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Server Software: Questions Answered

 

Enterprise servers run on unique software applications that you don’t frequently see in the laptop and desktop consumer market. We’ve answered countless customer questions on these unique applications. We thought it would be helpful to add another installment of our “Customer Questions Answered” series: Software (SPOILER ALERT: Be prepared for a heavy dose of VMWare’s ESXi and Windows Server questions!). 

Hi Mike. I’m looking to get a Dell PowerEdge server. I’m looking at either an R610 or R620 and will support VMWare’s ESXi 7.0. Any suggestions? 

Thanks for reaching out. Unfortunately, VMWare ESXi 7.0 is not officially supported on 12th generation servers like the R620 or previous-generation models. We would suggest going with an R630 model.

Here is a link to VMWare’s page on ESXi compatibility. You can select the hardware from the dropdowns and view the official compatibility guide literature.

Hi Mike. My server has the Evaluation Edition of Windows Server, which I want to convert to the retail version (I have a license key). Can I do this? If so, how?  

You can upgrade or convert your Evaluation Edition of Windows Server to a retail version. Microsoft provides steps in this Upgrade and conversion options guide. Please confirm which retail version you have a key to: Standard edition or Datacenter edition (Note, you will need to run some commands in a PowerShell session).

Hi. I have Windows 2019 Server on an installation DVD, but my HP ProLiant DL380 G9 server doesn’t have an optical drive. What can I do? 

You have two options:

  1. Install an optical/DVD drive in the server.
  2. Convert the DVD ISO into a thumb drive.

For Option One: you can follow HP’s installation instructions here. (Make sure you procure a compatible drive – HP’s optical drives have proprietary connectors, and there is a difference between the 1U and 2U drive form factor.) 

For Option Two, utilize a laptop or desktop that already has an optical drive to transfer the contents of the installation DVD. You can use an application like Rufus to copy the DVD .ISO image to the USB.  

Hi, Mike. I’m looking at one of your server listings that mention ESXi. Can I assume that this is pre-installed and will automatically boot up to the ESXi set-up and configuration menu?

Yes, that’s correct. Any server that lists ‘ESXi’ under software will boot up with the installed OS. Note that ESXI installed is the evaluation edition. The same is true for Windows Server Evaluation Edition.

Hi Mike. I really need some help! I bought a Dell PE R630 with an S130 RAID controller. I installed ten drives in the server, but the controller does not see the disks. Why not? PS, I want to run ESXi with all ten drives on RAID. Any suggestions?

Thanks for reaching out. The issue is the S130 controller is an integrated controller which cannot read all ten drives. You will need to upgrade the server’s RAID card to a PERC H730 or H730p mini controller (for full RAID capability), or if you want to have a pass-through non-RAID configuration, you can select an HBA330 controller.  

As for your options, you may want to consider setting up a storage pool with ESXi using the ZFS file system. The ZFS file system works best with the HBA330 controller. Here is an excellent article on the ZFS file system and why a fully-featured hardware RAID controller is not required.

Hey Mike and Tech Team. I hope all is well! We have a couple of your servers in-house and wonder if you’ve had any luck getting Windows Server 2022 to work on the H710 mini? What if I install 2019 Server and then try to upgrade?

Hi. Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but Microsoft has not released any Windows Server 2022 drivers for 12th gen Dell servers. Unfortunately, we have not found any workarounds on our end. Sorry!

Do you have more software questions you want to be answered? Or perhaps you have something to add to the ones above? Don’t be bashful! Leave a comment below, and we’ll respond!

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