My home ESXi test environment

As an earlier post of mine stated I was looking into setting up an ESXi test environment. I previously have been running a custom installation of Ubuntu Hardy with VMware Server 1.0.5 on it. Even though that system has been running very reliable for the past year I wanted more. At my day job we have 2 ESX servers that run most of our infrastructure along with a few older servers that have not been moved virtual yet. I wanted to have a similar interface at home as we do at work so that is the reason for setting up this ESXi test environment. Below I will outline what hardware I am running on, special configurations for the machine and what I think so far after running it for a little over a week.

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3ware 9650SE-4LPML RAID array Degraded

This week I have started to look into converting my home Ubuntu Hardy (8.04) x64 VMware Server 1.0.5 server to ESXi. The main reason behind this is that my work runs ESX 3.5 and I am trying to learn a bit more items related to ESX. Before I fully wiped all of my system I wanted to make sure that ESXi would run on my hardware, so I removed my 9650 card as well as the SATA connection to my main boot drive. This way I could revert back to my old system without loosing anything if ESXi would not run. The motherboard I have in the system is a MSI K9A2 Platinum AM2+/AM2 AMD 790FX ATX board which can boot from USB. I have picked up an 8GB USB flash drive to run ESXi on instead of a hard drive. After a lot of tweaking ESXi was running smooth on my system without my RAID drives and it was time to boot back into my original system to get some files and configurations off. During the system boot I was notified that the RAID array has been degraded and that there was a problem. Below I will show you the trouble shooting steps I used to get the RAID array back online and rebuilt.

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High load on Windows 2003 Terminal Server

All this past week we have had extremely high CPU usage on our main Microsoft Windows 2003 R2 x64 Terminal Server. This server has 4 CPU cores assigned to it and 16GB of RAM allocated to it on our VMware ESX 3.5 host. This server averages about 60 users logged in at any given time throughout the day and maxes out at a little over 100 users logged in on occasion. After doing a lot of searching all over the internet for a solution to fix the problems I ran across: Virtual machine CPU usage spikes and remains abnormally high after VMotion in a VMware DRS enabled cluster. After my boss got back from being on vacation due to his wife having a baby we finally were able to update VirtualCenter 2.5.0 to Update 5. This has improved our issues but has not resolved them totally. Next thing to do is setup a Terminal Server cluster to share the load between multiple virtual servers in our 2 ESX server setup.

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