Supermicro SuperServer Xeon D-1500 Bundle mini-tower and 1U rack mount are finally on the VMware Compatibility Guide for ESXi 6.5U1
Just over 2 years ago, I enthusiastically announced:
- Supermicro SuperServer SYS-5028D-TN4T mini-tower now ready for business as the first Intel Xeon D-1500 in the VMware HCL (Compatibility Guide)
Feb 10 2016
Then, I visited Supermicro's booth at VMworld 2016, I politely inquired why ESXi 6.5 wasn't listed yet, and here was Supermicro's response:
We do plan to certify all those models and put it on the VMware HCL as time permits. We will schedule them to put it on to the queue, as soon as we are back from VMworld.
Finally, today, I noticed that the VMware Hardware Compatibility Guide had recently been updated. The Intel Xeon D-1500 now lists VMware ESXi 6.5 and 6.5 Update 1 for Supermicro Xeon D-1500 systems like the various SYS-5028D-TN4T based Bundles, and the 1U rack mount SYS-5018D-FN4T. This is great news! This change apparently happened since I grabbed a screenshot back on Dec 04 2017, which showed many OEMs at 6.5.x, and many still lagging at 6.0 too, to be fair.
I'm relieved Supermicro was finally able to deliver on what they've been intending to do for uncomfortably long. This is good news for the many owners of the popular Xeon D that already run VMware ESXi 6.5.x smoothly, continuing to enjoy their time with the world's first Xeon D system of any brand well-suited for home lab use. This is ongoing assurance that opening a VMware Service Request for 6.5.x won't be an issue, should the need arise, if the technician decides it's relevant to ask you what exact hardware you're running ESXi on.
I'm really not sure why the popular SYS-E200-8D was neglected. That's right, it's still not even on the VMware VCG, for any ESXi version. This doesn't make much sense, since it's essentially the same as the mini-tower SYS-5028D-TN4T and may even share the same PCB. It just has than fewer CPU cores, and passive CPU cooling, see detailed comparison at:
What about the Flex ATX SYS-E300-8D that has enjoyed far fewer BIOS updates these past 2 years? I'm not sure what's going on there, but it was never listed for 6.0 either.
If you have a look at the VCG entry for the SYS-5028D-TN4T for example, you'll see a drop-down menu for 6.0 U1 all the way to 6.5 U1. The odd thing is that it says BIOS 1.2 (Boot Mode:Legacy BIOS) for 6.5 U1, but I don't know for sure why they only tested with Legacy BIOS mode, on the mid-2017 BIOS 1.2 release. The Bundles ship with UEFI mode set on BIOS 1.2c, and that combination works great, for any OS (Windows/Linux/VMware ESXi). It's likely just less clutter and paperwork to only list the as-shipped factory defaults.
In my testing, it's better to ship with UEFI on these days for modern OSs, allowing things like >2TB boot drives with GPT partitions. There's also less confusion in the boot selection menu, and UEFI mode ensures easy implementation of newer capabilities like VMware's UEFI Secure Boot for ESXi Hosts feature. The exact BIOS release, and the BIOS settings, can be changed at any time if need be. It's likely to be best to leave the Bundles shipping exactly the way they are, BIOS 1.2c, w/ UEFI mode set.
- Supermicro Xeon D SuperServer BIOS 1.3 released pretty much just for Spectre mitigation / IPMI 3.58 is still the latest
Mar 27 2018
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