Longest email thread ever about Xeon D-1540, VMware, NVMe, VSAN, backup dedupe, and so much more...

Posted by Paul Braren on Jan 15 2016 in
  • ESXi
  • Virtualization
  • HomeLab
  • HomeServer
  • When starting this site nearly 5 years ago, I was rather reluctant to go so public, setting up the Twitter and the Google+, and the email contact form. But I knew the benefits would likely largely outweigh the drawbacks.

    I was right.

    It's weeks like this that I'm so very glad I'm now public with my tech stuff.

    You see, like most of you, I can't possibly keep up with the ridiculous quantity of spam that I get via the contact form I sort of hide behind, because it's generally much better for everybody if you craft your comments below the articles, so that everybody can benefit from the time I take to respond, allowing anybody to find the answers within, and leaving all of us more time to tinker.

    So when much of my inbox is along the lines of bribes for me to inject tracking code into TinkerTry to auto-infest my hundreds of articles (no thanks!), it's refreshing and wonderful to have some email in there that I actually enjoy reading through, and responding to.

    I've had a few of those wonderful private conversations these past years, especially with some new friends I made during my TinkerTry travels, and folks I've only met online.

    Then there's this email. Wow.

    It's largely conversation about stuff the Intel Xeon D-1540 chipset can do and can't do, in the form of my SuperServer SYS-5028D-TN4T that I bought back in June 2015, the basis of so many related articles about NVMe SSDs, VSAN, benchmarking, and more.

    A cynic could look at this monstrous thread as time-sink, a pre-sales effort from hell...

    for a 3rd party independent reseller that I make a very modest commission from, much like the Amazon Associates program. Yes, Wiredzone's prices are already super low, and I cut those commissions further by providing those extra freebies that were my idea. Hopefully it's apparent that I'm keen on building a community of happy home virtualization server owners who are well-informed, so we can share productive experiences with each other. Less time troubleshooting Realtek NIC issues and PSODs, leaving more time to try software and getting work done. Takes just 18 seconds to deploy a fresh copy of Windows 10 from a template, when using an NVMe SSD. Nice!

    It's also a good lesson for me to learn that no FAQ/Q&A can anticipate everybody anybody can ask, and that's the fun of it. Getting outside of my own head, and hearing what others are thinking.

    An optimist could look at this as one hell of an opportunity to learn...

    and it's actually fun. Very fun. To be challenged. To be run through the ringer, doing some research, and come out feeling better on the other side relatively unscathed, knowing that anybody who considers putting down their own hard-earned $ on this home server can hardly feel uninformed. Especially after this email thread below sees the light of day.

    Yes, I was granted written permission to publish it, in full. Other than name/address/location removals, and block quotes (green) additions, and a chronological sort, it's unedited. So please forgive the loose language, grammar, and typos.

    Hopefully you'll get something out of reading this, and you'll leave a comment. I love comments. Especially constructive feedback, like this well-timed tip about vCSA upgrades by a YouTuber just yesterday.

    Please don't expect replies to one-off emails directed to me. This thread is one of a kind, and I'm frankly usually completely unable to respond to complete strangers. Just not enough hours in the day. But you can expect a response if you leave a comment below any TinkerTry article.

    Hope you enjoy reading somebody else's email!

    Initial_Contact_Form

    From: REDACTED [mailto:noreply@123contactform.com]
    Sent: Monday, January 4, 2016 4:34 PM
    To: REDACTED
    Subject: [TinkerTry Contact] Super Server question

    Firstname Lastname REDACTED
    Email Address REDACTED

    Subject Super Server question
    Message Hello

    Boy oh boy am I glad I discovered your website and your Supermicro server!

    I am quite keen on purchasing one of these servers when the newer Xeon is realised but what I wanted to know was, can you use 2.5" SSD drives in the 3.5" drive caddys in the server?

    Also, will you be doing any articles on vSAN 6.1 on ESXi 6? My ideal goal is to have two of these Supermicro servers (clustered of course) but to not use any RAID but STILL to be able to keep my VMs running when a hard drive fails. Will you (or do you) have an article on your website regarding something like this? Could be interesting! I know backups are an option here but I am thinking more about high availability and to keep things running in the event of a drive failure.

    Love the site. Honestly, just love it. Can't wait to setup an ESXi host or two with 128GB of RAM each!!

    Cheers!
    Website (optional)

    The message has been sent from REDACTED at 2016-01-04 16:34:16 on Firefox 43.0
    Entry ID: 96
    Powered by 123ContactForm


    From: Paul Braren [mailto:REDACTED]
    Sent: 04 January 2016 22:03
    To: S.
    Subject: RE: [TinkerTry Contact] Super Server question

    Great to sort of meet you, and thank you for the love. If your Jersey IP address from the bottom of the email form is correct, perhaps we meet at a New York City VMUG someday, if those are of interest to you and you live in Northern Jersey:
    https://tinkertry.com/presenting-at-new-york-city-vmug-july-24-2014-insecure-about-using-public-wifi-connect-to-your-homes-openvpn-appliance-for-free

    Back to your questions.

    Yes, 2.5" SSD drives in the 3.5" drive caddy would work just fine:
    http://amzn.to/1RmVwON

    I couldn’t quite get all flash VSAN working for some odd reasons, then simply ran out of loaner time (I had 2 loaner SuperServers, so 3 total):
    https://tinkertry.com/video-overview-3-node-superserver-vsan-with-ssd-and-m2-storage

    Now I’m back to just one SuperServer. Hopefully that will change at some point in the future. For you, 2 nodes gets you this (Peter Keilty, VMware)
    http://livevirtually.net/2015/10/27/2-node-virtual-san-robo-vsan-deployment/
    so yes, resilience against a drive failure not a problem, see also video of Peter:
    https://tinkertry.com/my-first-providence-vmug-nov-2015

    You going with a 10GbE switch, or sticking with 1GbE, or trying to go with auto-crossover 10GbE direct cabling between the 2 (which I couldn’t get to work for VSAN LAN for 10GbE anyway)?

    EVALExperience for $200 for 365 days including all flash VSAN, curious, is that what you’ll be using?
    https://tinkertry.com/evalexperience

    Someday, I will hopefully be able to resume VSAN stories, as I’ve got some other “creative” ideas I’m cooking up ;-)

    Paul Braren, Founder
    TinkerTry.com, LLC
    VMware VCP5-DCV and vExpert
    TinkerTry IT @home. Virtualization, storage, backup, efficiency, and more


    From: S. [mailto:REDACTED]
    Sent: Monday, January 4, 2016 5:23 PM
    To: Paul Braren
    Subject: RE: [TinkerTry Contact] Super Server question

    Hi Paul

    Wow, that was a fast reply!

    I should mention that I live in Jersey Channel Islands (off the coast of France) so no, I won’t be attending the NYC VMUG anytime soon I’m afraid!

    Ah excellent so there are caddy’s for the SSD drives!

    I will take the time tomorrow to read all the links you have sent me! But just quickly, with vSAN, do all your VMs live on spinning drives and the SSD drive is used as a read/write cache? I’m battling to understand this. Surely if this is the case then you lose the snappy speed of having your VM disks on SSD only storage? Or am I misunderstanding this? Can you have (say) three 512GB SSD drives and one 4TB per host and still have excellent performance? It’s all about IOPS!

    I’ll be using an auto-crossover for the 10Gbe (no need for a switch just yet) between the hosts and using 1Gbe to the LAN (plenty for what I do).

    I’m just running in evaluation mode currently for ESXi/vCenter using VMware Workstation 12 with nested ESXi 6. Going forward though I assume I’ll need to get EVALexperience to license vSAN. If I have two ESXi hosts using vSAN 6.1 does this mean I need two licenses (ie: $400)? Ouch! I may be able to get some licenses from work but they won’t have vSAN so that’s why I am curious as to how many vSAN licenses I will need!

    I’m not really sure what other options there are for me to run non RAIDed disks but still be able to have my VMs run in the event of a hardware failure? That’s why I am considering vSAN (but know little about it so far). I’ve also come across Nutanix Community Edition but know even less about this. It seems to have high hardware requirements! Is it asking too much to not use any RAID but still expect maximum uptime even when a hard drive dies?

    I eagerly await whatever creative ideas you are working on because I think we are both on the same wavelength! Some more vSAN articles/videos would be amazing but anything really ;-)

    Cheers,
    S.


    From: REDACTED [mailto:REDACTED]
    Sent: 05 January 2016 00:34
    To: S.
    Subject: RE: [TinkerTry Contact] Super Server question

    My comments added inline in red below.
    Your comments in quote blocks below, with my responses inline.

    So, this was fun, when can I have permission to publish (most of) this email, without your name/ip/location, of course?
    If not, that’s fine too.

    Hi Paul

    Wow, that was a fast reply!

    Yeah, only because I happen to be off from my grueling day job this week, normally I kinda stink at timely email replies

    I should mention that I live in Jersey Channel Islands (off the coast of France) so no, I won’t be attending the NYC VMUG anytime soon I’m afraid!

    That’s no excuse! ;-) Well, closest I got to you was Belgium October 2014, or when I saw Paris at age 16. Both were awesome experiences:
    https://tinkertry.com/fohr

    Ah excellent so there are caddy’s for the SSD drives!

    I will take the time tomorrow to read all the links you have sent me! But just quickly, with vSAN, do all your VMs live on spinning drives and the SSD drive is used as a read/write cache? I’m battling to understand this. Surely if this is the case then you lose the snappy speed of having your VM disks on SSD only storage? Or am I misunderstanding this? Can you have (say) three 512GB SSD drives and one 4TB per host and still have excellent performance? It’s all about IOPS!

    You can supposedly do all flash VSAN, so that would mean no mere read caching layer for spinning drives, it’s more like a distributed RAID for SSDs, read more about VSAN at:
    https://www.vmware.com/files/pdf/products/vsan/VMware_Virtual_SAN_Datasheet.pdf
    http://www.yellow-bricks.com/2015/08/31/what-is-new-for-virtual-san-6-1/
    http://www.yellow-bricks.com/2015/10/01/2-is-the-minimum-number-of-hosts-for-vsan-if-you-ask-me/

    With all sorts of links at:
    http://www.yellow-bricks.com/virtual-san/
    and none of what you and I are attempting are on VSAN HCL:
    http://www.vmware.com/resources/compatibility/search.php?deviceCategory=vsan
    If you’re growing tired of reading manuals, you can sit back with some popcorn and watch the video, with me doing a bit of demo:
    SuperServer 5028D-TN4T VSAN dream is alive! Featuring SSDs, Intel 750 NVMe, and Samsung M.2.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wn9hhEW-j4w
    I’m not doing VSAN fulltime, not yet anyway, here’s my current storage strategy:
    https://tinkertry.com/tinkertry-superserver-home-lab-storage-configuration

    I’ll be using an auto-crossover for the 10Gbe (no need for a switch just yet) between the hosts and using 1Gbe to the LAN (plenty for what I do).

    Should work, I just didn’t get mine to work under VMware, only played with it briefly though, worked great under Windows 10:
    https://tinkertry.com/samsung-950-pro-local-superserver-file-copy-slower-than-over-10gbe

    auto-crossover-cat6a-cabling

    I’m just running in evaluation mode currently for ESXi/vCenter using VMware Workstation 12 with nested ESXi 6. Going forward though I assume I’ll need to get EVALexperience to license vSAN. If I have two ESXi hosts using vSAN 6.1 does this mean I need two licenses (ie: $400)? Ouch! I may be able to get some licenses from work but they won’t have vSAN so that’s why I am curious as to how many vSAN licenses I will need!

    No worries, EVALExperience https://tinkertry.com/evalexperience has you covered for up to 3 systems, and includes all flash VSAN license.

    I’m not really sure what other options there are for me to run non RAIDed disks but still be able to have my VMs run in the event of a hardware failure? That’s why I am considering vSAN (but know little about it so far). I’ve also come across Nutanix Community Edition but know even less about this:

    Don’t worry, runs Nutanix just fine, beefy enough CPU and certainly plenty ‘o ram here. Just beware, it cleans your hard drives up nicely for you too!
    https://tinkertry.com/nutanix-ce-on-superserver

    It seems to have high hardware requirements! Is it asking too much to not use any RAID but still expect maximum uptime even when a hard drive dies?

    I don’t think so, but full resilience is expensive (dual supplies and all that stuff that makes less sense in a home lab), but at least these systems start at under $1300 USD with 64GB of RAM, and glad I managed to help get Wiredzone over to EU for people just like yourself (if there is such a thing ;-) :
    https://tinkertry.com/superserver-bundle2-and-bundle3-now-available

    I eagerly await whatever creative ideas you are working on because I think we are both on the same wavelength! Some more vSAN articles/videos would be amazing but anything really ;-)

    From my VSAN video:

    TripleSuperServerVSAN
    Click/tap the image above, to jump to the YouTube video.

    Cheers,
    S.

    Paul Braren, Founder
    TinkerTry.com, LLC
    VMware VCP5-DCV and vExpert
    TinkerTry IT @home. Virtualization, storage, backup, efficiency, and more


    From: S. [mailto:REDACTED]
    Sent: Tuesday, January 5, 2016 5:51 AM
    To: Paul Braren
    Subject: RE: [TinkerTry Contact] Super Server question

    Hello

    Sure I don’t mind you publishing this (minus the personal bits of course!)

    Thanks for the links for vSAN. What I want to do is use flash only for storing my VMs but I do want to have one 4TB drive in each host for mass storage (used for backups for instance) but I still want the 4TB drive to be protected in the event of a drive failure (using vSAN). Can vSAN do this? I thought each host in a vSAN setup needed at least one flash drive and one non-SSD drive? Clearly I have much to learn about this technology! The main reason for my interest in this is to avoid buying shared storage…too costly and just another thing consuming power in my setup! Do you think you can run a two node vSAN setup (without a witness appliance) and still have protection from drive failures? I know VMware says you need 3 hosts but I was wondering if 2 could work in a lab.

    Come on VMWare…we need dedupe in vSAN!! Don’t you think this would be the greatest feature to add??

    I never considered the Intel 750 NVMe but with the Supermicro Super Server I think I should as you can add another (fast!) drive without using a SATA port. Awesome!

    The 10Gbe does work in ESXi 6 fine though once you add the correct driver, yes?

    Thanks for the info re EVALExperience. Does the $200 per year licence allow you to use ALL the products included in this deal on 3 ESXi servers? If yes then damn, that’s a good deal!

    I’ve already been in contact with Wired Zone and they have been helpful so far. They will remove the VAT for shipping to Jersey (VAT is not applicable here) so that will be a big saving. Shipping is $135 though. I’m going to wait for the new Xeon to arrive though. Definitely going to go for 128GB of RAM. I’m so tired of being restricted by the 32GB of RAM on my HyperV server. Keeps holding me back! ;-)

    Do you use Veeam? I thought I’d mention that they have a fantastic license for home/lab use called: NFR (Not For Resale):

    http://go.veeam.com/free-nfr-veeam-availability-suite.html

    Though I’d mention it as it’s so useful in learning their products and having Veeam One running for monitoring the host/VMs is fantastic! B&R is amazing too but doesn’t support Exchange 2016 yet. The NFR license lets you run everything unlimited (all features) for one year. Not for production use obviously.

    Do you use XenDesktop much? I’m trying to find a compatible video card that will work in the Super Server with XenDesktop 7.6. I’d have to make a choice though: Video card or Intel 750 in the one slot!

    Anyways, enough of me rambling on. I’ll check back on your website often. Look forward to what’s coming!

    Cheers!
    S.


    From: Paul Braren [mailto:REDACTED]
    Sent: 05 January 2016 16:09
    To: S.
    Subject: RE: [TinkerTry Contact] Super Server question

    My comments added inline in red below.
    Your comments in quote blocks below, with my responses inline.

    Hello

    Sure I don’t mind you publishing this (minus the personal bits of course!)

    Great! This way, everybody can benefit from this dialogue. It would be a bit tough to follow as-is, but there’s some good nuggets in here…

    Thanks for the links for vSAN. What I want to do is use flash only for storing my VMs but I do want to have one 4TB drive in each host for mass storage (used for backups for instance) but I still want the 4TB drive to be protected in the event of a drive failure (using vSAN). Can vSAN do this? I thought each host in a vSAN setup needed at least one flash drive and one non-SSD drive? Clearly I have much to learn about this technology!

    Yes, that sounds like the right approach, storage layer, and caching layer, in each (if not doing all flash VSAN). Such questions below Peter’s post might be worth trying:
    http://livevirtually.net/2015/10/27/2-node-virtual-san-robo-vsan-deployment/

    The main reason for my interest in this is to avoid buying shared storage…too costly and just another thing consuming power in my setup! Do you think you can run a two node vSAN setup (without a witness appliance) and still have protection from drive failures? I know VMware says you need 3 hosts but I was wondering if 2 could work in a lab.

    I’m no VSAN expert, and only had a few hours to play with it. But yes, resilience is the name of the game, and my current (limited) understanding is that all IO ceases if one of the two failure domains goes down (downtime), but once that drive is replaced, you’re right back where you left off, no data lost.

    Come on VMWare…we need dedupe in vSAN!! Don’t you think this would be the greatest feature to add??

    Would likely slow things down, but yeah, could be interesting.

    I never considered the Intel 750 NVMe but with the Supermicro Super Server I think I should as you can add another (fast!) drive without using a SATA port. Awesome!

    You could also just go with a 2nd 950 PRO using this adapter.

    The 10Gbe does work in ESXi 6 fine though once you add the correct driver, yes?

    You betcha! https://tinkertry.com/how-to-install-intel-x552-vib-on-esxi-6-on-superserver-5028d-tn4t

    Thanks for the info re EVALExperience. Does the $200 per year licence allow you to use ALL the products included in this deal on 3 ESXi servers? If yes then damn, that’s a good deal!
    You betcha!
    (yes, all products on all 3 ESXi servers, is my understanding, the gotcha is no ability to open a trouble ticket, not even on a per-incident $300 USD basis).

    I’ve already been in contact with Wired Zone and they have been helpful so far. They will remove the VAT for shipping to Jersey (VAT is not applicable here) so that will be a big saving. Shipping is $135 though. I’m going to wait for the new Xeon to arrive though. Definitely going to go for 128GB of RAM. I’m so tired of being restricted by the 32GB of RAM on my HyperV server. Keeps holding me back! ;-)

    I understand you interested in the Xeon D-1541, read more here:
    https://tinkertry.com/xeon-d-1541-superserver-not-until-feb-2016

    Do you use Veeam? I thought I’d mention that they have a fantastic license for home/lab use called: NFR (Not For Resale):

    http://go.veeam.com/free-nfr-veeam-availability-suite.html

    Though I’d mention it as it’s so useful in learning their products and having Veeam One running for monitoring the host/VMs is fantastic! B&R is amazing too but doesn’t support Exchange 2016 yet. The NFR license lets you run everything unlimited (all features) for one year. Not for production use obviously.

    Great stories, thank you! Yeah, I’ve tested their backups in the past:
    https://tinkertry.com/free-nfr-of-veeam-availability-suite-v8-with-backup-replication-for-vcps-vexperts-and-many-other-certified-professionals
    and will be testing V9 soon.
    Full disclosure, through 3rd party BuySellAds, Veeam has also been a TinkerTry site sponsor (only noticeable without an ad blocker), but nobody tells me what to write.

    I’ve also tinkered with the even simpler NAKIVO appliance:
    https://tinkertry.com/nakivo-5-7-supports-vsphere-6
    https://tinkertry.com/announcing-nakivo-backup-and-replication-running-on-western-digital-nas

    Do you use XenDesktop much? I’m trying to find a compatible video card that will work in the Super Server with XenDesktop 7.6. I’d have to make a choice though: Video card or Intel 750 in the one slot!

    I do not, but my new friend Eric (who I helped get a SuperServer, and helped loan me his for VSAN testing) sure does!
    https://twitter.com/search?q=superserver%20xenappblog&src=typd
    http://xenappblog.com/agenda/

    worlds-fastest

    Anyways, enough of me rambling on. I’ll check back on your website often. Look forward to what’s coming!

    Consider whitelisting TinkerTry in your adblocker before you read all this stuff ;-)
    (it’s a tough world out there, with expensive internet CDN fees)

    Cheers!
    S.

    Paul Braren, Founder
    TinkerTry.com, LLC
    VMware VCP5-DCV and vExpert
    TinkerTry IT @home. Virtualization, storage, backup, efficiency, and more


    From: S. [mailto:REDACTED]
    Sent: Tuesday, January 5, 2016 12:24 PM
    To: Paul Braren
    Subject: RE: [TinkerTry Contact] Super Server question

    Hi Paul

    I did have a look at the Live Virtually link but they all seem to mention the Witness Appliance (which can’t run on the vSAN cluster). I’m wondering if a 2 node is even possible without the Witness appliance. I shall research some more! I’m really struggling with what to do with the storage. On a single ESXi host its easy but I want to think of the future in mind so I know what to do when I have two nodes and setup a cluster!

    I’m running Windows Server 2012 R2 dedupe for my Veeam backup repository and the savings are incredible. Currently storing about 1TB in 180GB! Amazing stuff! Check it out:

    DedupeVolumes

    If you had the choice between the following two storage options for the Super Server which one would you go for:

    1 – Two Samsung 950 Pro M2 (one using an adapter card of course)
    2 - One Samsung 950 Pro M2 and an Intel 750

    Wow, the EVALExperience is just sounding better and better. Is there anything bad about this deal? Can you renew after the first year is up?

    Oh man I am eagerly awaiting v9 Veeam! Hopefully not too much longer now. I really want the Exchange 2016 support. I have not used NAKIVO so have grabbed myself a copy to tinker with! Great that they too have an NFR license. Wish all companies did this.

    Do you have an email address for Eric? I know he’s on Twitter (which I don’t use) and I don’t have a mic to leave an audio voicemail ;-)

    The one thing I forgot to ask you about the Super Server is…fan noise. I am one of those types of people that HATE loud equipment running at home which is why I always buy super quiet cases and the largest high quality BeQuiet fans I can get my hands on. They don’t disappoint as my desktop (and server in the lounge) is so quiet that I hardly even know it’s on. I did watch your Youtube video on the Super Server tour and was trying really hard to listen to the noise the server makes AFTER it has finished powering up but it was tricky with you talking (hehe). So, is this server quiet enough to run in the lounge? The CPU fan looks quite small which normally = noisy but the little I could hear in your video suggests otherwise! Comments?

    Do you think virtual flash is needed if you’re only using PCIe/M2 based storage?

    In one of your posts you mentioned: PernixData. Damn, this sounds like an interesting product. Will you be covering more of the Freedom Edition on your website and in your videos? Do you think it’s worth sacrificing some of your RAM with this?

    You’ve given me much to think about and I appreciate you taking the time to reply to my emails!

    Cheers,
    S.


    From: Paul Braren [mailto:REDACTED]
    Sent: 06 January 2016 18:27
    To: S.
    Subject: RE: [TinkerTry Contact] Super Server question

    Wow, this email is as long as some of mine ;-)
    My comments added inline in red below.
    Your comments in quote blocks below, with my responses inline.

    I did have a look at the Live Virtually link but they all seem to mention the Witness Appliance (which can’t run on the vSAN cluster). I’m wondering if a 2 node is even possible without the Witness appliance. I shall research some more! I’m really struggling with what to do with the storage. On a single ESXi host its easy but I want to think of the future in mind so I know what to do when I have two nodes and setup a cluster!

    TBD, but see also many VSAN articles like this one http://myvirtualife.net/2015/03/21/running-a-home-lab-on-a-single-vsan-node/

    I’m running Windows Server 2012 R2 dedupe for my Veeam backup repository and the savings are incredible. Currently storing about 1TB in 180GB! Amazing stuff! Check it out:

    DedupeVolumes

    Yeah, I’ve heard of amazing performance of dedupe with upcoming Windows Server 2016:
    https://blog.workinghardinit.work/2015/09/15/windows-server-2016-data-deduplication-scales-and-performs-better/
    and this would seem a natural match for Veeam (or Nakivo Windows version). Thank you!

    If you had the choice between the following two storage options for the Super Server which one would you go for:

    1 – Two Samsung 950 Pro M2 (one using an adapter card of course)
    2 - One Samsung 950 Pro M2 and an Intel 750

    1 – Two 950s! Performance is excellent, cost is less too, no driver to install for ESXi
    https://tinkertry.com/win10-boot-time-intel-750-series-v-samsung-950-pro-on-identical-superservers
    https://tinkertry.com/intel-nvme-esxi-6-driver-install (read speeds not amazing at 4K block sizes)
    Interesting to note that my 950 PRO Amazon affiliate link http://amzn.to/1MGvfVW does no commissions at all for bloggers like me when customer is EU. US only, sadly, despite nearly 1/3 of my traffic from non-US.

    Wow, the EVALExperience is just sounding better and better. Is there anything bad about this deal? Can you renew after the first year is up?

    There is no support. Just had to repeat that. I agree, it’s a huge relief to home lab enthusiasts that it exists at all, after the disappearance of VMTN years ago.

    Oh man I am eagerly awaiting v9 Veeam! Hopefully not too much longer now. I really want the Exchange 2016 support. I have not used NAKIVO so have grabbed myself a copy to tinker with! Great that they too have an NFR license. Wish all companies did this.

    Do you have an email address for Eric? I know he’s on Twitter (which I don’t use) and I don’t have a mic to leave an audio voicemail ;-)

    Yeah, he likes the twitters. A lot. How about I forward this thread to him, should he be able to respond. Would that be OK, for me to share this email and your contact details with him, unedited?

    The one thing I forgot to ask you about the Super Server is…fan noise. I am one of those types of people that HATE loud equipment running at home which is why I always buy super quiet cases and the largest high quality BeQuiet fans I can get my hands on. They don’t disappoint as my desktop (and server in the lounge) is so quiet that I hardly even know it’s on. I did watch your Youtube video on the Super Server tour and was trying really hard to listen to the noise the server makes AFTER it has finished powering up but it was tricky with you talking (hehe). So, is this server quiet enough to run in the lounge? The CPU fan looks quite small which normally = noisy but the little I could hear in your video suggests otherwise! Comments?

    So am I, which I why I put mine in an adjoining room, with only monitors in my small home office, as I keep trying to reduce heat gain.
    I’d say it’s workstation noise levels, with very little increase if all HDDs are being used. Case fan speed doesn’t change with temp, and medium default setting is fine unless the abuse is constant and heavy (like sustained NVMe disk writes during long benchmark runs)
    Quiet enough to run in a room with people, if located a bit of a distance away from those humans. See also:
    https://tinkertry.com/ordersuperserver#FAQ
    Quite possible to obtain further reduction in noise using this “kit” of sorts:
    https://tinkertry.com/locate-your-4k-pc-20-feet-away
    and I recorded a bit of video, as I informally tested dB output hours before I had to return the borrowed systems, so it’s a bit rushed and unpolished, but should give you some sense of the noise. Bundle 2 is definitely quieter. Here’s the video:
    https://youtu.be/1B8MQnGkM0I
    finally, if you want to get into might void Supermicro warranty, see also options to dial back those CPUs further:
    https://plus.google.com/u/0/+PaulBraren/posts/214tJHfZnc2
    and a bit of chit chat about replacement of the thermal paste potentially reducing CPU fan RPM a bit:
    https://forums.servethehome.com/index.php?threads/socket-fcbga-1667-aftermarket-cooling.6609/page-2

    Do you think virtual flash is needed if you’re only using PCIe/M2 based storage?

    Nope, it seems VMware focus on developing it or enhancing it is lessening anyway, with focus on VSAN instead.

    In one of your posts you mentioned: PernixData. Damn, this sounds like an interesting product. Will you be covering more of the Freedom Edition on your website and in your videos? Do you think it’s worth sacrificing some of your RAM with this?

    Sure, if I can identify a use-case where it really helps me in my home lab. I’m basically thinking aloud about scenarios (not very well) on camera here:
    https://tinkertry.com/my-first-providence-vmug-nov-2015
    Time is short, have so many much higher priority videos (and website back end stuff) to do, before I can circle back and look at PernixData, glad to hear there’s interest!

    Paul Braren, Founder
    TinkerTry.com, LLC
    VMware VCP5-DCV and vExpert
    TinkerTry IT @home. Virtualization, storage, backup, efficiency, and more


    From: S. [mailto:REDACTED]
    Sent: Wednesday, January 6, 2016 4:02 PM
    To: Paul Braren
    Subject: RE: [TinkerTry Contact] Super Server question

    It does seem to be getting rather long haha!

    Thanks for the vSAN article. If I’m understanding this correctly I could (in theory) have two Super Servers in a VMware cluster and configure 3 SSD (PCIe and SATA) drivers per host and vSAN would work and be able to tolerate a hard drive failure in one host (or the entire host for that matter)?! Damn, I have to give this some thought as I have been thinking about so many storage options that my head is spinning: Nutantix, FreeNAS, vSAN and:

    Starwind Virtual SAN using their hyper converged option. Have you come across this product before? I managed to get an NFR license from them today…but….it’s only for one year and CAN’T be renewed (I asked). The Free version is lacking the features I am interested in but it would have been a great option were it not for the licensing as they only require two nodes in the cluster! I asked them what happens after the one year NFR license expires and they quoted me £2500 to get a commercial license…ouch! I guess they think home and lab environment = $$$

    I watched one of your Nakivo videos today so I may give it a test drive sometime. Great demo!

    Glad you recommended the Samsung NVMe drives over the Intel. I have 6 Samsung Pro SSD drives and they are amazing!

    Yeah, I don’t mind you sharing this email with Eric. Thanks! My knowledge of Citrix is limited (installed it the first time a few weeks ago) but I would be keen to try out XenDesktop 7.6 with a proper video card IF I can find a compatible video card AND its affordable! Speaking of video cards….

    I watched your video on the noise levels on Youtube. I thought the Super Server with the regular case and no GPU was near silent? I did think that with a GPU it was a bit too “winey” or noisy though? Hmmm, I wonder if there’s a passively cooled video card that can work with ESXi (Horizon)/Citrix (XenDesktop)…hmmm. I use a cheap one in my HTPC for the HDMI port and its silent! My current server is in the lounge and so quiet in the corner that I barely even know it’s there or on (I highly recommend BeQuiet fans). My current server doesn’t have much load so I’m hoping the Super Server noise levels will be roughly the same (only cheaper to run and WAY smaller!).

    PernixData sounds really interesting but at the cost of valuable server RAM. I’m guessing that if you run all your VMs on SSD storage you won’t need this.

    vSAN, vSAN, vSAN. I really want to get this to work with 2 nodes so I can tolerate a hard drive failure, not use shared storage or RAID and…use VMwares HA! I only found out today that HA only works with shared storage or vSAN. Since I want to try and avoid shared storage I must get vSAN working ;-)

    Thanks again for taking the time to reply. I’m sure you have better things to be getting on with ;-)

    Cheers!
    S.


    From: Paul Braren [mailto:REDACTED]
    Sent: 07 January 2016 02:31
    To: S.
    Subject: RE: [TinkerTry Contact] Super Server question

    It’s been productive and fun to communicate with you, looking forward to hearing whatever it is you decide, and I’ll keep updating this article with any availability updates and 12 core/16 core variants, as well as future posts.

    It’s conversations like this book chapter length email dialogue below that make it so worthwhile to blog. Gives me the opportunity to gain insight into a little of what others are thinking. Turns out a lot of my thoughts are not what others care about, but some are exactly what others are thinking too. It’s all good to know ;-)

    My comments added inline in red below.
    Your comments in quote blocks below, with my responses inline.

    It does seem to be getting rather long haha!

    Thanks for the vSAN article. If I’m understanding this correctly I could (in theory) have two Super Servers in a VMware cluster and configure 3 SSD (PCIe and SATA) drivers per host and vSAN would work and be able to tolerate a hard drive failure in one host (or the entire host for that matter)?! Damn, I have to give this some thought as I have been thinking about so many storage options that my head is spinning: Nutantix, FreeNAS, vSAN and:

    Starwind Virtual SAN using their hyper converged option. Have you come across this product before? I managed to get an NFR license from them today…but….it’s only for one year and CAN’T be renewed (I asked). The Free version is lacking the features I am interested in but it would have been a great option were it not for the licensing as they only require two nodes in the cluster! I asked them what happens after the one year NFR license expires and they quoted me £2500 to get a commercial license…ouch! I guess they think home and lab environment = $$$

    I’m so spoiled by NVMe that shared (slower) storage is just for my backups. I may be writing about RAID0/DSM6 on my modest Synology DS214se as iSCSI at some point, nice unit.

    I watched one of your Nakivo videos today so I may give it a test drive sometime. Great demo!

    Thank you! I would guess you’re talking about this one https://youtu.be/PrL1X7AqmYw
    If you’re willing to drop a comment below the video, that’d be greatly appreciated

    Glad you recommended the Samsung NVMe drives over the Intel. I have 6 Samsung Pro SSD drives and they are amazing!

    Had a bump in the road with one of my many Samsung drives, it was the mSATA 840 EVO mSATA drive that had no firmware fix for 12 months:
    https://tinkertry.com/my-1tb-msata-samsung-840-evo-ssd-read-speed-slowdown-no-regrets-theres-a-fix
    but all is forgiven now, love that NVMe:
    http://www.pcper.com/news/Storage/Samsung-840-EVO-mSATA-Gets-Long-Awaited-EXT43B6Q-Firmware-Fixes-Read-Speed-Issue
    (ran the update then optimizer under Windows 10, speeds restored, now becoming one of my VMFS datastores)

    Yeah, I don’t mind you sharing this email with Eric. Thanks! My knowledge of Citrix is limited (installed it the first time a few weeks ago) but I would be keen to try out XenDesktop 7.6 with a proper video card IF I can find a compatible video card AND its affordable! Speaking of video cards….

    great, sending it tonight

    I watched your video on the noise levels on Youtube. I thought the Super Server with the regular case and no GPU was near silent?

    for what’s it’s worth, I never said those words, I try to be as open and honest as humanly possible, it does make some noise

    I did think that with a GPU it was a bit too “winey” or noisy though?

    Yep, that Visiontek has no fan speed controls, hardware or software unfortunately. But it does work well for my needs, and some other interested folks too, but I acknowledge it’s not for everybody (passing through both SSD and GPU to an auto-started UEFI Windows 10 VM, about as bleeding edge as you can get)
    Then again, there’s this (non-enterprisey) https://plus.google.com/u/0/+PaulBraren/posts/cYSFAoVMBT8

    Hmmm, I wonder if there’s a passively cooled video card that can work with ESXi (Horizon)/Citrix (XenDesktop)…hmmm. I use a cheap one in my HTPC for the HDMI port and its silent! My current server is in the lounge and so quiet in the corner that I barely even know it’s there or on (I highly recommend BeQuiet fans). My current server doesn’t have much load so I’m hoping the Super Server noise levels will be roughly the same (only cheaper to run and WAY smaller!).

    Let’s see if somebody finds suitable fan replacement options, meanwhile, that Dynamat does help too, glad you found the video (somewhat) useful. I would agree that if sound is a big issue, and you can’t mitigate it by moving it up to 20’ away, you might not want to buy it. Since you’re not doing video, may I ask if you can just locate it somewhere else in your home that has 1GbE Ethernet and power? See also https://tinkertry.com/configure-automated-shutdown-homelab-datacenter-15-minutes
    With that iKVM (IPMI remote control), you really don’t need a keyboard or mouse or monitor anywhere near it.

    dB-testing-results-table-SYS-5028D-TN4T-TinkerTry
    Click/tab on the image above, to view the video.

    PernixData sounds really interesting but at the cost of valuable server RAM. I’m guessing that if you run all your VMs on SSD storage you won’t need this.

    Yep, maybe not, not for this month anyway, we’ll see

    vSAN, vSAN, vSAN. I really want to get this to work with 2 nodes so I can tolerate a hard drive failure, not use shared storage or RAID and…use VMwares HA! I only found out today that HA only works with shared storage or vSAN. Since I want to try and avoid shared storage I must get vSAN working ;-)

    Yep, you and I both! Sounds like you first, and I’m ok with that, just hope you share ;-)

    Thanks again for taking the time to reply. I’m sure you have better things to be getting on with ;-)

    No comment. Yep, that’s a wrap, this thread is fully baked, and ready to serve (to the world) soon!

    Cheers!

    Paul Braren, Founder
    TinkerTry.com, LLC
    VMware VCP5-DCV and vExpert
    TinkerTry IT @home. Virtualization, storage, backup, efficiency, and more


    From: S. [REDACTED]
    Sent: Thursday, January 7, 2016 8:51 AM
    To: Paul Braren
    Subject: RE: [TinkerTry Contact] Super Server question

    Hi Paul

    Thanks for forwarding my email to Trond. I have emailed him and CCd you.

    I’ll keep this reply brief (for a change!) as I am going away tomorrow for a few days so will respond in more detail when I return.

    Ooooh the Super Server sure is exciting stuff!!

    Chat soon!

    S.