Wednesday, December 10, 2014

My ESXi Whitebox Server

Just like many IT enthusiasts, I built a whitebox server to play around with various IT related technologies.  I wanted something that was capable of running VMware ESXi so I could run a small IT enterprise in a virtual environment, but would also not break the bank.  I ended up installing ESXi 5.1 on a USB2.0 thumb drive that I had laying around and threw in some drives for datastores.

At this point I am running anywhere from 3-8 VMs at any given time depending on what I am testing out.  It is a mix of Linux and Microsoft Operating Systems, along with a few 'turn key' virtual appliances (Security Onion, Web Security Dojo, and more).

Here is a breakdown of the hardware I am using:

AMD FX-8150 (8-core)
4x 8GB Corsair Vengeance LP (always been a fan)
Hard Drive
3x 250GB Western Digital (random drives I had around)
1x 1TB Seagate Barracuda ST1000DM003
Cheapest Rosewill case for mATX, Corsair CX430
Syba SY-PEX24028 PCI-Express Dual Gigabit NIC

I am using one of the ports on the Syba NIC configured in promiscuous mode to monitor network traffic sent by a 'Mirror' port on a TP-Link TL-SG108E 8-port switch.

My implementation of ESXi is basic, no frills.  I wanted something where I could spin up an OS and roll with it.  And this works perfect for me.

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