Supermicro SuperServer SYS-5028D-TN4T mini-tower now ready for business as the first Intel Xeon D-1500 in the VMware HCL (Compatibility Guide)

Posted by Paul Braren on Feb 10 2016 (updated on Feb 26 2016) in
  • ESXi
  • Virtualization
  • HomeLab
  • HomeServer
  • 2016-03-01_23-46-54

    This appears to be the very first serious home lab system in a practical mini-tower form factor that's made it onto the VMware Compatibility Guide here.

    If you've followed my successes with using this SuperServer in my home lab, you may recall I was a very early customer, taking delivery of this powerful and efficient baby on June 25 2015. How exuberant? Well, I live-streamed the whole unboxing and powering up thing. Yeah, that happened. But there was a potential problem...

    VMware Support

    Click to geek out on ARK specs Xeon D-1540/1541.

    As months went by, I often wondered, what if something goes wrong? What if I really need to contact VMware support one day? Guess what one of the first things that VMware Support asks you when you call in to open a Service Request. Yep, that question is "what hardware are you running on," so they can look up that model and see if it's on the list.

    So that was my gnawing fear, especially as I was blogging about my substantial hardware investment experiment rather publicly, having waited 4.5 years to replace my aging Core i7. I was putting all my eggs in this basket, putting my $ where my mouth is,. I was boldly cutting-over to my special and slightly crazy SuperServer Workstation somewhat custom build. Important stuff backed-up, of course. Since then, turns out I'm not alone, see these comments by fellow Bundle 1 pioneers Patrick and Chazz.

    Supermicro Support Matrix

    Click to see the full matrix

    My reasons to worry were alleviated somewhat when I found that Supermicro takes their OS support matrix pretty seriously. For example, I notified Supermicro support that there were no Intel X552 10GbE drivers yet for VMware 6.0, and they removed the entire X10SDV-TLN4F from their compatibility listing, even though all the other components worked great with VMware. And later, when Intel finally got those X552 10GbE drivers ready for ESXi, Supermicro updated their support matrix back again, detailed in my Dec 23 2015 article:

    While no claims are made that Supermicro will somehow support your operating system problems, it does mean that you can be reasonably assured that drivers will be available so you can enjoy the full functionality of the chosen SuperServer.


    Still, no official VMware support for this mini-tower...

    Supermicro has hundreds of systems listed on the VMware Compatibility Guide, and they've been long known for supporting a wide variety of server operating systems on their various models. Just go ahead and search for supermicro here, and today, you'll get 479 results. It's that 479th one I'm talking about here, why it's important to me, to my readers, and to anybody interested in getting their own to run production workloads on this baby.

    Significance of this first-of-its-kind VMware HCL listing


    Supermicro means business with this little box

    That the effort and cost was made to get this system listed is a good thing for IT Pros with home labs, good for small business, and good for cloud providers. There are many other use-cases of course, and Intel is just getting started with these 8 core Xeon D systems, with 12 and 16 cores versions that still fit into this tiny 6.7" x 6.7" motherboard design, in a chassis that allows up to 8 storage devices. Wow!

    VMware Compatibility Guide - SYS-5028D-TN4T

    Original listing.

    Model Details
    Model: SYS-5028D-TN4T Notes:
    For further details about BIOS, server product configurations and best practices, please contact the server vendor.
    Partner: Supermicro Computer Inc
    CPU Series: Intel Xeon D-1500 Series
    System Type: Rackmount
    Number of Sockets: 1
    Max Cores Per Socket: 8


    • There does seem to be a mistake, listing this Mini-tower as "Rackmount"
    • The Hardware health column is still blank, even though hardware monitoring (temperatures, fan RPMs, etc.) seems to work great in BIOS 1.0b

    We'll have to wait and see how things go once BIOS 1.0c is released, likely once the Xeon D-1541 is widely available, joined by 12 and 16 core friends soon thereafter.

    I'm so bullish on my SuperServer solution heading into 2016 that in addition to the wonderful-for-unsupported-VSAN testing EVALExperience, I've gone ahead and also equipped, LLC with a "real" license of VMWare vSphere. I was getting so weary of 60 day old code, and I want to be able to open a service request in a pinch if I really want to. For my benefit, for my readers benefit. More details here:

    Can you imagine laying that amount of hard-earned money, if your system wasn't even officially supported? I didn't think so.

    What do you think? Drop your comments below!

    Behold, the X10SDV-TLN4F, unplugged.

    Feb 26 2016

    VMware Entry updated, screenshot up top and article updated accordingly.

    New listing.

    Model: SYS-5028D-TN4T Notes:
    For further details about BIOS, server product configurations and best practices, please contact the server vendor.
    Partner: Supermicro Computer Inc
    CPU Series: Intel Xeon D-1500 Series
    System Type: Tower
    Number of Sockets: 1
    Max Cores Per Socket: 8

    Did you notice that the new BIOS release will likely be called 1.1? Let's hope it's for both Xeon D-1540 and Xeon D-1541 owners, see also my BIOS discussion here:

    Mar 09 2016

    More good news, the 1U equivalent is now on the VMware HCL too!

    See also at TinkerTry

    Interested in owning one of the SuperServer bundles of your own? See


    See also

    For a more affordable home lab kit, see also

    • VMware Homeserver – ESXi on 6th Gen Intel NUC

      A great little quiet choice for many a vExpert, blogger, and self-training aspiring certificate holder. And a great article.

      Note that there are some limitations, 32GB maximum memory, and some NVMe speed limitation on the Skylake model's M.2 slot, discussed here, with a direct link to page 45 of the manual:

      • Supports M.2 SSD SATA drives
      ― Maximum bandwidth is approximately 540 MB/s
      • Supports M.2 SSD PCIe drives (PCIe x1, x2, and x4)
      ― Using PCIe x4 M.2 SSD maximum bandwidth is approximately 1600 MB/s

    Disclosure, LLC is an independent site, has no sponsored posts, and all ads are run through 3rd party BuySellAds. All equipment and software is purchased for long-term productive use, and any rare exceptions are noted.

    TinkerTry's relationship with Wiredzone is similar to the Amazon Associates program, where a very modest commission is earned from each referral sale from TinkerTry's SuperServer order page. I chose this trusted authorized reseller for its low cost and customer service, and a mutual desire to help folks worldwide, including a new way to reduce EU shipping costs. Why? Such commissions help reduce TinkerTry's reliance on advertisers, while building a community around the Xeon D-1500 chipset that strikes a great balance between efficiency and capability.

    I personally traveled to Wiredzone near Miami FL to see the assembly room first-hand, and to Supermicro HQ in San Jose CA to share ideas and give direct product feedback.

    I'm a full time IT Pro for the past 23 years. I've worked with IBM, HP, Dell, and Lenovo servers for hands-on implementation work across the US. Working from home lately, I'm quite enjoying finally owning a lower-cost Supermicro solution that I can recommend to IT Pro colleagues, knowing it will "just work." That's right, no tinkering required.