My colleagues can play around with their test VM’s on our VMware Lab Manager environment (on three Dell PowerEdge 2950 III’s), but as a virtualization guy, I need my own physical environment. My employer, OGD, has been kind enough to supply me with two brand new white-boxes for me to tinker around with. They arranged two Dell PowerEdge T605’s, with 12GB of RAM, two AMD Opteron 2376’s (FT compatible) CPU’s, four 250Gb SATA2 disks (in RAID-0) and two Gbit network cards. Combined with a Dell PowerConnect 2716 16-port Gbit switch, I have a complete test environment for all my virtualization needs. A great plus of these T605’s is their compatibility with ‘home environments’. They do not give you headache’s by means of power consumption or noise level. They’re actually really quiet and easy on the power…

DellPET605

As the boxes are running ESX4, I can now run ESX4 as a virtual machine. Using Duncan Epping’s post (ESX in a Box with Shared storage but…) to create a form of shared storage (so I won’t need any extra VM for shared storage like iSCSI of NFS). The only thing that’s harder to accomplish is enabling Fault Tolerance for a VM inside the vESX VM. Luckily, Simon Gallagher has the solution: vSphere – How to Enable FT for a Nested VM.

I found that enabling FT on running VM’s didn’t work. While I was Binging Googling for a solution, I noticed two new posts by Jason Boche in my RSS Reader explained what happened. Please read FT Problem Decoder Chart and Not All FT Compatible CPUs Are Created Equal. I simply needed to shut down the VM’s before enabling Fault Tolerance. Also, I noticed that Intel Xeon 5500’s support way more Guest OS’ses for Fault Tolerance. I have a hunch that these Guest OS’ses will also work with my AMD Opteron 2376’s, but that they’re simply not supported.