VMWare ESX Server 3.5 on A5808-32, 8 socket AMD Opteron

A slight deviation from the benchmarking exercise – VMWare

We started testing VMWare ESX 3.5 on our A5808-32 8 socket AMD Opteron server. To start with, we populated the system with only 4 socket instead of all 8 and 8 GB RAM. We are using the LSI Logic PCI-Express SCSI adapter instead of the on-board SATA controller. The installation succeeded without any issues.

We decided to use the local SCSI disk to hold all the VMs. When the system booted, we had a surprise in store. ESX also detected the on-board SATA controllers. We promptly shut down the system, added a few SATA drives to the on-board controller and as expected, ESX was happy to use the SATA drives as VMFS data stores. This was a pleasant surprise. However, we are yet to test if ESX will be happy to install ESX on to a SATA drive.

Please note that using SATA drives for your VMFS data store is really a bad idea. Only because SATA drives cannot provide the reliability of a SAS or SCSI drive. Performance also will be an issue when using SATA drives for creating your VMFS data stores.

We did face a small problem after initial boot up. ESX partitioned the SCSI drive in to the standard layout it needs:

/boot

/var/log

vmfs

vmkcore

But after bootup, VI client refused to see the local vmfs partition as a valid data store. A little search on the internet and this thread helped us fix that issue.

To test the SATA drive, we extended the vmfs3 partition (data store) on the SCSI drive with the SATA drive and it worked like a charm. Now we have a VMFS data store that is spanned across a partition on the SCSI drive and a full SATA drive connected to a totally different controller.

Well, we know it boots up fine. Time to install a VM. We quickly created a VM to install CentOS 5.0 64-bit ans fired up the VM. Here is a screen shot of the install.

VMWare 3.5 CentOS 5 64 bit Install

And here is a screen shot of the virtual machine booted up. You can also see the firefox window open in the background.

CentOS 5.0 64-bit Running

The obvious next step was to try Windows. Here is a screen shot of Windows 2003 Standard Edition 64-bit installation.

Windows 2003 Standrad Edition 64-bit Installation

Windows Server 2003 R2 up & running.

Windows Server 2003 R2 running successfully

In a nutshell, VMWare ESX 3.5 installed and working successfully on A5808-32.

What is next?

  • Use HiPerStor as datastore

  • VMWare VMMark test results

  • More workloads with VMWare on A5808-32

Cheers and Happy New Year!

Kalyan

2 Responses to “VMWare ESX Server 3.5 on A5808-32, 8 socket AMD Opteron”

  1. [...] Technology for Everyday Needs Making sense of complex new technologies « VMWare ESX Server 3.5 on A5808-32, 8 socket AMD Opteron [...]

  2. [...] many successful tests yesterday (instal & test, iSCSI & NFS), I populated the system with 8 quad core AMD Opteron processors and left for the [...]

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