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I'd like to buy this guy: DL 380 G7,

it's coming with 24 GB

q1) what should be the best way to upgrade the memory to utilize the best performance? Right now it has 6 slots occupied with 4 GB modules. Is it possible to add a new 8GB module to this config or should it be always in pairs of the same type (again from best practice point of view)?

q2) I want to establish vmware esxi on it and put the following VMs on it

  1. development VM (PHP/MySQL) development - 2 GB
  2. VM production hosting of PHP 5.0 sites - 6GB
  3. VM production hosting of PHP 5.3 sites - 6GB
  4. VM production hosting of ASP.NET sites (couple, low traffic) - 6 GB
  5. mercurial repositories (source control) - 2 GB

I don't have two much load from production VMs, approximate traffic per month on all these 3 VMs is planned at around 200-300GB with 20-30k of visitors across all sites deployed in these VMs

anything you will suggest to make system more robust - from configuration point of view, memory, cpu?

Later on, I'd like to shift to VMWARE Essential Kit plus with HAvailability, but right now I do have only 10-14K Budget and can't get 3 servers within this price + VMWARE license (3900)

I thought more about potential alternative and here is what I found:

If I buy 2 servers with HDDs I still be within the budget. But this gives me ability to distribute the VMs accross 2 different physical servers (still not managed through vCenter and no HA), but my thinking is that later on when I need a 3rd machine - I'll buy a Essential Kit Plus, that has HA and basic vCenter license.

What do you think about this option/idea?

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Please edit this to only ask a single question. This isn't a discussion forum, it is a Q&A site, so it is actually encouraged to make multiple posts if you have multiple questions. – MDMarra Jan 23 '11 at 5:18

I know that machine and ESXi very well and you'll be fine with 24GB for now for two reasons;

  1. That machine has two CPUs, each CPU has three memory channels, for best performance you need to fill each socket on each channel evenly with the same memory. If you need to upgrade in the future simply buy 6 x 4GB modules again, they're cheaper than 8GB ones and will perform great.
  2. You've only got 22GB of memory allocated to your VMs, not only will your VMs not use all of this memory but ESXi will dedupe and compress the memory anyway - you'll be just fine.

As for resilience, well you've picked a good and well-spec'ed machine, are running the leading hypervisor - the next step would be to buy a second server, licences and vCenter to enable HA/DRS but that's not going to be cheap so why not see how you get on for now and keep an eye out for budget opportunities.

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Got to agree with this - we use Dell servers and run VMWare Vsphere enterprise but we run hosts with a much higher load than this in 24Gb without too many problems. We have just upgraded to 32gb per host, but this was to give us more 'head room' for future expansion, not because of what was there already. Dmitry, you should be off to a great start with this setup. – RobM Jan 23 '11 at 20:59
another little tidbit i believe when using 6 core cpus that your RAM goes in triplets, and you can probably get away with a 1U server. – SpacemanSpiff Jan 24 '11 at 3:27
actually SpacemanSpiff (I can't believe I just typed that) - it's nothing to do with cores but the integrated MMU implemented since the Nehalem chips and mostly comes down to a balance between performance and space-management on systemboards. If you only have 2 channels per CPU it will limit your performance, if you have 4 or more such as on larger multi-CPU servers - well they're much bigger - 3 is a nice compromise right now - lets you get 384GB on a blade for instance, while the x75/7600-series can have much more memory by using 2/4/8/16 etc slots. – Chopper3 Jan 24 '11 at 11:15

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