Saturday, 6 September 2008

VMware ESXi on an HP ML110 G5

I recently bought an HP ML110 G5 from Ebuyer because it was going very cheap (£220 for a dual core Xeon, 1GB RAM and 250GB hard disk). This box will be my new server, possibly for trying things out with, but maybe as a replacement for my Shuttle that currently runs VMware Server on OpenSUSE.

Unfortunately, the first attempt at installing ESXi failed with the message that no storage devices could be found. After some searching, I found that by changing the disk settings in the BIOS from "Auto" to "SATA" fixed the problem and the disk was found (full details here.

The installer again failed with the following error: "Unable to write image to the selected disk. This maybe caused by bad sectors on the device or another hardware problem."

One comment I read suggested the amount of memory could be a problem. As this is to be a VM server, I ordered another 4GB RAM (CT810056 4GB kit (2GBx2), 240-pin DIMM Upgrade for a HP - Compaq ProLiant ML110 G5 System) from Crucial and fitted it this morning.

ESXi installed without any problems. Now to install some VMs...

4 comments:

Damian said...

Hi JR

I too have an HP Proliant ML110 G5, which I bought a month back for £115 with shipping - bargain price (uk.insight.com).

My first attempt at installing RHEL5 failed.
Well, the install went through fine, but then first boot gave a kernel panic...haven't had time to look at it since (been a few weeks now).

Anyway, was hoping to do the same as you - setup a bunch of VM's on the box, rather than limiting myself to a single OS instance.

Having never done this before, I assume (from your post) that one uses VMware ESXi?

Would be curious to know your progress in getting the machine up and running...

....looks like I'll too need to push up the memory beforehand though...

D.

JR said...

Hi Damian.

Yes - I'm using the latest version of ESXi. To be honest, I've spent most of my time with the box playing with various hypervisors - ESXi, Citrix XenServer Express and a trial copy of Windows Server 2008.

The problem is that both ESXi and XenServer requires a Windows client to configure them, so I'm having to use my wife's machine (my main machine is Linux or Mac OS X).

For what it's worth, ESXi seems to work fine. I've not done much with it beyond create a couple of VMs. I'm on the VMware training fast track next month, so will be putting a lot more effort in when I get back in order to revise for the VCP exam.

Damian said...

Hi JR

Interesting....
So which would you say runs better, or is more "manageable" between ESXi, Xen and Win2k8?
Have you had a look at Solaris 10 containers? My work colleagues feel that is it the fastest "bare metal"
experience of virtualization on the market yet....although I'd imagine one could only run Solaris or Linux
in such a setup (which is all I'm after anyway).

D.

JR said...

Hi Damian.

I've used Solaris Containers / Zones a lot in my workplace. It is a very useful way to create Solaris environments, and even Linux (using a "branded zone").

However, it's not really bare-metal. It's more a way to break a single Solaris instance into multiple, separate environments.

At home, I'm running a Suse server with VMware Server on top. In this I've created a Solaris 10 VM which I've then zoned to create separate dns and mail servers. Why? Because I could... and I wanted to see how well it worked. Answer: well enough that it's been like that for a year, but I'm looking to use the ML110 to implement something on the bare metal.

As for the manageability of the various hypervisors, they generally appear to be similar for the basics. I use VMware at work, so have more familiarity of VI Client, but all of them are wizard driven and have the same concepts.