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Will it run well, without any compatibility problems?

Maybe I should stick with normal Windows Server Standard 2008?


ps details added:

I already have an esxi 4.1 running great... I was just asking if I should choose R2 or not in this situation.

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up vote 3 down vote accepted

The HP ProLiant ML350 G6 appears on the VMWare hardware compatibility list at this entry and this entry.

You shouldn't have any problems installing, but I'd like to know about the storage solution. Will you run your drives in a RAID? Do you have a battery-backed cache unit on your RAID controller? Having one will make a tremendous difference on the performance of ESXi if you're using local disks.

According to the Quickspecs for that model:, all versions have a Smart Array P410 RAID controller, but some models are sold with either 256MB of read cache (no BBWC) or zero-memory. If your model is one of those, you'll want a BBWC upgrade kit like Part #462967-B21.

Also see: Incredble low disk performance on HP DL385 G7

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ewwhite has covered the hardware side of things nicely in their answer.

I'll just add that ESX 4.1 supports Windows 2008r2 just fine (earlier ESX systems probably do too, I just don't keep track of systems I no longer run). We run Windows 2008r2 standard and enterprise on ESX ourselves and we have had no problems at all, in fact it runs very nicely.

This is confirmed in the VMWare Guest OS Guide here but I've included the revelant extract below:

Windows Server 2008 R2 You can install the Windows Server 2008 R2 in a virtual machine using the Windows Server 2008 R2  distribution CD. Before you begin, verify that the following tasks are complete:

  • Read “General Installation Instructions for All VMware Products” on page
  • Create and configure a new virtual machine. 
  • Virtual machine. 512MB or more of RAM.
  • Host computer. 512MB or more of RAM.

The hard drive for the virtual machine must be 32GB or larger. See Microsoft recommendations:‐requirements.aspx. 

Installation Steps

  1. Insert the Windows Server 2008 R2 CD in the CD‐ROM drive.
  2. Power on the virtual machine to start installing Windows Server 2008 R2.
  3. Follow the prompts to complete the installation.
  4. Install VMware Tools.
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Versions prior to 4.1 didn't properly support the 2008 video drivers, resulting in poor mouse performance when using MKS on 2008 guests. I think that was the biggest issue, but not a show-stopper. – Chris Thorpe Feb 1 '11 at 20:11
@Chris Thorpe - that's right, i remember now. We simply didn't install that part of the tools at all and used RDP to remote admin those servers instead of the vcentre console. – RobM Feb 1 '11 at 20:15

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