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I need to get visualization development machine where I will have a bunch of linux virtual machines that are not resource hungry. I expect that I would have around 10-15 virtual machines with 2-4 G RAM each. In total I expect that I would need to put more than 32G RAM for all machines. I am planning to put VMware 5 ESXi on Dell PowerEdge machine.

My question would be: what would be the cheapest license that I would need to buy in order to support 64G RAM on server (everything but memory for me is good in free version).

Second question: what Dell machine should suffice? So far I only have experience with PowerEdge R710, but it seems like overkill for this. 3x300G SAS disks should be enough.

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closed as off topic by John Gardeniers, Iain Aug 24 '12 at 10:58

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This is off topic for multiple reasons. To learn why please read the FAQ. – John Gardeniers Aug 24 '12 at 9:26
Buy a VMWare Essentials Kit. – ewwhite Aug 24 '12 at 10:58
The following information is relevant…,… – Iain Aug 24 '12 at 11:00
up vote 0 down vote accepted

I was not aware that ESXi has a limit, but looks like it based on a few googles. You can purchase a vSphere Essentials Kit for ~£500 and it should cover your requirements. (2 sockets, + up a lot more than 64 GBs of memory).

In terms of whether the machine is sufficient, that is impossible to tell. You should,

  1. Measure CPU utilisations & particularly look for peaks on your target VMs
  2. Check IOPs, even if the 3 SAS disks are in RAID 0 (bad idea for resiliency, one bust disk = all 15 VMs down), you're giving about 300-600 IOPs max (7200 or 15K disks) for 15 VMs.

As with any consolidation project, unless you do the performance metric numbers, you can't really know if it will be successful.

I would personally (if budget is a premium),

  1. Use KVM where I don't have to spend $800 on a license
  2. Find hardware that has 16 RAM slots (easier upgrade of cheaper memory sticks).
  3. Try my best to put the VMs on an NFS server (and then only one or two disks for ESXi, maybe even none with USB ESXi), and fall back to local disk with a resilient RAID setup if I cannot get the NFS server.
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