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New build advice needed for a VM / Docker system


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I am looking at building a server specifically to run VMs / Docker containers. This is not to be a media server or storage / backup host.


I want to be able to create multiple VMs / Docker containers - Linux (Debian, CentOS, OEL, RedHat), Solaris, Windows. Inside these I want to create various databases (MySQL, Oracle, SQL Server, Postgres, MongoDB).


The idea is for me to do training on these (I am a DBA), so I want to be able to spin up several at once and do things like backup / recovery, data migration, data replication etc.

For example, start a CentOS docker container running Oracle, start a Windows VM running SQL Server and perform data migration tests between them, or start 2 containers and test replication.


Looking through the forum I see that some MBs are better at virtualisation than others, and that I suspect I need to load up with RAM.


Storage and CPU should not be an issue with regards to what I pick, there will be relatively little data, but I am mainly asking for advice on the best MB and what I need to consider around the networking side.


I'd probably want to start with 32MB RAM but be able to expand to 64MB, and I'd want good networking throughput and the ability to have at least 2 network cards. Graphics power is not needed because it is not to be a media / gaming rig.


I have a budget of $2500.


Advice appreciated, thanks.

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I would look into an Intel socket 2011 board, a six or eight core Xeon and then some SSD's for the VM's and you should be set. How may vm's in total do you see yourself with and how many do you see using at the same time? This will ultimately determine how many cores your CPU should have and how much RAM you should have.

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For that, an i3 with 16GB is more than enough.


But, really for what you're doing I'd look at ESXI - not only will you be learning about databases etc, you'll get a good grounding with ESXI.  


Any off-the-shelf small server is ideal, like the Dell T20, Fujitsu TX1310M1, Lenovo TS140, HP ML10, etc.  Most have custom ESXI installer ISOs available with the drivers all installed, and ESXI is still free for personal use.

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