Building a Homemade SAN on the Cheap: 32TB for $1,500

One of the things I've been working on getting for my lab is a dedicated SAN/iSCSI box, and I was looking to build a quality, performing box, on the cheap. Although those statements usually don't go together, you can build a quality SAN for a reasonable price. For those of you following my blog, you know that a couple of months back, I built a cheap vCenter/iSCSI server using a low-power FM1 dual core Llano, and Starwind's SAN/iSCSI software (the free version). It performed great with IOPS in … [Read more...]

ESXi iSCSI/RAID/Disk Performance: Improving Through RAM Cache

When designing any kind of system, whether it be an ESXi lab or otherwise, disk performance can end up being a bottleneck. No matter how fast your processor, or how much RAM you have, if you have a ton of iowait, and your system is having to wait in line to write or read data from your drive or volume, then your system will be slow. Modern systems in need of extreme IOPS are turning to SSD arrays and SSD cards for performance, but even with the drastic reduction in price since their … [Read more...]

Extensive iSCSI/SAN Testing by The Home Server Blog

Every good lab needs an easy to setup, quality, reliable form of iSCSI to use for storage, even if it's not for anything but testing. Working with ESXi in any type of production environment, you won't be using local storage, but rather iSCSI datstores. There are a plethora of methods to getting good iSCSI targets, but I've found the best solution for a Windows OS is StarWind iSCSI SAN Free Edition. It's a software that I promote, enjoy using, and respect the team over at Starwind for making a … [Read more...]

ASUS KGPE-D16 Power Supply: Silverstone SST-ST85F-P

One of my ESXi nodes is a build out with an ASUS KGPE-D16 motherboard that sports 16 cores and 64GB of RAM. One of the challenges with this server build is that the ASUS KGPE-D16 motherboard requires two 12V EPS connectors from the power supply, and not many power supplies actually have these connectors. In fact, one of my favorite places to go shop for power supplies, NewEgg, doesn't have a way to search for power supplies with dual EPS 12V connectors. ASUS KGPE-D16 Power Supply: Dual 8-Pin … [Read more...]

Power Consumption: ESXi Home Lab

One of the bigger questions that I've always gotten about my builds is what is my energy consumption.  That's something I've always been able to estimate, however, I've never taken the time to actually watch the wattage load with my Kill-a-Watt, or anything else.  Primarily because my lab is also a production lab, it very rarely comes down for any amount of time.  Last night gave me that opportunity. Battery Backup for ESXi: APC BR1500G and APC BR24BPG My lab had been running on an older, … [Read more...]