Yes, chill-n-cool,running purely off of USB and NAS, currently the fastest node in my cluster, so quiet and cool( less than 26C inside the case ), that I have to brag about it…Thought I’d share this configuration.Its storing/running all its VMs from NAS.
The Mini-ESXI Server Hardware Specs (845$):
>> Processor: Intel Xeon E3-1230 V2($290)
>> Motherboard : Intel S1200BTSR Micro ATX Server Motherboard LGA 1155 DDR3 1333 (190$)
>> Hypervisor Installation : 8Gig PNY USB-Flash drive ($8 @ staples)
>> VMs Storage : iOmega Home NAS ($100)
** – Upgraded later to DNS-320 that i got on sale at J&R. I needed the Raid!!
>> RAM : 32G ECC Unbuffered Dual Channel Crucial (120$)
>> Power: Intex PSU (450W, I think) 40$
>> Case : AeroCool m40 cube , MicroATX with Front-LCD Temperature display
And why these??
Well, my processor choice was down to either a core-i7 or a Xeon. And given that core-i7s are rather power-hungry for their performance, I settled on Xeon. Its TDP at 89Watts was lucrative, and in practice, with about 5 VMs running all the time, it consumes a little less than 30W (Cheaper than a lightbulb). And the quad-core ivy bridge, and 8MB L3-cache, sealed the deal.
I needed a server class motherboard, and after researching for a long while, i decided to go with one that I had already seen in use. The Intel S1200BTSR is a decent server motherboard, under 200$. Agreed, it comes with poor documentation, but seriously, how many of us look at that pamphlet of documentation that comes with motherboards? Aside from that, it performs well, runs cool, has a good FSB, and RAID (just if I ever decide to move my HDDs from NAS into this compute node)
The case was the instigator. I really liked the design and airflow-pattern of the Aerocool M40 cube. Besides, it has a front-panel LCD display indicating the temperature inside the chassis. Real cool.
A true beast of beauty
A few cable ties, to keep the wires from obstructing the airflow, and I was at the BIOS. Didnt overclock.. just turned on support for virtualization, and proceeded to install the esxi Hypervisor onto the USB (The little white guy you see standing up in the picture). Four minutes later, it was ready to start running my VMs.