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I'm a developer who spends a hefty chunk on VPS servers each month.

I've been contemplating purchasing my own small 1u server unit, paying the $100/month in colo fees for a single unit and running a couple resource-starved VMs on it.

Will ESXi work with a 1u server?

I imagine that the 1u colo package will only give me one IP address so I am having trouble imagining, for example, how my VMs would get their own IPs.

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If the 1U server is on the HCL, I don't see any issue running ESXi. – jscott Apr 10 '12 at 18:21
Anyone care to speak to the downvotes -- how I could I have improved this question? – editor Apr 10 '12 at 18:42
@editor I didn't downvote, but they're probably 1. Server Fault is for SysAdmins (et al) only (FAQ). 2. Any (decent) OS comes with a HCL of some kind, which will tell you exactly what hardware you should put it on. 3. This is borderline a Shopping question, though I don't believe it is. You're colo will know what plans are available concerning IPs; we'd have no idea. Also $100 is a fuzz on the expensive side, so it might come with additional IPs and/or bells and whistles (really can't say for sure). – Chris S Apr 10 '12 at 18:45
Downvotes: This Question does not show any research effort; it is unclear or not useful. You could have improved the question by doing some basic research. Referring to a 1U rack and a 1U server interchangeably isn't great either. – Iain Apr 10 '12 at 18:56
Obviously you will have to use NAT or port forwarding to get to the individual virtualized guests. – Tim Apr 10 '12 at 20:42
up vote 2 down vote accepted

ESXi will work in a 1u form factor without problem from a technical standpoint if it is on the , and you can purchase more public IPs or perform NATs, however, I might consider some alternative solutions for different reasons.

ESXi, without access to shared storage and vcenter is only useful as a partition mechanism.

You are going to increase the single-point-of-failure aspect of the solution - one physical failure could take out a large number of VMs.

There are alternative solutions that may be better for partitioning, depending on the operating system selections in question.

Virtual machines, depending on operating system, may be ram intensive, and 1u servers are generally significantly more ram limited than 2u servers, but you will have to compare that vs. the increased colocation costs of a 2u server.

VMware licensing for vram may mean your solution is inefficient

If you have customers, your SLA with them may have to reflect some of the downside of above.

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Good luck finding a 1U rack. – pfo Apr 10 '12 at 18:46
Updated for comment on the 1u rack :) – Brennan Apr 10 '12 at 18:49

Yes, as long as it's on the HCL. (EDIT: Not entirely true. ESXi will work on non HCL hardware as well. It will not be supported if the hardware isn't on the HCL.)

You could get four hard drives, put two in a RAID 1 pair for the system and two in a RAID 1 pair for your store.

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Great, HCL as in hardware compatibility list? – editor Apr 10 '12 at 18:21
@editor Yep. Plenty of people do just this kind of thing for test environments. Now, if you're going to use this as a paid service... – Wesley Apr 10 '12 at 18:22
I'll add that it doesn't necessarily need to be on the HCL, you can use white boxes that are compatible. BUT they won't support you at all if you have issues. – Bart Silverstrim Apr 10 '12 at 18:33
@BartSilverstrim Well said. In my "SUPPORT ALL THE THINGS!!" furor I forget that can will sometimes do over should. =) – Wesley Apr 10 '12 at 18:36

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