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New Vail (Maybe) Build


Citezein
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I'm starting this thread to chronicle my new WHS build. I'm replacing a very old P4 2.4 Ghz machine with a new Core i5-2400 system. I decided to go with the i5 2400 because I may end up virtualizing WHS, and this quad core CPU has all of the latest virtualization technology in it. Additionally, this machine might monitor a couple of web cameras and do some video encoding.

 

Here's a quick list of my parts.

 

CPU: Core i5-2400

MB: Intel DH67BL (Bought together with the CPU for $274 at NewEgg)

RAM: 8GB DDR3 1333 G.Skill Ripjaws

HD: A couple of 1.5 TB WD Green drives for the data and a hybrid 2.5" drive for the OS installation.

CASE: Chenbro RM41300 rack-mounted case.

OTHER: Icy Dock 3 in 2 HD adapter.

 

The motherboard is interesting. I was originally going to go with a Gigabyte mATX board, but the Intel version was $25 less to begin with and was in a combo deal with the CPU for another $20 discount (effectively making the board $80). Additionally, it has USB 3, eSATA and uses the Intel Pro gigabit ethernet chip, which is an improvement over the Realtek chip, especially for virtualization.

 

That's the list. The parts arrive a little later this week. I'll probably put Hyper-V server on it initially and patiently wait for the next Vail beta. I'll update this post as the build progresses or to answer any questions anyone has.

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This will more than do it. Good luck with and let us know how you like your sandy bridge chip. I just bought a Core I7 2600 and a Gigabyte 1155 board we exchange experiences.

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The parts got here today and I'm a bit torn on what to do with the system. Originally I planned to just put Vail on it, and I might still take that route. Installing a hypervisor sounded like a better idea though and I was all set to install Hyper-V until I realized that it doesn't support USB passthrough at all for the guest VMs. No USB support means no external backups, no UPS monitoring, no home automation dongles, etc.

 

After some searching it seems ESXi is free and supports the USB passthrough that I need. Unfortunately, I can't seem to get it to install, so I'm currently searching for more information. With the Sandy Bridge chips so new there's very little info out there.

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Guest no-control

ESXi is extremely picky to get installed. Its not very tolerant of hardware outside of its whitebox/HCL builds. Geek-Accountant has had some good luck with Xenserver might want to try that. No idea if it supports USB passthrough. If you access to Server 08 there's a work around for usb in Hyper V.

 

Might want to just use it as a vail build for now.

 

 

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Not only is ESXi picky, but it seems Hyper-V Server (the Server Core version) can't recognize the Intel network driver on the board despite loading the Windows Server 2008 R2 x64 driver explicitly. This is a real shame since that NIC was one of the reasons I went with this motherboard in the first place.

 

I'm sure I could get it to work with the full install of Server 2008 R2 with the Hyper-V role, but first I'm going to buy a dedicated Intel NIC ($30) which will definitely work with Hyper-V and ESXi. There's still no guarantee ESXi isn't also incompatible with something else though, but I'll find out soon enough.

 

Worst case, I ditch the hypervisor plan and go with a full Vail install.

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I did have a nice note to add about this hardware. At idle, with one 2.5" hard drive and just the CPU fan (there is no case yet) it draws a mere 28 Watts. That's pretty incredible for such a high performance system. This is with an Antec 380 Earthwatts PSU.

 

I expect when I'm done adding a couple more drives and a couple of case fans and the new NIC, it will idle closer to 50 Watts, but that's still impressive. My P4 draws about 120 Watts 24/7.

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The few times I have used ESXi here at work to some test builds, I have found it to be very easy to use but then again I was running on some true Enterprise level hardware so I cannot speak to it not being hardware unfriendly.

 

I also had the luxury of using a PowerEdge 1950 for those tests and that MOBO has two USB connectors on it which I presumed were for pass thru. Right now, I like VMWare Server a little more than HyperV simply because of the networking capabilities.

 

Where did you find a free version of ESXi?

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Guest no-control

Not only is ESXi picky, but it seems Hyper-V Server (the Server Core version) can't recognize the Intel network driver on the board despite loading the Windows Server 2008 R2 x64 driver explicitly. This is a real shame since that NIC was one of the reasons I went with this motherboard in the first place.

 

Wow Really? I was considering this board as well. What model are the NICs? Did you use the driver on the disc or DL from Intel? Seems strange that Hyper-V didn't like it.

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Wow Really? I was considering this board as well. What model are the NICs? Did you use the driver on the disc or DL from Intel? Seems strange that Hyper-V didn't like it.

 

The onboard NIC is an Intel 82579V. Neither Hyper-V nor ESXi recognized the device. With Hyper-V I tried installing the latest drivers from the Intel site. It's a semi-known issue with Microsoft saying people should contact Intel. The thread I started about it is at: http://social.technet.microsoft.com/Forums/en-US/winserverhyperv/thread/7af78396-6b6a-47c9-b40b-f212e1153301

 

I would expect Intel will get the drives fixed for Hyper-V and I also expect a later version of ESXi to support it. Right now the NIC and the Sandy Bridge platform are so new the software hasn't caught up.

 

Oh, speaking of being new, Hyper-V actually needs SP1 to run properly on Sandy Bridge. Right now that's available as a release candidate, with the final SP due out soon.

 

The good news is that my new NIC came in today and ESXi recognized it immediately. I'm going to try and get that up and running right now, as I know Hyper-V will also work. The new NIC I bought is an Intel EXPI9301CTBLK, available at NewEgg for under $30.

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