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ESXi on HP N54L with no extra PCIe Cards


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Hi all,


First timer here. I'm replacing a crummy rooted Netgear Stora with a shiny new N54L due to arrive within the next couple of hours. I've got fair experience using Debian and CentOS (I ran a VPS hosting provider a few years ago and managed our 15 servers part-time).


I'm wanting to put ESXi on it, and have flashed it to a USB drive in preparation, however I have a few queries. I've got a 3TB drive going into it, and an 8GB RAM upgrade. Other than that I'm not wanting to setup raid or anything at this time. So my plan was to use the 250gb drive to install ESXi and the operating systems, then split the 3TB drive up as a storage drive in each of the virtual machines.


So essentially at any point the 3TB drive could be swapped out without it having any impact on the VM's, other than loosing their extra storage space.


I've not got an extra NIC card, or a RAID controller - will this be ok or are they a requirement? I only ask as a lot of people seem to be using them. 


Also, I'd just like to confirm I've got the correct ESXi build image, its the one named "VMware-ESXi-5.1.0-Update1-1065491-HP-5.50.26.iso" which came from the VMWare site (after following a link from HP). 


I'd also be interested to hear how many VM's the 54L can handle with 8GB RAM. I've seen people running 6 VM's on it - is this realistic or are they very slow? I'm planning on running probably 3 - 1x Debian for a local dev server, 1x Win Home Server for my folks and 1x Media server. 


Any advice or info would be greatly appreciated :)

Edited by RickM
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Hi Rick,


I think you will be very pleased with the  upgrade to your new N54L from the stora.  The MicroServers have surprised me again & again with their flexibility & performance for what they are. 


"I've not got an extra NIC card, or a RAID controller - will this be ok or are they a requirement?"


 Obviously both of these devices open whole new avenues of what the N54L can do but are not required for what you have listed.  


"Also, I'd just like to confirm I've got the correct ESXi build image"


I believe you are correct there as well sir.  J. Miner actually just added a new link in the "More interesting MicroServer Links" post that leads directly to that custom image.  If you have NOT checked out that post by J. Miner you should!!! He has gathered a GREAT amount of information & put it a cllck away all in one handy post.  


I'd also be interested to hear how many VM's the 54L can handle with 8GB RAM.


I don't believe anyone can give a exact answer on that and I feel even generalized answers would be guesses at best.  Anyone can say "Yes I can confirm all 3 of those VM's you have listed will run  on your new setup" (and I believe they will) but the problem arises with what those VM"s are going to be doing.   The Deb server (as you know) will masterfully run rock solid stable while making a tiny footprint  > 176 MB (on mine right now) but what type of development you start doing could max the whole host machine if allowed.    I can say that when I ran my N40L with 8GB on the 250GB HDD ( exact as yours except you have ++CPU) I ran 4 different Distro's smooth as butter.  Sabayon had a LIGHT GUI all others were server distro's one running my home media server.  


It seems like you already knew, and were correct, on most of this but were just looking to confirm it.  As you know ESXi & VM's love RAM so if you haven't already obtained your 8GB Ram you might look into running 16GB. (J. Miner has a great post on this as well :)


Welcome to HSS!!  I look forward to hearing about (and PICTURES if possible :) how it works out for you.

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Thanks for the reply FiLiNuX - that was most helpful :)


For the RAM I've basically purchased one of the Kingston 8GB low profile ones (listed on the wikia page). I got it as a single stick allowing me to push it up to 16GB at a later date if I need it. I've kept the 2GB stick in along side it for now though, so have 10GB to play with :)


Dev wise its not much, just light PHP work right now, it's all low overhead stuff though (I'm currently doing it on a Raspberry Pi which does choke a bit, but it should be ok on the HP box.


Will certainly be getting some pics and info on here once I've got everything sorted out!

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  • 5 months later...

Sorry for jumping in here, I've just ordered the same server, are you saying that the memory doesn't need to be in pairs? Does this need the BIOS upgrade for this?


I'm liking the sound of this server more and more


I may prompt for 16GB but need to buy drives first

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You can use unmatched RAM (not the same size) in almost any computer. The issue is that it will not make use of Dual Channel, which means the memory will run slower than with matched RAM sticks. If this is not a concern for you, then you can almost certainly use it.

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