Tag Archives: Homelab

Homeserver - ESXi on HPE ProLiant MicroServer Gen10

After Hewlett Packard Enterprise has missed offering a Microserver in their 9th Generation, it is now back in Gen10. The Microserver series provides affordable servers intended to be used in SMB and as home servers. Due to its low price and power consumption, you can find this system in many virtualization home labs as ESXi hosts or Storages.

The HPE ProLiant MicroServer Gen10 is available with two different CPUs - AMD Opteron X3216 and X3421. Both models a SoC which means that the CPU cannot be changed like the Intel CPUs in Gen8. They support up to 32GB of unbuffered DDR RAM. The server can be equipped with 4 hard drive from the front.

  • HPE ProLiant MicroServer Gen10, Opteron X3216 (2x 1.6 - 3.0GHz / 15W TDP)
  • HPE ProLiant MicroServer Gen10, Opteron X3421 (4x 2.1 - 3.4GHz / 35W TDP)

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Fix for FreeNAS on HPE MicroServer Gen10 X3216 Stuck Console Issue

When you try to install FreeNAS 11 on the new HPE ProLiant MicroServer Gen10 X3216, the installer stops booting and appears to be stuck at:

pcib0: <ACPI Host-PCI bridge> port 0xcf8-0xcff on acpi0
pcib0: _OSC returned error 0x10
pci0: <ACPI PCI bus> on pcib0

This article explains how to fix the issue during the installation and how to apply the fix at an installed system using the FreeNAS Web Interface.

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Using the first 3D Xpoint based Intel Optane SSD with ESXi

I could get my hands on Intel's first 3D XPoint based SSD to figure out how it performs.

3D XPoint is a new non-volatile memory technology that has been developed by Intel and Micron.

With 32GB, it doesn't make sense to buy them for anything else than their intended use case: Cache device to enhance SSD/HDD Performance. If you want to use Optane technology as VM Datastore, wait a couple of months when devices with a higher capacity are available.

 

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Intel NUC - Blank Manufacturer and Model in ESXi Summary Tab

Intel does not preconfigure SMBios information for their NUCs. When you install VMware ESXi, Manufacturer and Model information in the Summary tab are missing. Intel provides a tool for system integrators that allows customizing the BIOS.

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VMware Homeserver - ESXi on 7th Gen Intel NUC (Kaby Lake)

Intel's 7th Gen NUC is currently rolled out and after a resolved issue with the NIC driver, it's time to take a look at their capabilities as homeserver running VMware ESXi. NUCs are not officially supported by VMware but they are very widespread in many homlabs or test environments. They are small, silent, transportable and have a very low power consumption, making it a great server for your homelab. I've posted a preview of the new models about 2 months ago. Gen7 NUCs are available with i3, i5 and i7 CPU.

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Heads Up - ESXi not working on 7th Gen (Kaby Lake) Intel NUC7

I've received reports that the ESXi 6.5 and ESXi 6.0 installer fails to load on the latest 7th Gen NUCs:

  • NUC7i3BNH
  • NUC7i3BNK
  • NUC7i5BNH
  • NUC7i5BNK

The main issue is that the I219-V NIC is not recognized, so the installer fails with the well known "No Network Adapters" error message. Today I managed to get my hands on a NUC7i3BNH to narrow down the issue. By now I've not managed to get the embedded Network Adapter to work. A workaround with a USB-based NIC is possible.

[Update 2017-02-25 - A fix is available]

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Homelab: Downsizing vCenter Server Appliance 6.5

In vSphere 6.5 the smallest supported memory configuration for the vCenter Server Appliance has been raised from 8GB to 10GB. The smallest "Tiny" deployment size allows up to 10 ESXi Hosts and 100 Virtual Machines. Resources in Homelabs are limited and you might want to lower the memory consumption of the vCenter Servcer Appliance. This article explains how to lower the resource consumption to be able to lower the memory to about 6GB without noticable impacts.

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Preview on 7th Gen (Kaby Lake) Intel NUC

The 7th Generation of my favorite Homelab systems are ready to be launched and the shipping is expected to start in Q1 2017. Intel NUCs are small, silent, transportable and have a very low power consumption, making it a perfect system for labs or as a home server. Intel has put its latest Kaby Lake mobile CPU into the mini system.

Intel NUCs were never officially supported by VMware but they have a great community support. Their 4th5th and 6th Generations are proven in many home labs or even for demonstrating Virtual SAN deployments.

  • Kaby Lake CPU
  • i7, i5 and i3 CPUs are available
  • Up to 32GB of DDR4 SODIMM memory
  • Available with and without 2.5" HDD slot
  • M.2 slot with NVMe support
  • Thunderbolt 3 support via USB-C
  • USB 3.1 support
  • Intel Optane Memory support
  • External SD Card Slot
  • Intel I219V Network Adapter
  • Front Power Button

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Home Lab Power Management Tipps

Home labs are great to study, extend your knowledge and try out new features. Of course, the hardware is also useful to be used for other purposes like file servers, home automation, media streaming servers and so on.

There are some features to be considered for any type of deployment at home to have a better control and maybe to save some money.

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USB Devices as VMFS Datastore in vSphere ESXi 6.5

intel-nuc-with-usb3-connected-ssdIn ESXi 6.5, there are some changes concerning devices connected with USB. The legacy drivers, including xhci, ehci-hcd, usb-uhci, and usb-storage have been replaced with a single USB driver named vmkusb. The new driver has some implications if you are trying to use USB devices like USB sticks or external hard disks as VMFS formatted datastore.

Some people have reported that they have issues with USB Datastores since ESXi 6.5. I've tried to reproduce and fix those problems. This post explains the changes in the new version and how to create VMFS 5 or VMFS6 formatted USB devices as datastore on your ESXi host. Read more »