I’ve had my test/personal VMware ESXi setup running for a bit now on my Dell PowerEdge 2950 III with the upgraded Xeon 5450 CPUs (originally came with E5405) resulting in dual quad-core Xeons at 3.0GHz. It’s pretty snappy especially for how little I spent on it. However, everyone knows you can’t really mess with much in VMware without memory. So, I’ve replaced the 8GB (2GB x 4) of RAM that the system arrived with and replaced it with 32GB (4GB x 8). I really wanted to go with 64GB but I was able to get 32GB for ~$103 off of eBay while 64GB was around $600! I feel this is because people are loading up systems similar to my 2950 with as much RAM as they’ll take in order to keep them in service in their businesses… or to turn older 2950’s with fast CPU into VMware hosts like I am doing.
Either way, 64GB was not practical for the purpose of building a cheap server and so I had to settle for 32GB. The only positive to come of that is that I could, essentially, buy another 2950 with dual Xeon 5450’s and 32GB of RAM and put the two in a cluster and still have not spent even half of what the 64GB of RAM would have cost.
Anyway – I’ve got the RAM in and I’ve also taken care of another issue. I’ve received my Dell PowerConnect 5448 and 5424 so that I can build better LAGs with LACP for the server and Synology NAS. This will allow redundant and faster network connectivity to the server and NAS especially. The switch I had been running is a Dell PowerConnect 2724 which is Dell’s entry “managed” switch – it’s 24 ports full-gigabit but does not offer LACP or other advanced features and it’s only manageable from a web interface. I receive the 5448 and 5424, cleared their configs using console cables and have them set up and ready to go. I’ll be putting the 5424 at a remote location where the server will live. The 5448 will serve as the primary switch in my home. I will likely utilize the 2724 as a dedicated switch for my Raspberry Pi and BeagleBone Black cluster.
I think I will watch eBay for a dual- or quad-port NIC for the 2950, as well as a couple SFP connectors so I can connect the 5448 and 2724 with fiber. That’s all for now!