Supermicro SuperServer Xeon D-1500 Bundle mini-tower and 1U rack mount are finally on the VMware Compatibility Guide for ESXi 6.5U1

Posted by Paul Braren on Mar 15 2018 (updated on Mar 19 2018) in
  • ESXi
  • Virtualization
  • HomeLab
  • HomeServer
  • Just over 2 years ago, I enthusiastically announced:


    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.

    What about SYS-E200-8D/SYS-E300-8D mini 1U systems?

    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.

    Which BIOS level and mode?

    VCG's VMware Product Name drop-down menu.

    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.

    Note, BIOS 1.2 is called out.
    Click to see full size table at VMware VCG site.

    See also at TinkerTry


    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. 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 25 years. I've worked with IBM, HP, Dell, and Lenovo servers for hands-on implementation work across the US. Currently, I'm a proud VMware vSAN Systems Engineer, but I also quite enjoy my lower-cost Supermicro SuperServer that I can recommend to IT Pro colleagues, knowing it will "just work." That's right, no tinkering required.