade to SATA if you had to?



    (BTW, I’m happy on 8 gig with Hyper-V, so more ram = MORE FUN)


  2. ye110wbeard says:

    Oooo! oooo!

    If price is no object, (I mean it is but)

    Howzabout 64 8 Core servers with 512 gig ram each linked up in HPC mode with External SAS Raid 50 arrays?!

    Buah ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!!!

  3. Chris E. Avis says:

    I think I am going to stick with SATA for my disk solution. I am going to sacrifice the speed for a cheaper price per gig in this case. Alsom for what I require, that sacrifice will be nominal. I am in more need of space that speed in my case.


  4. Anonymous says:

    I have spent the better part of today building out a temporary Hyper-V server. It is sort of a proof

  5. ye110wbeard says:

    So *sniff sniff* You’re NOT going to run the *sniff sniff* Server 2008 in HPC mode?

    But you could ask your nice Uncle Steve for a few servers.    And it would look so nice next to the TV set. 🙂

  6. Chris E. Avis says:

    No HPC for me just yet. If this proof of concept Hyper-V project keeps going this well though I just might have to modify to a more redundant setup and HPC might come into play then.


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