Do you need a home server for doing vSphere5 testing?  I couldn’t find anything that suited my budged and performance expectations in the HCL of VMware, so I decided to build my own white box to run vSphere on it.

I just want to share my configuration, it took me quite a lot of time checking between different configurations and motherboard features. This configuration works for me, it has been working fine for the last 3 months, and I am very happy of it!

  • Asus P8B WS LGA115 Mainboard:  181,89€

ATX Mainboard with chipset C206. Socket 1155, it supports i7 / i5 processors.

This chipset has 2 integrated Gigabit Network adapters. Both of them working fine on vSphere5, detected as Intel Corporation 82574L Gigabit Network Connection.

RAID controller is not working, but you can see the discs and use them if they are not in RAID. The device is shown as Cougar Point 6 port SATA AHCI Controller.

This Motherboard has 4 memory slots DDR3 and can handle up to 32G of RAM.

It supports VT-d and VT-x.

  • Kingston PC3-10600 Memory 8GB 1333 MHz, 240 DDR3-RAM 2x4GB: 42,88€ x 2

I bought two of them. They come as a pack of 2 x 4GB , so I installed 16G of RAM. 4 Modules of 4G.  All my slots are full.

  • Intel Quad Core Processor (Intel Core i5-2500, 3,3GHz, 6MB Cache):   185,89€

I was thinking to get an i7, instead, which has bigger Cache and Hyperthreading,  but it’s inot worth it. My CPU is almost always idle. I’ve never seen my box running more than 50% of CPU, I have 10VM’s running at the same time. So, good choice here.

  • OCZ 600MXSP ModXStream Pro 600 Watt Power Supply:  70,85€

I needed a silent power supply, cos the server is in my dining room… this one is silent, and modular. No much mess insde the box.

  • Sharkoon T5  ATX Midi Tower:  44,07€

It’s just an ATX  case, with a blue fancy led that it is disconnected. It’s quite big but maybe I will be adding discs shortly.

  • OCZ Technology VTX3-25SAT3-120G Vertex 3  SSD Drive: 129,90€

I wanted to try SSD drives. Honestly, I never know when I use it or not. Need to make some tests and maybe I remove it and I put it in my laptop. Not worth getting one .

  • Samsung Spinpoint F3 HD103SJ 1TB  (7200RPM, 32MB Cache) Hard Drive:  97,70€

1TB Hard Drive, to get my isos and vmdk’s. I don’t have any RAID, it is just a testing server. It is fast, but a litlle bit noisy.

  •  An old USB Pen Drive of 4G:  0€

I’ve installed vSphere5 in this old USB drive. It boots from USB, it reads the image and it  put it everything in memory. So you safe few Gigs from your Hard Drives.

 

I took almost everything from Amazon.es and the two hard drives were bought from  Amazon.de (they were cheper, there). All together was less than 800€!! It was my first computer assembling, but it was quite easy. Instructions of the motherboard were pretty handy and everything was up and running in a couple of hours.

So this is my configuration of my VMware vSphere5 “whitebox” for all my testing scenarios, and this is how Virtual Center shows it  (not much CPU usage):

The network cards (both integrated NICs are recognized by vSphere):

The motherboard has 6 port SATA Contollers, so you can present up to 6 different Local Hard Drives to the host, but you can’t use the RAID feature in the BIOS of ASUS:

I hope this post, saves some time to people that want to get a cheap whitebox server for VMware vSphere training.

 

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