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My ramblings on the stuff that holds it all together
Many of you will be familiar with my vTARDIS home lab project – this has run for a number of years and even won a couple of awards, making heavy use of nested ESX and virtual appliances for storage; however in the last 12 months RAM has been a massive problem – it’s hard to get SME type quiet hosts that can have more than 32GB of RAM.
If you consider most of VMware’s management stack consists of several 8GB virtual appliances and add in vCloud Director, vCAC etc. you can see my issue – I run out of capacity even before I start to run an actual workload.
In addition I’m doing a lot of work with the fantastic Atlantis ILIO and USX products, which can use RAM as storage infront of your storage array to de-dupe and deliver some very clever optimizations for storage (more on that in a later post).
So – I bit the bullet and purchased a blade chassis for home.
Did I read that right?
Are you rich/mad/deranged? (well definitely not rich but maybe the others..)
I was on the hunt via eBay for a DL380 or similar rackmount with 128GB of RAM – they were all pretty expensive, and for approx. the same money I managed to pick up a loaded up HP C7000 blade chassis with a total of >68 CPU cores and 318GB of RAM
Yes, it’s LOUD, yes it sucks a lot of power (this is with all the swich + FC modules installed, but only 1 full height blade powered on).
But – think of it this way – my total acquisition cost (including 4 x Cisco blade switches and 2 Cisco MDS FC blade switches was less than £2,000 GBP
It will cost (approx) £100 per month in electricity in the UK to run, I can handle that – consider it this way – purchased server cheap vs. spending £5,000 for a more modern set of kit to give the same capacity (and only ½ the running costs).
In my house we call this man-maths (and if you’re a Pistonheader – you may recognize the phrase) – it’s like when you buy an older, but very fast & cool car for a low (already depreciated) price but higher running costs (fuel, repairs etc.) but you enjoy it MUCH more than driving a more economical eurobox car for the same overall price(ish)
Anyway it makes sense to me and it currently runs about 40 nested ESX hosts, and I am only using 2 of the 14 blades ☺, it has a built in iLo-everything and it all comes in one box
(Disclaimer – the C7000 does not live in my house, as my wife would divorce me and the kids would have to wear ear-defenders).
More about what I’m using it for in future posts, yes that’s also an EMC VNXe for storage (again, subject of a future blog post – and to be honest it was the main reason for me needinf more compute capacity to push it – I blame Chad).