There have been a couple of postings recently by people who have spent some time custom building PC’s capable of running VMWare ESX. A great example is Eric Sloof who has built a monster white box capable of running the new VI4 Beta software.
That’s got me interested in building one, perhaps to road test new features if I can ever get invited to participate in a VMWare beta program, or perhaps just to run ESX 3.5i so I can play about with new Microsoft Windows 7 or Server 2008 R2 Beta.
One of the main issues with building a whitebox is ensuring compatibility with the VMWare HCL, so where on earth do you start looking so you can ensure your whitebox works. Well I’ve put togethere some links together to get you started, I hope they’re of some help.
VMWare Hardware Compatibility List
The new fully searchable HCL just has to be on the list, double check your planned components, you may be suprised to find they are actually supported on the HCL.
VM-Help.com - The unnofficial VMWare ESX whitebox HCL
This site is stacked full of useful information on tried and tested hardware combinations
The Ultimate Whitebox web site
Though this is a relatively new site it has some really well laid out information on hardware combos
Tim Jacobs post on his Whitebox
This post is just under a year old but still contains some good information.
Now HP were doing some crazy deals on their HP ML tower server range last year. I was having a look at servers direct in the UK today and the prices are pretty good, I’m tempted to buy one of these rather than build a solution from scratch.
So how have people got on with ESX on the HP ML Series server? Well here are a few more links that may help.
instaling ESX 3.5 on the HP ML110 G5
Kiwi Si who runs the TechHead has a great lab article about installing ESX 3.5 on the ML110 G5
ESX 3.5 operating on a ML115 G5
Virtual VCP has put this article together detailing the changes required to get ESX 3.5 working on the new ML115 G5 servers.
Thing to remember with all whiteboxes are they are not supported by VMWare and you will be relying on the VMWare community to help you out with any problems. My advice is, if someone has listed the exact components that worked for them, copy it as it will most likely work for you. I’ll let you know how I get on with my whitebox, just need to wait for that much needed January pay cheque ;o)