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  • Need suggestions for a used server for home use

    Hi all, this is my first post here and I need help with choosing server hardware.

    I am looking to buy a used server for home use so i can create a virtualized environment of windows server and exchange to practice for microsoft exams. I also want to get familiar with server hardware as i have no experience with it. I plan to use VmWare Esxi and install multiple Windows 2008 VMs on it.

    I am confused about the server types and i will appreciate if someone can help me with a few questions about server hardware.

    There are IBM, Dell and HP servers available in my local market for reasonable price.
    Should the processor be dual or quad core or more to have a reasonable performance with lets say 5 VMs on Esxi? What difference does it make to have a raid controller? Do I need a KVM switch or can I just plug keyboard, Mouse and monitor into server ports to make it work with VMware Esxi? I suppose DDR2 RAM will be good enough?

    I am particularly interested in these 3 IBM servers that are lower in price compared to similar Dell and HP servers:
    1.) IBM x3400 Tower server

    2.) IBM System x3650 M2 server

    3.) IBM SYSTEM X3950

    Which ones would you recommend?

    Thanks in advance for any help.


    Last edited by oakland; 13th June 2015, 10:32.

  • #2
    Do you really need a full blown server?

    I'd personally look at VMware Workstation and beef up your current system with more RAM and disks.

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    • #3
      What is your budget?
      For training, RAM is the main issue, although operationally drive speed (IOPS) is as important
      Tom Jones
      MCT, MCSE (2000:Security & 2003), MCSA:Security & Messaging, MCDBA, MCDST, MCITP(EA, EMA, SA, EDA, ES, CS), MCTS, MCP, Sec+
      PhD, MSc, FIAP, MIITT
      IT Trainer / Consultant
      Ossian Ltd
      Scotland

      ** Remember to give credit where credit is due and leave reputation points where appropriate **

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      • #4
        Originally posted by wullieb1 View Post
        Do you really need a full blown server?

        I'd personally look at VMware Workstation and beef up your current system with more RAM and disks.

        yes Will. As i want to learn about server hardware and building arrays I would prefer a used basic server over a desktop. I don't have a desktop at the moment so i will have to buy a new one which will cost around $1000 in nz.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Ossian View Post
          What is your budget?
          For training, RAM is the main issue, although operationally drive speed (IOPS) is as important
          Hi Ossain, my budget is $500-$1000 and there are a few IBM servers available on the links i have posted above. The RAMs on these servers is 24 - 32GB, I suppose it will be enough.

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          • #6
            I would think 32Gb is ample - all Microsoft Offical Courses run in 32Gb or less (although the way they are "improving" them, I wonder how long this will last!
            Tom Jones
            MCT, MCSE (2000:Security & 2003), MCSA:Security & Messaging, MCDBA, MCDST, MCITP(EA, EMA, SA, EDA, ES, CS), MCTS, MCP, Sec+
            PhD, MSc, FIAP, MIITT
            IT Trainer / Consultant
            Ossian Ltd
            Scotland

            ** Remember to give credit where credit is due and leave reputation points where appropriate **

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            • #7
              Make sure the Servers are Virtual capable. I purchased on that needed to run VMs (Hyper-V) and was assured by sales twat it was, promo material from manufacturer said it was but it wasn't quite.

              Also, if you get a dedicated Server, you can have issues with HDDs. I built a desktop in 2010 (i3, upgraded to i7 later, 16GB RAM, max at the time for my budget) and when HDD capacity became an issue I was able to toss in the cheapest 2TB HDD that I could find (thank you WD Green). With a dedicated Serer you may need SCSI or SAS HDDs and that blows the budget.

              Also keep in mind a 2RU is going to have small fans that will be bloody noisy unless you live in Invercargill where the Server may make the summers a bit warmer.
              Last edited by biggles77; 12th June 2015, 15:41.
              1 1 was a racehorse.
              2 2 was 1 2.
              1 1 1 1 race 1 day,
              2 2 1 1 2

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              • #8
                I've got a second-hand HP ML330 I use as a home DC and Hyper-V host. Tower server designed for SOHO use so it's pretty quiet and takes either hotplug or standard SATA disks, so cheap to expand. As previously mentioed, make sure it's virtualisation capable. HDD space, memory and CPU cores can all restrict the number of VMs you can run so work out at least roughly how many VMs you need in advance.
                BSc, MCSA: Server 2008, MCSE, MCSA: Messaging, MCTS
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                Cruachan's Blog

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by cruachan View Post
                  I've got a second-hand HP ML330 I use as a home DC and Hyper-V host. Tower server designed for SOHO use so it's pretty quiet and takes either hotplug or standard SATA disks, so cheap to expand. As previously mentioed, make sure it's virtualisation capable. HDD space, memory and CPU cores can all restrict the number of VMs you can run so work out at least roughly how many VMs you need in advance.
                  Thanks cruachan. Do u know if any of the servers i listed above does not support virtualization.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Servers should by now all support it - you can check for the chip and the original vendor should know on their spec pages. However, get it written from the seller in case of problems.

                    It may need to be enabled in the BIOS
                    Tom Jones
                    MCT, MCSE (2000:Security & 2003), MCSA:Security & Messaging, MCDBA, MCDST, MCITP(EA, EMA, SA, EDA, ES, CS), MCTS, MCP, Sec+
                    PhD, MSc, FIAP, MIITT
                    IT Trainer / Consultant
                    Ossian Ltd
                    Scotland

                    ** Remember to give credit where credit is due and leave reputation points where appropriate **

                    Comment

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