Cheap ESXi 5.5 Homeserver that is in the VMware HCL

To extend my homelab I was searching for a cheap homeserver hardware that was listed in the Compatibility Guide by VMware. My target was that the system must be supported with ESXi 5.5. There were 3 systems that are in the market since about 5 years and sold as refurbished systems and one system from Lenovo that has a brand-new Haswell CPU.

  • Dell PowerEdge 2950 Gen III
  • Dell PowerEdge R710
  • ProLiant DL380 G6 Server
  • Lenovo ThinkServer TS140

Dell PowerEdge 2950 Gen III

Dell-PowerEdge-2950-Gen-III

  • Release date: 2008
  • CPU: Quad-core or Dual-core Intel Xeon 54xx, 53xx, 52xx, or 51xx series (Merom)
  • CPU Sockets: 2
  • Max Memory: 64GB
  • Drive Bays: 8x 2.5" or 4x 3.5"
  • Supported OS: ESXi 4.0, ESXi 4.1, ESXi 5.0, ESXi 5.1, ESXi 5.5
  • Available as refurbished server from $400 at Amazon

 

Dell PowerEdge R710

Dell-PowerEdge-R710

  • Release date: 2009
  • CPU: Quad-core or six-core Intel Xeon processor 55xx and 56xx series (Nehalem)
  • CPU Sockets: 2
  • Max Memory: 288GB
  • Drive Bays: 8x 2.5" or 6x 3.5"
  • Supported OS: ESXi 4.0, ESXi 4.1, ESXi 5.0, ESXi 5.1, ESXi 5.5
  • Available as refurbished server from $600 at Amazon

 

ProLiant DL380 G6 Server

ProLiant-DL380-G6

  • Release date: 2009
  • CPU: Dual-core, Quad-core or six-core Intel Xeon processor 55xx and 56xx series (Nehalem)
  • CPU Sockets: 2
  • Max Memory: 192GB
  • Drive Bays: 16x 2.5" or 6x 3.5"
  • Supported OS: ESXi 4.0, ESXi 4.1, ESXi 5.0, ESXi 5.1, ESXi 5.5
  • Available as refurbished server from $600 at Amazon

 

Lenovo ThinkServer TS140Lenovo-ThinkServer-TS140

  • Release date: 2013
  • CPU: Intel Xeon E3-1200 v3 series (Haswell)
  • CPU Sockets: 1
  • Max Memory: 32GB
  • Drive Bays: 4x 2.5" or 4x 3.5"
  • Supported OS: ESXi 5.1, ESXi 5.5
  • Available from: $350 at Amazon
  1. Hi, If you really want a large server on the VMware HCL I will be happy to sell you my Dell 1950 (the desktop version of the 2950) complete with 16G RAM and10 10K drives running Esxi 5.5. Make me an offer for anything over $450 and pay the shipping and it is yours. I have moved from a house to a boat and had to downsize.

    I replaced this with a i5 Intel NUC that though it does not have the amount of storage runs my Exchange 13 and website.

    Dalton

  2. The Lenovo ThinkServer TS140 has a remote hardware management interface on the ethernet port which causes the ESXi 5.5 install to fail. It boots up like it's going to install fine then fails complaining about "no network interface" rather than interfere with the remote management feature, or something along those lines. It is possible to create a custom ISO with the proper driver to get around this.

  3. Just a heads up on the Lenovo ThinkServer TS140. The default esxi 5.5 u2 iso does not have the drivers for the onboard NIC. So you'd have to make a custom iso.
    Got one a couple of weeks ago and it works great

  4. Have you looked at Supermicro systems at all? I have not, but have read that some of their servers make up good and affordable (and HCL supported!) VSAN nodes.

  5. My company has 5 R710's in production, 7 more for testing/DR; All running VMware 5.1 connected to Equallogic storaage and have been very happy with them. Newer 620's will replace them upon warranty expiration due to capability and 1 Unit occupancy.

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