Don said in the ESXi install episode that ESXi can be installed on dedicated chips versus drive storage. Can you provide some examples of MB manufactures that offer dedicated VM chips to run ESXi?
Vmware ESXi installed on dedicated chip
Not sure if this is a question for an education provider...
You will find that using a 1gb USB stick from a dollar store works perfectly fine.
I have 8 hardware hosts running esxi5 like that. Been 2 years and no failures.
I've used ESXi embedded on several systems over the years. The most recent ones I used were Dell R710s. When HP and Dell originally launched servers with embedded ESXi they had special flash memory soldered to the mother board. On newer servers, they usually just have an internal USB port using standard flash memory, or an SD Card slot (I have seen internal and external). Here are a few pieces of advice if you go that route:
- Do not use cheap flash memory. The failure rate is too high to use on a server. I recommend SanDisk Ultra SD Cards or Corsair Voyager Thumb Drives. I have had the best results with those. Most vendors will offer to sell you the server with ESXi embedded pre-installed using flash that they support under warranty. That is usually the best option. I know Dell uses Kingston memory almost exclusively when they ship that way. You can take a look at Dell's list of supported memory on page 10 of this guide.
- Don't use the standard install images from VMware. Most of the hardware vendors have their own customized vesrsion of ESXi for use on their hardware. Here are some examples:
- Do not use the default ESXi install disks. They assume you are using magnetic media and will chew up the flash memory by constantly writing to the log files. The custom installers store logs in RAM which reduces disk writes.
- The instructions for building a USB/SD Card install media can be found here.
Let me know if there is anything else I can help with.
+1 on not using vmware stock images.
Especially for a lab environment outside of Vmware HCL.
I was able to get my setup going on a set of HP SFF 6000 workstation desktops. BUT no network drivers in stock Vmware install.
Browsed to a dell-bundle that included drivers for my network card and POOF.
+1 on using dedicated SD cards.
On Dell servers (probably others) they also offer a Dual SD card option where the two SD cards are mirrored in a RAID-1 style, thus providing another layer of redundancy in case one fails. This option is not that expensive (~$80 off the top of my head). We've been using it more frequently for ESXi deployments, especially in SAN environments.
In the past, we had to go with an internal PERC controller plus at least 2 drives, even if we weren't going to use the DAS for a datastore. If you don't have centralized storage, then it's not as important since you will use the internal drives. But if you are using a SAN, it is often a big waste, which the SD cards eliminate. You can than take the money you were going to spend on the internal drives and put it into more SAN space. We haven't had any issues going this route and like it a lot.