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Johnm

Pocket Sized ESXi box!

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OK so ESXi is cool right?

Well now it is is a little cooler!

 

Us uber geeks at work have had an ESXi 5.0 mini-ITX server on a testbench for the last few months running our lab servers.

We have been running an Intel DQ67EPB3 Mini ITX board with an I7-2600, 16GB RAM and 2x 240GB SSD's for datastores.

 

The performance is crazy fast...

It feels about on par with our other test ESXi box (Supermicro MBD-X8DTH-iF-O, Xeon E5530 CPU (2.4 Ghz) 48GB RAM). The biggest hurt is the ram limit of 16GB (good enough for home servers).

 

Well, yesterday they released a hack driver for ESXi5 for the Intel 82579LM driver.. now we can pull the PCIe NIC out and put the cover back on our box.

(still not 100% stable driver)

 

I guess some guy over at [H]ard whipped up a similar box.. Sexy!!

2KXyFh.jpg

 

Check the rest of the pictures at

 


 

I would totally recommend this build setup for a home (non-storage) inexpensive ESXi setup.

 

Intel I5-2xxx (any I5-2xxx series chip except the K. the T or S are good options, I recommend the S. the I7 is a bit overkill but you can use it with the newer rev of the board.)

Intel DQ67EP Motherboard

8GB-16GB of DDR3-1066 or 1333

1 SSD or 7200RPM Drive for Datastore. (a second drive might be in order)

Small ITX Case.

Total under $400 plus hard drives and case.

I did not include the case or drives in price because there are to many options and everyone has different needs.

To build it as pictured, about $650 with Antec case, SSD and 16GB of ram.

 


 

if you WANT to use it for unRAID on ESXi, it will support VT-d

 

You can add an HBA for an 8 drive unRAID box.

You can add a SAS expander to make it a 24 drive unRAID box

(larger case required.. obviously ::))

 

 

 

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Nice indeed.

 

I like my job but I wish I got a chance to mess with hardware like this more often.

 

I would love to set something like this up in a utility room and move all my computers to basically being dumb terminals.  VMWare has a product like this I believe but the name is alluding me right now and I am to lazy to search.

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Makes me want to build one too!

 

As far as dumb terminals. I've been using a viewsonic airpanel for years.

http://hk.viewsonic.com/en/products/airpanel/index15.php

 

I'm hoping that the new motorola Lapdock's with webtop will include RDP in them soon.

I'm so jonesing to upgrade my droid with a lapdock 500 model

Those viewsonic panels are pretty nifty looking.

 

If I could virtualize everything and use one of these babies (or something similar) to remote in I would be a happy man.  Carrying around a 10-15 in lightweight device would be so very nice instead of the laptop I use currently.

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It's not a perfect solution. It comes with all the baggage RDP has.

Such as limited video or audio streaming ability. Although the 15" unit is neat, it's not a lightweight solution either.

The 10" is neat. I also have the 10" model that has a mini OS and browser with it. WIndows CE.

It barely displays unRAID 4.x, but it does give you the ability to present very basic html without a host.

 

If I were doing it today, I would pick nice sized android tablet.

 

Perhaps the asus Transformer. (I have the archos 101).

I'm still waiting for the lapdock 500 to appear.

I plan to put that in the living room and dock my phone on that instead of the current dock.

Then I'll have full access to the phone and remote control of many different environments.

 

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Nice indeed.

 

I like my job but I wish I got a chance to mess with hardware like this more often.

 

I would love to set something like this up in a utility room and move all my computers to basically being dumb terminals.  VMWare has a product like this I believe but the name is alluding me right now and I am to lazy to search.

 

I think you are thinking of PC over IP (or PCoIP) with vmware view. It is similar to ESX  with the major difference that it is a pushed desktop to a terminal over a transport layer. the bonus is full video and audio.

Very cool stuff, it is just not cheap.. I'll stick to ESXi for now.

 

personally i am still running a citrix server for hosted apps and i hardly use it anymore.

 

 

If I could virtualize everything and use one of these babies (or something similar) to remote in I would be a happy man.  Carrying around a 10-15 in lightweight device would be so very nice instead of the laptop I use currently.

 

I am waiting for a windows tablet the size of an ipad with the power of an i3 or i5.

 

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I am waiting for a windows tablet the size of an ipad with the power of an i3 or i5.

 

Almost there,  http://www.asus.com/Eee/Eee_Pad/Eee_Slate_EP121/

Personally I was disappointed with this models evolution.

Early designs were the same as the transformer only a windows 7 platform.

It ended up changing to a slate and dock solution. It's nice, but I wanted the transformer in a pc solution.

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Yep. i have played with the slate.

It is a tad heavy and the 3 hour battery time is just not long enough yet..

 

give it a year or two. tablets are the future.

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VMWare view was exactly what I was thinking of.  We had moved a lot of our "desktops" to view when I was working of Ohio State.

 

It was a nice solution and mad it easier for us in IT.

 

The ESXi route is fine for me right now.  I have a HTPC if I need to watch video or the like.  I would mainly use this setup as a centralized computer station that I could access from a tablet type device that I can move around the house with.

 

 

I think I need a bigger utility room in my house...

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Yep. i have played with the slate.

It is a tad heavy and the 3 hour battery time is just not long enough yet..

 

give it a year or two. tablets are the future.

 

Funny you say that. Tablets have been around for years.

I think Apple made it vogue with a touch screen interface.

 

I've had a convertible notebook (Fujitsu T4210) for years.

Now I'm considering the Dell XT2 or XT3 or a Lenovo X220i.

 

But I'm really looking for a convertible windows machine like the transformer.

Slate tablet when I needed, laptop docked when I need it.

 

I had a Toshiba Tecra M4 on a really cool dock that worked well until the laptop overheated and died.

Looked like a slate mounted terminal on a dock with a 14" screen. It was great. to walk away, I undocked and carried the session with me.

 

In any case with all the solutions out there. a thin lightweight tablet Remote desktop solution would be great for the mini itx esxi host in the OP.  This all made me want to build one even more now.

 

How does the vmware view work?

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Yes, we have had "tablet" style laptops for a while at work.

I am talking about an i pad with embedded win OS. One that is ounces, not pounds and 8+ hours battery life..

a true iPad clone. I guess my iPad spoiled me.

 

ugh i keep drooling over that SFF ESXi box..

 

I don't need it. but i want it.. heck, it would make a nice desktop.

 

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ugh i keep drooling over that SFF ESXi box..

I got as far as building a shopping cart and wishlist on newegg.

LOL... you too...

 

darn it all for having to fix/update house stuff and not being able to spend all my extra income on computer hardware.

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Thanks for the link.

 

I have updated my ESXi server with the drive and all is good. Great to have my NIC back as it was pissing me off having a NIC i could not use.

 

Craig

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Hey John, sorry to dredge up an old thread.... but how did you setup the BIOS on the DQ67EP MB to boot the ESXi USB drive? I built a similar setup (i7, DQ67EP, 16GB RAM, SSD) but am having trouble getting ESXi to boot on reboot. If I hit F10 to pull up the boot menu, I can manually select my USB drive then ESXi launches. However, if I set USB drives to boot first in the BIOS I get an error saying that no bootable device was detected.

 

Could you share your configuration?

 

Thanks!!!

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OK so ESXi is cool right?

Well now it is is a little cooler!

 

Us uber geeks at work have had an ESXi 5.0 mini-ITX server on a testbench for the last few months running our lab servers.

We have been running an Intel DQ67EPB3 Mini ITX board with an I7-2600, 16GB RAM and 2x 240GB SSD's for datastores.

 

The performance is crazy fast...

It feels about on par with our other test ESXi box (Supermicro MBD-X8DTH-iF-O, Xeon E5530 CPU (2.4 Ghz) 48GB RAM). The biggest hurt is the ram limit of 16GB (good enough for home servers).

 

Well, yesterday they released a hack driver for ESXi5 android tablet for the Intel 82579LM driver.. now we can pull the PCIe NIC out and put the cover back on our box.

(still not 100% stable driver)

 

I guess some guy over at [H]ard whipped up a similar box.. Sexy!!

2KXyFh.jpg

 

Check the rest of the pictures at

 


 

I would totally recommend this build setup for a home (non-storage) inexpensive ESXi setup.

 

Intel I5-2xxx (any I5-2xxx series chip except the K. the T or S are good options, I recommend the S. the I7 is a bit overkill but you can use it with the newer rev of the board.)

Intel DQ67EP Motherboard

8GB-16GB of DDR3-1066 or 1333

1 SSD or 7200RPM Drive for Datastore. (a second drive might be in order)

Small ITX Case.

Total under $400 plus hard drives and case.

I did not include the case or drives in price because there are to many options and everyone has different needs.

To build it as pictured, about $650 with Antec case, SSD and 16GB of ram.

 


 

if you WANT to use it for unRAID on ESXi, it will support VT-d

 

You can add an HBA for an 8 drive unRAID box.

You can add a SAS expander to make it a 24 drive unRAID box

(larger case required.. obviously ::))

 

I want to have ESXi so that my pc wont hang up everytime im using it. I like to have also for my MAC.

 

jamessharpfun

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