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I would like to get a dedicated server to run VMWare, VirtualBox, or similar.

On this box, I would like to host 3-4 virtual instances of Linux, to act as nodes in a web farm.

Performance is not that important, this would only be for testing and experimenting. I need something sub $1000 (including tax/shipping).

Can someone recommend a pre-built server that would do the trick? I am pretty ignorant of hardware so building one is not going to work for me.

Also, would I need multiple network cards to simulate a web farm or can the virtualization software handle that for me.


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closed as too localized by Mark Henderson Jun 27 '11 at 21:48

This question is unlikely to help any future visitors; it is only relevant to a small geographic area, a specific moment in time, or an extraordinarily narrow situation that is not generally applicable to the worldwide audience of the internet. For help making this question more broadly applicable, visit the help center.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

Closing for two reasons - 1. Too Localised (only relevant to a very small moment in time) and 2. It's a shopping question – Mark Henderson Jun 27 '11 at 21:48
up vote 2 down vote accepted

The virtualization software will handle the network situation for you. Each VM can have a virtual NIC that connects to a virtual switch created by the platform that is then assigned to a single NIC in your server. I would recommend that you have two NICs in the server - one for administration and the second dedicated to VMs.

As for the hardware, running 3-4 VMs assuming you assign a single processor to each and 1-2GB of RAM means you can get by with a pretty small box. Pretty much any off the shelf PC can handle this meaning your price point of a grand is easily done. Seriously, spec out a PC with at least 4GB of RAM from Dell or your favorite PC vendor and you've got a perfect solution. If for some reason you strongly feel the box needs to be server class hardware, I'll let someone else offer some suggestions as I don't know much up about cheap servers.

Note though that where I work, all of us geeks have a sandbox of some sort that we use to run up to 10 VMs each for similar kinds of testing. We just use standard Dell PCs for this with a 1TB external USB drive. Because we're only testing configuration and don't care about load testing, we build most of the VMs with just a bit of RAM - 1GB max. The only thing we've done differently is cranked up the RAM on the box to 4GB. Works great.

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Say I get an off-the-shelf PC from Dell -- What sort of processor should I get, or is it fine to select the cheapest available? – frankadelic Feb 28 '10 at 19:38
You'll be surprised how many VMs you can run on a single CPU box like this before you notice real performance degradation - assuming you don't try loading any of these servers. If you just use this setup for configuration/functionality testing, you'll be just fine with the cheapest available. Myself, I'd go for something in the middle CPUwise (try to find the sweet spot where you're getting something in the middle without paying a ton). – icky3000 Mar 1 '10 at 8:22

VMware offers ESXi for free, which is a nice virutalization package that should do you nicely. It does get to be a little specific with hardware, though you can check this list for whitebox PC/servers and components that people have tested to work fine with it (Dell boxes are on there):

I've never used other virtualization software (such as VirtualBox) so I can't speak for those, but you may need to have an additional Windows install if they expect an OS (such as VMware Server, which runs on Windows). Just something else to consider.

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