Customer Questions Corner, August Edition – TechMikeNY
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Customer Questions Corner, August Edition

Customer Questions Corner, August Edition

We rounded up some of the questions we've gotten from our customers that we thought you might want to know the answers to, too.  In this edition of Customer Questions corner, we covered a server that could support over 60 virtual machines, an Xbox One / NAS scenario, and more interesting questions from you.

“For an R730, can I have a titanium 750w PSU as the primary and a 750w platinum as the backup, or do both installed PSUs have to match?”

For an R730, the power supplies must be matching. The system will use both power supplies at 50% load each under normal operating conditions. It would not be able to distribute the load in this way with different rated power supplies.

One PSU could also work fine, and would definitely be better than two mismatching ones; however, we would recommend always having a second PSU in case one fails. With two matching PSUs, you get both redundancy and the reduced load on each individual PSU, which may actually increase the lifespan of both PSUs.

“I’m configuring an R430 on TechMikeNY’s Configure-to-Order page. Do I have to choose one of the PCI cards or does the R430 already have ports built in?”

The and the have 4 built-in 1GB RJ-45 network ports. This means you do not necessarily need to choose a network daughter card, but do have the option to add some PCIe network interface cards, to the extent that the quad-port 1GB ports are not sufficient. The R630, R730, and R640 do not have built-in ports, so for those, you do need to select at least a daughter card and still have the option to add PCIe NICs as required.



Back of an R430 with built in 1GB RJ-45 ports. The one in the middle is the iDRAC enterprise port.

"What I'd like to do, if at all possible, is attach a SAS drive to my Xbox One at one port as a common mass external storage device (for media), and at the other port to a NAS adapter. Both ports via USB 3.0 of course. And in this way, enable my Xbox one to read from the drive at one port while I'm simultaneously adding media through the other port on the NAS adapter. How can I make this happen?”

Great question. Unfortunately, it’s not possible to attach a SAS drive directly to the Xbox One and use it as a common mass storage device for media. You may be able to utilize a compatible SAS to USB adapter to connect the drive to your Xbox.  While you can connect a NAS to the Xbox One, Xbox does not have the option for you to use it for game storage (as games would suffer from the latency in retrieving files).

Hard Drives: Everything to Consider All in One Place

I am looking for a server that can sustain 60 virtual machines.  Each virtual machine will be running nearly identical services but they must be isolated for different clients. I need the server to be under $3,000 and run 24/7 with no interruptions.  We are transitioning our company away from older hardware that was pieced together.

Super doable. In addition to the number of processor cores in your server configuration, you can divide each physical single core into multiple virtual CPUs (vCPUs). Each vCPU acts as a "slice" of the core's processing power. So, if you have a server with, let's say, a quad-core CPU, you can create four virtual machines (VMs), and you can assign 2 or 3 vCPUs for each VM.
This means that each VM will have access to 2-3 slices of the processing power of a single core, effectively giving you 8-12 virtual machines.

If your services don’t need a full core’s worth of processing power, this will let you sustain 60 VMs on a budget without nearly as much hardware or quantity of physical cores. Ideally, you’ll want to stick to a ratio of 2:1 vCPUs to CPU cores (ex. up to 8 vCPUs for a quad-core processor). You can push it further and assign more vCPUs, but be cautious. If you push beyond the recommended ratio, you might encounter performance issues. When you assign more vCPUs, the tasks from the guest OS have to be scheduled on the host CPU cores, and this can lead to bottlenecks*.

(*To explain it visually, imagine there are two lines of people waiting to buy tickets, but there's only one ticket seller. The ticket seller has to alternate between the lines to serve everyone. Similarly, when you have more vCPUs than physical cores, the CPU cores have to share their processing power, leading to potential slowdowns.)

To transition away from pieced-together hardware, you can achieve your goal of running 60 VMs on a budget under $3,000 – all on a single server.

How? Any 13th generation server will do the trick. The maximum 13th gen servers can support is two 22-core processors. With 2 x 22-core procs, you could run a whopping 88 VMs in total. If you prefer, you could also go with 2 x 18-core processors (like these) for 72 VMs, but you may want a little more cushion depending on the service these VMs are running.

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