New Lab Server (2016)
This article will show you what I used to build my new lab server with 24 cores (two physical CPU each with 12 cores) and 256 GB RAM!
As I wanted something more powerful I decided to create my own hardware list.
This is probably going to be one of the most powerful lab servers that you have come across (when I wrote this article on the 16th of May 2016). My "Data Centers in a Box" server as I like to call it myself is a machine with two physical processors each consisting of 12 cores giving me a total of 24 cores and a total of 256 GB of RAM to play with.
I know! pure awesomeness right?
Here is the part list:
|1 x Mainboard (EATX)||SuperMicro X10DRD-i|
|2 x CPU||Intel® Xeon® Processor E5-2650 v4|
|1 x Power (ATX)||Corsair AX860 ATX Power Supply|
|2 x CPU cooler||Noctua NH-U9DX i4, CPU-cooler|
|1 x Case (EATX)||Nanoxia Deep Silence 2 Dark Black|
|8 x Memory||Samsung 32GB DDR4 2133MHz 32GB DDR4 2133MHz ECC memory module|
|1 x SATA3 Cable||Akasa SATA3-50-BK SATA-cable|
|1 x Internal HD (SATA3)||Samsung 850 EVO 1000GB|
Putting it together
After spending a huge amount of money, because the processors and memory was not really cheap I needed to put it together... It had been more then 10 years ago that I build my own PC / Server out of loose components so it looked easy but I had do some additional youtube-ing + google-ing to eventually get there ...
Issue 1 (Case)
One of the issues that I encountered was that I initially bought the wrong case as my case was an "ATX" case and the mainboard was an "EATX" mainboard... I returned my old case and bought a new one that was for EATX sized mainboards...
Issue 2 (Cooler)
I initially bought a cooler (the be quiet! Dark Rock 3) but apparently there are two different CPU socket form factors of LGA 2011.
The be quiet! Dark Rock 3 did not had the mounts for LGA 2011 Narrow-ILM and guess what I needed to have? Yes the LGA 2011 Narrow-ILM mounts so I ended up buying the Noctua NH-U9DX i4.
Issue 3 (CPU / RAM)
Another issue that I had was that I initially ordered one physical CPU with 12 cores and I wanted to use this together with my 256 GB RAM. But after the first power-on the server only detected 128GB of RAM. So after asking the question (and doing some proper reading) it appeared that the mainboard was set up to use 4 memory banks per CPU. I had 8 banks filled up with 32 GB RAM in each and 4 banks where not used because I only had one CPU. I ended up buying an additional (expensive) CPU with another 12 cores...
Making an USB bootable flashdrive with ESX 6
Vladan has an pretty useful post on how to create a bootable ESX 6 USB drive, but this is based on creating it on a Windows machine. As I am a Mac user I found this procedure that explains how to create a bootable ESX 6 USB drive using OS X. A detailed procedure how I created the boot disk can be found here.
I will be using an existing QNAP NAS system that I already had (6 x 4 TB disks in RAID5) to store the (nested) virtual machines that I will be using in my lab.
TBD (pictures will be added soon)