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I'm picking up the following old server from geeks for a satellite office:

  • Two (2) Intel Xeon E5430 2.66 GHz quad-core processors
  • 16 GB DDR2 PC2-5300 Fully Buffered (FB DIMM) SDRAM
  • 12 MB L2 cache, 1333 MHz FSB speed
  • Intel 5000X chipset
  • Four (4) 1 TB (Terabyte) SATA 3.5-inch hard drives
  • Dell PERC5/i integrated SAS/SATA daughter card w/256 MB cache
  • Six (6) 3.5-inch hard drive bays (four occupied)
  • Two (2) 750-watt power supplies

The server will need to function as a domain controller and a very small file server. More than anything it's kind of a beachhead in case this location grows.

I'm only a very part time syadmin, so my initial idea was this:

Configure 4 1TB disks in a RAID 10 with two LUN's (one small and one big). Install Server 2008 R2 + Hyper V role to smaller LUN. Configure one VM (the domain controller/file server), using the second LUN as datastore.

The thinking behind virtualization:

  • Flexibility - I like being able to shift my important servers from system to system if necessary.
  • Snapshotting/backup features
  • Room for future growth

Concerns/Questions

  • Disk being a bottleneck, especially if I want to add VM's. Possible solutions: ** 1x sata disk dedicated to hypervisor os (bad I know) + raid5 for datastore (also bad I know).. just cheap.

    ** 2 RAID 1 arrays.. this drives me crazy though because it feels like I'm wasting 2 disks for host os. Free though.

    ** Adding 2x small, fast SATA drives configured in RAID-1 for the hypervisor, with the 4x 1 TB drives configured RAID 10 as dedicated VM datastore. ** It says the card supports both SAS and SATA. Can I just drop in SAS disks? If so how much difference would dropping in old 10k SAS disks be likely to make?

  • Server 2008 R2 vs Vmware ESXi. I'm going with full server 2008 r2 (not core) for the hpyervisor, because this is a remote location and I can install LabTech and my remote access solution. Also I'm most familiar with server 2008.

    ** Assuming this turns up having a DRAC is there anyway to safely configure remote access to it from any location? I could just poke a hole through the firewall but that seems unwise..

    ** What kind of remote management options are there (if any) for vmware ESXi? What about Server 2008 R2 core running hyper v?

** If I do go ESXi, can I use The Perc 5/i with SATA disks?

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I've voted to close this and I just wanted to leave you a comment to let you know why. You seem to be in the exploratory stage of all of this. Because of this, your questions are extremely broad, which isn't really a good fit for this type of site (outlined in the faq). I think what you should do it install Hyper-V and ESXi on test machines, use them, benchmark them, and then you'll have a feel for what meets your needs. Then, when you have specific issues, come back and ask! Questions that amount to "Can you be my Systems Architect, please" are just way too broad to be addressed here. –  MDMarra Jul 27 '12 at 17:07
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closed as not a real question by MDMarra, SpacemanSpiff, Tim Brigham, Ward, Michael Hampton Aug 7 '12 at 22:49

It's difficult to tell what is being asked here. This question is ambiguous, vague, incomplete, overly broad, or rhetorical and cannot be reasonably answered in its current form. For help clarifying this question so that it can be reopened, visit the help center.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

1 Answer

Even though I've voted to close this, I'll try and address some of your larger concerns broadly.


Disk being a bottleneck, especially if I want to add VM's. Possible solutions: ** 1x sata disk dedicated to hypervisor os (bad I know) + raid5 for datastore (also bad I know).. just cheap.

** 2 RAID 1 arrays.. this drives me crazy though because it feels like I'm wasting 2 disks for host os. Free though.

Don't bother. If you want to, just run ESXi off of a USB flash disk or internal SD card if the 2950 supports that.


Can I just drop in SAS disks? If so how much difference would dropping in old 10k SAS disks be likely to make?

Old 10k SAS disks will outperform modern SATA disks on pretty much every task, but you should still benchmark and profile your own workload, everyone's needs are different.


Server 2008 R2 vs Vmware ESXi. I'm going with full server 2008 r2 (not core) for the hpyervisor, because this is a remote location and I can install LabTech and my remote access solution. Also I'm most familiar with server 2008.

** Assuming this turns up having a DRAC is there anyway to safely configure remote access to it from any location? I could just poke a hole through the firewall but that seems unwise..

** What kind of remote management options are there (if any) for vmware ESXi? What about Server 2008 R2 core running hyper v?

Generally speaking, DRACs/iLOs/whatever are placed on a separate management network. Those are isolated via VLAN or even VPN at a remote site. I'd set up a VPN to your remote site if you don't already have one, and just make a policy that allows your VPN profile to reach the DRAC.

ESXi is designed to be managed remotely. There is very little that you can do from a local console. You use the vSphere Client for this.

Server Core can be reached via RDP or remote management consoles, just like any other Windows server.


** If I do go ESXi, can I use The Perc 5/i with SATA disks?

Yes, but it wouldn't hurt you to call Dell about compatibility.

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