HP ProLiant DL380 G5 2U VMware ESXi Server Build

Jason Newman's computer projects

User avatar

Site Admin

Posts: 178

Joined: Sat Oct 29, 2016 2:06 pm

Post Tue Mar 28, 2017 11:54 am

HP ProLiant DL380 G5 2U VMware ESXi Server Build

Here we go then! A rather big project coming up which is turn into many other smaller projects later on.

I've always wanted my own ESXi based lab at home to tinker with various infrastructure design scenarios and to test various VM's. I've finally gone ahead and ordered myself a fairly beefy machine.

Image

I've got a HP ProLiant DL380 G5 on the way, a 2U form factor server. Normally for home use i would use a tower or workstation machine for such tasks but given how cheap these types of servers are these days I decided to save myself some money and go for one of these.

It cost me a total of £80 delivered to my door which is pretty damn good when you consider the specifications of the machine.

Image

CPU: x2 Intel Xeon E5345 @ 2.33Ghz 8MB (2 x 4MB) Level 2 cache (8 physical cores)
RAM: 32GB
HDD: x4 72GB SAS drives
PSU's: x 2
NIC: x2 Gigabit
RAID: 512MB HP Smart Array PCI-E SAS card

I plan to run ESXi itself off a USB stick and then use the data store as a single drive (RAID 0) as it is only for testing therefore drive failure/data loss isn't too much of an issue and I'd like to get the best I/O performance i can out of this machine.

It is currently on it's way so watch this space...
User avatar

Site Admin

Posts: 178

Joined: Sat Oct 29, 2016 2:06 pm

Post Tue Mar 28, 2017 1:33 pm

Re: HP ProLiant DL380 G5 2U VMware ESXi Server Build

After a quick look at the service manuals, I stumbled across a CPU list. It turns out this machine can take much higher spec CPU's so I thought why not check eBay and see how much the highest spec CPU i can get is.

Image

Ultimately, this resulted in a purchase! For £10 + £3 postage each i grabbed a matched pair of E5450 Xeon CPU's. These use the same amount of electric (80W) as my lower spec model so there isn't really any reason not to upgrade.

Image

This brings it up to the following spec:

CPU: x2 Intel Xeon E5450 @ 3.00Ghz 12MB (2 x 6MB) Level 2 cache (8 physical cores)
RAM: 32GB
HDD: x4 72GB SAS drives
PSU's: x 2
NIC: x2 Gigabit
RAID: 512MB HP Smart Array PCI-E SAS card

These CPU's together will rival many modern day Intel i7 CPU's on benchmarks.

This thing is now officially a pretty powerful machine!
User avatar

Site Admin

Posts: 178

Joined: Sat Oct 29, 2016 2:06 pm

Post Thu Mar 30, 2017 9:02 am

Re: HP ProLiant DL380 G5 2U VMware ESXi Server Build

So, some goodies arrived!

Image

x2 15m cat 6 cables for the dual NIC's and my 2 CPU's. Unfortunately though... eBay strikes again...

Image

The 2 CPU's have different sSpec numbers which result in different core stepping. C0 and E0 the latter being the nice lower power 80W model the first being the nasty, 120W power hungry model. They even have different model numbers X5450 and E5450.

It's not just about the issue with power though, mismatched stepping in a dual socket board is not a good idea especially when it comes to virtualization. From my understanding they will work but it's not advised. I personally always like to have matched pairs when it comes to RAM or CPU's. So i either need to stick with my current CPU's or send one back and order a second SLBBM CPU.

The eBay seller said they were the same, matched pair... but as with eBay quite often, he was incorrect.
User avatar

Site Admin

Posts: 178

Joined: Sat Oct 29, 2016 2:06 pm

Post Thu Mar 30, 2017 3:01 pm

Re: HP ProLiant DL380 G5 2U VMware ESXi Server Build

So, the beast has arrived!

Image

Image

First boot:

Image

First thing i needed to do was get into the BIOS and check everything was setup for my purposes. They weren't...

Image

Definitely need that on!

Changing the boot order:

Image

Next i went into the RAID configuration...

Image

Going with RAID 0 for maxiumu I/O performance.

Image

Image

Image

After this was done it's time to get in and install ESXi

Image

Image

Oh dear...

Image

Turns out No Execute was disabled in the BIOS as well.

Swiftly turned that on

Image

Once this was done I was greeted by the lovely yellow ESXi installation.

Image

It saw my RAID setup flawlessly and also my little 8GB data stick which i will use to install ESXi on to.

Image

This had a nice little spot in the server for this to live, great work HP!

Image

Next screen... Uh oh! What?

Image

Not had this issue before... It would appear the CPU itself isn't compatible with ESXi 6.5... Upon checking the release notice from VMware it turns out they have just dropped support for this CPU and a number of others.

Comparing the processors supported by vSphere 6.0, vSphere 6.5 no longer supports the following processors:

Intel Xeon 51xx series
Intel Xeon 30xx series
Intel core 2 duo 6xxx series
Intel Xeon 32xx series
Intel core 2 quad 6xxx series
Intel Xeon 53xx series
Intel Xeon 72xx/73xx series


Good timing VMware... So what to do now... well, all i can say is lucky i ordered those other CPU's... As the cut off point is for the Xeon 53xx whereas my new models I ordered are 54xx series. They should JUST make it in the compatible list. If it works then i will have to keep the lower wattage SLBBM model and return the other then order another matching SLBBM model. For now, it will work and will get ESXi installed.

Time to swap out the CPU's.

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

All done, time to get it turned on and see if ESXi will install.

Image

Booting, nice higher spec CPU's.

Image

Again we see the ESXi installation screen.

Andddd...

Image

Another error screen! Not all bad news though, this time these are only warnings so i can still continue but they are advising me that my current CPU will be dropped from the compatible list on future ESXi versions. Fine by me, let's get this installed!

Image

Success!

Image
User avatar

Site Admin

Posts: 178

Joined: Sat Oct 29, 2016 2:06 pm

Post Thu Mar 30, 2017 3:17 pm

Re: HP ProLiant DL380 G5 2U VMware ESXi Server Build

All installed, ready to configure!

Image

Network configuration next... I like to run this sort of thing on a static IP.

Image

Image

I also enabled both LAN adaptors

Image

Reboot and time to move the server into it's new home.

Image

All done

Image

At this point i checked what sort of power it is pulling from the wall... pretty high just short of 250w.

Image

Out of curiousity i removed the second CPU and second voltage regulator for the CPU to see what sort of power saving you could achieve.

Image

A fairly good saving but not massive.

Image

I stuck the other CPU back in as 30w or so is worth it to me for the extra 4 cores.
User avatar

Site Admin

Posts: 178

Joined: Sat Oct 29, 2016 2:06 pm

Post Thu Mar 30, 2017 3:24 pm

Re: HP ProLiant DL380 G5 2U VMware ESXi Server Build

Once all settled and cleaned up I turned it on to log into it for the first time.

Image

In ESXi 6.5 you log into it via your browser instead of the client in Windows used for previous versions. Pretty cool!

Image

The awesome UI.

First thing to do was insert my licence key into it.

Image

Then create a data store.

Image

Image

Image

All set up and ready for lots of VM's!

Image

Nice to see the CPU has been asleep all this time... All 8 cores are pretty much idle no matter what i do in the UI.

Image

When doing a windows install on a virtual machine, the CPU's went to a maximum of 7.05% ... not bad at all for the age of this machine. It should serve me very well indeed.
User avatar

Site Admin

Posts: 178

Joined: Sat Oct 29, 2016 2:06 pm

Post Thu Mar 30, 2017 8:56 pm

Re: HP ProLiant DL380 G5 2U VMware ESXi Server Build

Been running all day and is currently running 9 VM's flawlessly. Very quick machine for it's age.

Image

Love these lights! Good times.
User avatar

Site Admin

Posts: 178

Joined: Sat Oct 29, 2016 2:06 pm

Post Thu Mar 30, 2017 11:36 pm

Re: HP ProLiant DL380 G5 2U VMware ESXi Server Build

One last little thing before i finish this off, a bit of stress testing and Folding@home!

If you are unaware of what this is, see my other project here: http://ridgeracer.co.uk/viewtopic.php?f=3&t=20&sid=728f966f0cabb49e084183246b49c7e2

Currently it is folding on ALL 8 CORES of the 2 CPU's. 100% full load on both CPU's!

Image

I am running this in a Ubuntu virtual machine with all 8 cores assigned to the machine. It is drinking power now!

Image

Great fun!
User avatar

Site Admin

Posts: 178

Joined: Sat Oct 29, 2016 2:06 pm

Post Fri Mar 31, 2017 10:58 am

Re: HP ProLiant DL380 G5 2U VMware ESXi Server Build

After leaving the machine unplugged over night i turned it on again this morning to find that it wouldn't boot... Odd but it instantly hit me what the issue was...

Image

Good old CMOS battery not keeping the BIOS settings and therefor not booting from USB as i set it to do. Explains why it was all reset when i got it here with default settings.

I went and got a new one, fitted it and it's all fine now.

Image

Return to Computer Projects



cron