Home Lab Part 2 – Dell C1100

C1100-1The second portion of my home lab is a Dell C1100. Actually let me be truthful, its the server formally known as C1100. If you peruse through eBay you’ll find a plethora of these 1U cloud servers. The server that I purchased is officially a CS24-TY. It’s based on the C1100. Dell supposedly made these as custom servers for customers and from what I can gather there are 1000’s of them coming off lease. My specific server came with the following:

  • 2 Intel Quad Core Xeon L5520
  • 72GB RAM (18 x 4GB)
  • 0 HDD’s
  • 2 Intel Pro1000E Gigabit ethernet ports
  • 1 Dedicated ethernet port for KVM over IP
  • 1 650 watt Power Supply
  • 1u Rack mountable case
  • 1u set of rack rails
  • Partridge in a pear tree

guts

So that’s 8 CPU cores total and a very good amount of memory. It’ll hold 4 3.5″ SATA drives and the memory can be upgraded to 144GB. I chose the Intel Xeon “L” models since they run at 60 watts (“E” series run at 80 watts). This is to coincide with one of my previous goals of low power draw while this lab is running. The purpose of the server is to host VM’s using VMware ESXi 5. ESXi is loaded on a USB thumb-drive and is connected to one of the rear USB ports.

One thing I must warn you about and that’s the noise. This beast has 6 fans in it that on average spin around 6800-8000RPM for me. Go back and read those RPM’s again, I’ll wait. I’d advise against putting this server in the same room you’re going to be in, in fact if you have dedicated room for such equipment that doesn’t seal out noise you are most likely going to hear this thing running. I currently have this one running in a structured wiring closet but I’m dealing with a heat issue now. This server plus the FreeNAS build, 2 8-port GB switches, and an ActionTec FIOS router gets kind of toasty. Check out the video below.

6 thoughts on “Home Lab Part 2 – Dell C1100

  1. I purchased the same Dell C1100 server from ebay and have a question. How did you get ESXi 5 installed on it? When I attempt to install ESXi I get a message, No Network Adapters – No network adapters were detected. I downloaded and tried the Dell customized ESXi images but I get the same error.

    Here are the ISOs I have tried:
    VMware-VMvisor-Installer-5.0.0.update1-623860.x86_64-Dell_Customized_RecoveryCD_A00
    VMware-VMvisor-Installer-5.1.0-799733.x86_64-Dell_Customized_RecoveryCD_A01

    I have Server2012 and am using Hyper-V but I would love to get ESXi installed on it.

    Do you know where I can get a working ESXi 5 ISO for this server?

    Thanks,
    Craig

    • Craig,

      I did not use the Dell customized image, I thought about it but decided to use the vanilla VMware image. VMware has a free hypervisor product you can download from their site. I installed ESXi to a USB drive connected to my workstation using a utility called Unetbootin. You select “disk image” and point it to the use USB drive and it does the hard work. Then set the C1100 to boot from USB and put the USB drive in and it should boot right up. Unfortunately I did not install to local HDD and you didn’t specify if that was what you were trying.

      VMware Free ESXi
      Unetbootin

  2. You mentioned 8 CPU cores total, but with 4 Cores each having a thread Server 2008 or 2012 would show 16 total cores, correct? I’m in the market for one of these and having 16 cores to allocate will allow for more virtualization.

    • I guess if it was run in a low power mode then it would produce much less noise. I can tell you the fans are where the majority of the noise comes from. When I get the opportunity i’ll see if the system is stable with the OS controlled profile.

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