About a month ago, I began to look at options for a refresh of my home lab. The equipment I have is almost 3 years old. While it has done a great job as a lab, one of the hosts is now dead and another is starting to fail.
My current lab consist of the following configuration:
- 3 X ASUS P3-P5G33 Intel Core 2 Quad / Core 2 Duo / P4 / Celeron 400 Intel Socket T(LGA775) Intel G33 Intel GMA 3100 Barebone
- 3 X ASUS 22X DVD Burner with LightScribe Black SATA Model DRW-22B1LT LightScribe Support
- 3 X Intel Core2 Quad Q9400 2.66GHz LGA 775 95W Quad-Core Processor BX80580Q9400
- 3 X Seagate Barracuda 7200.12 ST3500418AS 500GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5″ Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive
- 6 X CORSAIR 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 667 (PC2 5300) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model VS4GBKIT667D2 G
-3 X Intel PWLA8391GTL 10/ 100/ 1000Mbps PCI Desktop Adapter PRO/1000 GT Low Profile – OEM
For storage I have an IOMEGA StorCenter ix4-200d
As you can see, the above is not a bad config…but with hosts failing and 8GB RAM per host becoming insufficient for my needs, I thought I’d look at what else is out there. Like any good techy guy, I decided to take a look and get pointers from what others in the VMware community are doing. I ran into a couple of useful blogs from Kendrick Coleman and Didier Pironet who were using the Shuttle PC as part of their labs.
After some further investigation and consideration, I settled on the following configuration for the Shuttle SH67H3.
For those that might want to consider this patform, below is my BOM configuration from NewEgg.com for a single host. I plan to have 2-3 hosts.
I also added an Intel EXPI9402PT Dual Server Adapter from eBay for $99. Shop around you might be able to get a different NIC or similar model for cheaper.
I finally ordered and received all of the components for 1 host. I configured the host to boot ESX from a USB drive. Initially, I had trouble getting ESX to boot as it would PSOD during the boot process. However, I updated the Shuttle firmware and that took care of that issue.
This little Shuttle really gets the job done. I’ve added it to my existing cluster with the older hosts I have. Can’t wait to retire those and add a few more Shuttles!
I did this before the release of vSphere 5. So, my next step is to find some spare time and get my vSphere environment upgraded from 4.1 to 5!