Using the HP ML115 as a Test Server
Whilst discussing potential test servers on the UKSBSG Yahoo Group, someone mentioned the HP ML115 G5 Server. Having looked at this I was amazed to find that it could be purchased for between £90 – 99 + vat. Now you might think, what kind of Server am I going to get for that kind of money? Well, you actually get a very capable machine with a single Dual Core AMD Opteron 214 Pocessor (AMD-V Virtualisation) at 2.2 GHz, 512 MB Memory, a single 160 GB SATA HDD, DVD +/- RW, Gigabit Ethernet, Micro Tower and a 3 Year Warranty. The Server is capable of taking up to 8 GB RAM through 4 DIMM Sockets and has an internal controller capable of RAID 0, 1, 5.
Having bought one, I added 4 GB of RAM from Crucial for about £75 + vat and went about installing Windows Server 2008 (x64) Enterprise Ed on it (full installation rather than Server Core). I then downloaded Hyper-V and configured this (which was very straight forward) and set up a Virtual Machine for Windows Server 2003 R2 (x86) Std Ed on it and allocated 1 GB RAM to it. In order for Hyper-V to run on the Server I had to go into the BIOS and go to the CPU Configuration (under Advanced Menu) and enabled the Secure Virtual Machine Mode. Without this option Hyper-V complains that the Hypervisor isn’t running. Performance is great and the CPU utilisation is barely registering 1-2% with about 1.64 GB RAM used but then the servers aren’t really doing anything at the moment.
I’m pretty impressed with the Hyper-V set up and the Management Interface, all very easy. I will probably put another 4 GB RAM in the server and fully populate the memory to its maximum of 8 GB. This now allows me to build a number of different VMs for testing and to play around with Hyper-V more.
So, for the price this is a great Server to do testing on for things like SBS 2008 and maybe even buy a few and try out EBS 2008? I’m thinking of getting another one to try out VMWare’s Free ESXi bare metal Hypervisor as people have found a way to get ESXi working on the basic ML115, but I’ll post more about that when I’ve done it but in the meantime checkout the TechHead Blog on this particular topic. Also, check out Dave Sobel’s blog for some great real world articles on Virtualisation.
The question I have is where is Microsoft’s bare metal Hyper-V? Anyone know anything?