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not sure if hardware questions are the go on here or not, but here goes anyway.

I have just picked up an old intel SC5200 rack chassis with an intel SE750CW2 motherboard and dual Xeon processors. It was cheep, due to its age I guess.

My intention was to use it to get a handle on server hardware (only been using desktop stuff in anger until now) and to try and setup some virtual machines on it to have a play.

Now, I discovered early on that its only a 32 bit system and doesn't have any virtual layer in hardware (my bad).. and I should have checked the specs a bit more (not that there were any in the auction) before putting my money down as neither ESXi nor Zen will work on it (atleast current versions).

I tried the 32 bit version of ESXi but found that it doesn't like the scsi controllers (LSI something.. don't have that detail at my finger tips).. but anyway, I can see the array in a normal linux, but not in the ESXi install.

So.... my question is.. can I put a different mother board into the chassis? I'm thinking that I should be able to pick up either a desktop MB or perhaps a different server MB to drop in and hopefully get it all happening with some more modern hardware.

I'm not sure about the drive bays or the front panel buttons however, these look to me like potential problems.

Thanks in advance.


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up vote 2 down vote accepted

Not exactly answering your question, but maybe addressing your issue.

You can still play around with some virtualisation without needing Intel-VT nor AMD-V capabilities. For example, I am happily running a number of virtual servers on a VIA Eden 400MHz processor only. It all depends on what you need to do.

If you have a decent processor, you can try running it under QEMU, which gives you near native performance with its kernel accelerator module. QEMU is able to virtualise multiple hardware architectures and also full systems with different hardware configurations.

Another alternative for older machines is to use light-weight virtualisation such as Solaris Zones, BSD Jails or Linux with OpenVZ/VServer technology. These will happily run even on my old hardware and will still afford you an environment to experiment with virtualisation on a lesser scale.

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If you can get Windows installed on it (2000, XP, 2003, Vista) you can install VMware Server on it. It installs as an "application", it's free, and it will allow you to create VMware VM's of all types.

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