Project “Reaper” – For all your ESXi server on-the-go needs
- SUPERMICRO SYS-5018D-MF 1U Rackmount Server Barebone — The core of our build, a standard 1U barebones server that's only 14.5" deep.
- Intel Xeon E3-1231V3 Haswell 3.4 GHz — When these servers were originally built, this processor provided a good balance of performance-to-cost.
- 2 * Crucial 16GB (2 x 8GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM — 32GB of RAM was the max for the motherboard, but provides more than enough memory for a half dozen VMs.
- SUPERMICRO SSD-DM032-PHI SATA DOM — The disk-on-module were nice separate units that the VMWare hypervisor was installed upon.
- SAMSUNG 850 EVO 2.5" 500GB SATA III 3-D Vertical Internal Solid State Drive — A 500GB SSD provided more than enough storage for the half dozen VMs, and still had room for future growth.
- 2.5 Inch to 3.5 Inch Internal Hard Disk Drive Mounting Bracket Kit — The Supermicro didn't provide any good mounts for 2.5" drives, so a quick adapter was in order.
- Total Cost: $1,177.13 (as of 2015-10-05, plus tax & shipping)
VMotion could eliminate the need to maintain duplicate VMs. However that’s a paid feature which was going to cost more than $1500 per server, more than we paid for the hardware itself. It is, of course, something that can always be added later. Getting the hardware in place is the most difficult and time consuming portion; the software is easy to change after that.
Our “Reaper” units were packaged up in pairs and deployed to five offices in three countries on two continents. There were 14 servers in the initial batch (which I made by hand). Assembling each one only took about 20 minutes at most. The biggest time sink in the entire project was getting enough quantity of certain components, such as the SuperDOM. In fact, if I was going to replicate this hardware again, I would seriously consider ditching the DOM for another SSD. Otherwise it was a solid build that has yet to fail.