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Looking for somthing to run esxi

Newfoundland.Republic

Senior Member
Joined
Jul 2, 2019
Messages
512
@Elliot Dierksen - Good point. The HPs I bought had the advanced iLO licenses but if you don't have the advanced license the utility is, well, limited.
 

jgreco

Resident Grinch
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May 29, 2011
Messages
13,189
That falls squarely into the "just because you can, doesn't mean you should" category.
Depends on the purpose.

ARM has been trying to beat its way into the data center for compute for some years, now. Years ago, Intel was on top because of Microsoft Windows workloads, so virtualization was focused in part on trying to create a Windows-friendly environment. Windows licensing, however, is rather onerous and unfriendly in the data center, and there's been a trend towards building on Linux or FreeBSD. In many cases, a software stack that would compile on I386 or AMD64 will compile and run just fine on ARM as well. In fact, if you don't have Windows workloads or things that actually require Intel architecture, there is the potential to avoid the Intel CPU tax and the need to support all sorts of legacy architectural stuff, which is still a problem that AMD and its Intel-style architectures face.

ARM has been propelled by the mobile device market to generate high performance, low power designs that are rather different from Intel's designs. One aspect of server design that has happened over the last 25 years is that it is easier to build distributed designs, so that you do not need to build a monster single point of failure server to handle all your processing. Some of us have been doing this longer than others; one of my reasons for running 386BSD back in the day was that PC hardware was cheap, even if sometimes unreliable, and running two PC's was still cheaper than running a single Sun server. Redundant array of inexpensive servers ("RAIS").

One of the problems in the data center is that it is generally inefficient to size bare metal hosts to workloads, and many workloads run relatively idle a large part of the time. Virtualization has been very successful at creating isolated spaces for workloads on shared compute.

Most of the infrastructure VM's I build are built on FreeBSD, and the vast majority of them run on 256MB with one or two cores. You don't need more than that for many tasks. Basic OSPF routers, NAT gateways, DHCP servers, NTP servers, basic Web servers, MTA/MX hosts, SSH gateways, DNS servers, NFS servers, server load balancers, and VPN servers all generally work fine as small footprint virtual machines.

So an 8GB Raspberry Pi is probably not good for a heavy environment that needs lots of big VM's running, but it is fine as a demo environment, and it could probably do very well at hosting general network services for a small home network. What will be more exciting is if some larger hypervisor-optimized platforms become available at a reasonable cost.
 

Jailer

Not strong, but bad
Joined
Sep 12, 2014
Messages
4,516
I'm curious to see how or if Apple's new ARM based products will affect the landscape. Usually all it takes is one big player to jump in the game that has the resources available to make their product work. Apple definitely fits that bill. That and ARM has made significant strides in the last few years from a performance standpoint.

I never considered the distributed computing model when I posted my comment. It wouldn't be the first time a cheap computing source has been used for a distributed computing proof of concept project so I guess it does make some sense from that standpoint.
 

jgreco

Resident Grinch
Moderator
Joined
May 29, 2011
Messages
13,189
I'm curious to see how or if Apple's new ARM based products will affect the landscape. Usually all it takes is one big player to jump in the game that has the resources available to make their product work. Apple definitely fits that bill. That and ARM has made significant strides in the last few years from a performance standpoint.
Some Apple fanbois have put forth the theory that Apple having a native ARM platform available for developers will encourage ARM on the server end of things. There's probably some truth there somewhere because there are a crapton of open source projects out there with various Linux-isms or AMD64-isms or GCC-isms. Back in the good old days ('80's-90's) most software was pretty good about being able to compile on a wide variety of platforms. Linux and X64 has not been healthy for an entire generation of coders who were also sadly disadvantaged by the "DevOps" mentality which emphasized "get it working quickly" more than "design and code it correctly."
 

jgreco

Resident Grinch
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Joined
May 29, 2011
Messages
13,189
Oh and it looks like the FreeBSD 13 aarch64 ISO installer (the sensible way to install FreeBSD on ARM on ESXi) is working on the 20201112 build again. Yay, more shiny things..
 

rvassar

Neophyte Sage
Joined
May 2, 2018
Messages
595
I have to confess, I do have a Raspberry Pi addiction, courtesy of the electricity prices out in California during the 20 months I spent out there in '13 - '15. I have run various house services on RPi2's, 3's & 4's. The RPi 2's are too slow for pretty much everything these days. On a 3, you can get away with custom DHCP, DNS, NTP, even a small MySQL DB, etc... I did run a VPN for a while, but it's performance was lackluster on the RPi3, and the RPi 4's overheat and seem to have stability problems.

It's hard to beat an ESXi box for adaptability, so I'm back to that. My RPi's are now becoming a Kubernetes experiment. The big hangup I have with ESXi is memory. Much like TrueNAS/FreeNAS, it wants memory, and there's this discontinuity at 32Gb on the cheap used hardware.
 

Newfoundland.Republic

Senior Member
Joined
Jul 2, 2019
Messages
512
I'd check on eBay. I purchased my HP DL360p Gen8 with 2 x E5-2650 2.0Ghz 8-Core Xeon processors, 128 GB RAM, 4 x 300 GB 15K HD and dual power supplies for CDN$800. No, not cheap but it will last for 5 or more years.
 

Jailer

Not strong, but bad
Joined
Sep 12, 2014
Messages
4,516
Just a quick update in case anyone cares. I ended up purchasing the components listed in this post for my build. It's up and running and I'm playing around with it here and there. I really liked the server that @Mlovelace posted here but in the end price and IPMI were the deciding factors. I've not yet been able to get GPU pass through working as some others have but I'll play with it more to see if I can get anywhere with it. Either way I'm having fun with it and learning a few things along the way and that was the intended purpose of it.
 
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