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Reasonable Hardware For Home VM Experimentation? 272

cayenne8 writes "I want to experiment at home with setting up multiple VMs and installing sofware such as Oracle's RAC. While I'm most interested at this time with trying things with Linux and Xen, I'd also like to experiment with things such as VMWare and other applications (Yes, even maybe a windows 'box' in a VM). My main question is, what to try to get for hardware? While I have some money to spend, I don't want to, or need to, be laying out serious bread on server room class hardware. Are there some used boxes, say on eBay to look for? Are there any good solutions for new consumer level hardware that would be strong enough from someone like Dell? I'd be interested in maybe getting some bare bones boxes from NewEgg or TigerDirect even. What kind of box(es) would I need? Would a quad core type processor in one box be enough? Are there cheap blade servers out there I could get and wire up? Is there a relatively cheap shared disk setup I could buy or put together? I'd like to have something big and strong enough to do at least a 3 node Oracle RAC for an example, running ASM, and OCFS."
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Reasonable Hardware For Home VM Experimentation?

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  • by Minwee ( 522556 ) <> on Sunday March 22, 2009 @07:37PM (#27292675) Homepage
    The difference between 'server class' hardware and you beige box PC is that the more expensive 'server' is a lot more reliable and has extra remote access and hardware monitoring features. That's about it. If all you want is to run virtual machines in a test environment, just get a desktop with a hefty CPU and a whole whack of RAM and you're set. A good 'gaming' machine without the video card would be fine. You don't need to spend extra for a 'server'.
  • by rackserverdeals ( 1503561 ) on Sunday March 22, 2009 @08:19PM (#27293011) Homepage Journal

    Actually, if he's looking to play around with Oracle RAC, he's looking at virtualization technology to do that without having to buy multiple servers. In that case, Amazon EC2 will be a good idea.

    If he's more interested in playing with Xen than RAC, then no.

  • Re:8 core Mac Pro (Score:1, Insightful)

    by MacColossus ( 932054 ) on Sunday March 22, 2009 @08:22PM (#27293031) Journal
    Actually, resell value of Mac Pro's is unbelievable via Ebay and such. You can sell the previous model for almost as much as you paid for it. Stick that in your Mac tax. Have kids in school? You can get it even cheaper. He's experimenting which would suggest short term.
  • Re:8 core Mac Pro (Score:3, Insightful)

    by ( 1195047 ) <.ten.yargelap. .ta. .sidarap.pilihp.> on Monday March 23, 2009 @01:29AM (#27294889) Homepage Journal
    Decent paying jobs can be like that sometimes.
  • Re:Dell XPS Studio (Score:3, Insightful)

    by kenh ( 9056 ) on Monday March 23, 2009 @09:53AM (#27297421) Homepage Journal

    What the original poster said was that it woul dbe difficult to save money by building it yourself, and he's right.

    An i7 920 CPU is between $250-300.

    An i7 x58 MB is $200-300.

    A comprable video card is $100.

    Six Gigs of DDR3 RAM is $100-200.

    500 Gig SATA HD plus DVD-RW is another $100

    Chassis is $75+.

    Power Supply is $50+

    Keyboard/mouse are another $15-50.

    If you want the Vista OS license, that's another $100-200, depending on version/source.

    I'd put the DIY cost at $225 (CPU/cooler) + $200 (MB) + $100 (Video) + $150 (RAM) + $100 (HD/DVD) + $100 (Chassis/PS) = $875 (no included OS).

    To truly build a similar machine the cost savings comes at the expense of compromises in the DIY machine or in re-using parts you already have.

    The one concession you make going with the Dell XPS Studio with the i7 processor is that the on-board RAM is limited to 12 Gig, some of the third-party boards can go to 24 Gigs, but that RAM is quite expensive.

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