Home Lab Take Two

Having sold my older Dell R710 server a few months back I decided, with a recent purchase of Cisco Modelling Lab, to pick up a more capable replacement. After scouring eBay for a few weeks I found an R720 (non-xd model) within my price range.

The specs of the new server are;

  • Model – Dell PowerEdge R720 2U Rack Server
  • CPU – Two Intel Xeon E5-2660 V2 2.2Ghz, 10 cores each
  • Memory – 256GB
  • Storage – None included, but 8 3.5” front bays

I picked up two 600GB 15K SAS 3.5” hard disks to slot in and provide some generic storage and a Fusion-IO ioDrive II 1.2TB internal SSD to use up one of the PCI-E slots on the servers motherboard.

The server’s main function will be to run my Cisco CML lab VM, as I have another HP Gen 8 server to run my other VMs – notably my Plex and Valheim servers :). CML can get ridiculously resource hungry if you want to spin up labs with 10/15+ nodes that include NX-OS devices, hence the requirement for plenty of CPU cores and memory.

To launch CML I’ll be running VMWare ESXi as a bare-metal installation, and installing the OVA file as a VM. I have chosen ESXi v6.7, as unfortunately v7 does not support the Fusion-io SSD drivers – thanks, Dell! The R720, as did the R710 I had prior also has an onboard USB slot, so I’ll be booting and running the OS from the USB stick to save external / PCIe storage space.

On a storage note, I don’t have a problem with disk failure or VM loss, so will only be running the virtual disk in a RAID0 configuration to utilise all the disk space.

When I have it all spun up I’ll put another post up.

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