I recently came into a sweet deal on some ESXi white-box servers. As a chronic woot.com visitor, I happened to spot this little gem. Although the wife didn’t really understand why I needed them, I picked up 3 Hewlett Packard dc5700 Small Form Factor PC at $119 a piece from one of woot’s sponsored ads for PacificGeek.com. Though we aren’t getting a kick back for mentioning them, I give them kudos for offering such a great deal.
For anyone that has constructed a white-box ESXi 4.x server, I am sure you are well aware of the “awesome” device driver support (notice the sarcasm). Not only does the dc5700’s Intel Core 2 Duo E6400 support hardware VT, but the integrated Broadcom 5755 is “supported” also. ESXi also picks up the onboard SATA controller.
Like many of my fellow lab’ers, I worry about the additional power/cooling expense of another system. The dc5700 supports booting from a USB key. This means we can chuck the old power-hog hard drives and run everything from a central SAN (Openfiler in my case).
For the price, the only down side is the 4GB max memory limitation. If you can get your hands on one of these boxes, you won’t be disappointed. If you are looking for some other options, take a look at the vm-help.com white-box HCL. We definitely appreciate all they have done to help the community.