I have had a good response from my article on building a VMware test/lab environment running on a HP ML110 G4. There does however seem to be some confusion in the VM ESX community around what models of the ML110 and ML115 can run ESX and if there are any workarounds for those that don’t work ‘out of the box’ with ESX v3.5.
This is the first article of a series in which I will try to assist in clarifying what works, what doesn’t and any work arounds (where applicable). I will be covering the ML110 G4 & G5 and the ML115 G5.
In this first posting I’ll start with the Proliant ML110 G4.
This is the server I use in my home ESX lab and can confirm that it works just fine with ESX v3.5. Both the Disk Controller (ie: it detects the SATA disks as being SCSI and VMFS capable) and the Network Card. I should point out that the G4 model has been superceeded by the G5 model for sometime now which isn’t fully compatible. I will go into more detail on this in a upcoming article on the ML110 G5.
There is one gotcha however with the G4 model and that is around the different CPU’s available within this model.
For ESX to run x64 OS’s it requires that the server it is running on has Intel Virtualization Technology (VT) capabilities on the Processor.
Below is a list of those CPU variations that are/were available with the ML110 G4 model. I have 2 of these servers which have the Dual-Core Intel Xeon 3040 processor.
This next table below is from Intel (click on it to see it full size or here for the link to the Intel site) and outlines those Pentium D CPU’s which have the Intel VT technology onboard and those that don’t
As you can see Intel Pentium D 820, 915, 925, 935 & 945 Processors all don’t have Intel VT on the die thereby leaving the Intel Xeon 3040 and 3050 as the only Processors with Intel VT.
So this means if you’re looking at buying an ML110 G4 for your VMware ESX test lab and are wanting to run x64 Operating Systems and fully harness the extra power that VT offers then purchase one of these (Xeon) two CPU models and not one of the Pentium D’s.
Finally, when if you do buy an HP ML110 G4 remember to go into the BIOS and enable VT as it’s turned off by default!
UPDATE: 24th September 2008.
I have just gone to install a pair of OCZ 2GB PC2-6400 memory modules into my second ML110 G4 (until now I was only running it with 2 x 1GB generic RAM) and was greeted with a steady beeping noise from the server and nothing else. I tried swapping the modules around, re-seating them, only using one to no avail.
It would appear that these modules are not compatible with the ML110 G4 – although in theory from their specification they should be. I can confirm however the these particular OCZ memory modules do work in the ML110 G5 without any problems. I guess I will just have to add these to my ML110 G5, taking it up to 8GB. 🙂
I will have to look at getting a pair of Corsair 2GB XMS modules instead.
Below: A picture of the OCZ memory with Gold heat spreaders and the tried and tested Corsair XMS memory.