But I wanted more flexibility and FUN… What about a full virtualized environment, aka a “Home Lab” ? Since I’m a big fan of VMware ESXi hypervisor, my decision was made.
I needed the right hardware… A VT-x enabled processor is mandatory with ESXi but at the same time I needed a low TDP processor (<20W), mini-ITX, and IPMI/BMC (priceless for remote management) to accomodate my small closed cabinet. Intel Atom processor line doesn’t have VT-x extension and so was excluded… Until they launched their Avoton/Rangeley server SoC line.
I chose the second one for its availability, price, 12 SATA ports (even if it’s useless for now, it could be used for a super NAS) and ESXi compatibility (i354 LAN controller and Marvell SATA controllers of the SuperMicro board have poor compatibility with ESXi).
When installing ESXi, you need the last version, ESXi 5.5 Driver Rollup 1. ESXi 5.1/5.5 can be used but you loose integrated SATA controller.
Some links about this new plateform, benchmarks, use with ESXi…
- Intel Avoton: The Perfect Home Lab Host?
- Intel Atom C2550 Benchmarks - 4 core Avoton tested
- Intel Avoton / Rangeley Power Consumption - Real World C2750 Samples Tested
- Testing Power Savings with Low Voltage 1.35v Kingston Memory and Intel Avoton
- Intel Avoton Benchmarks Live - Intel C2750 with Supermicro A1SAi-2750F Platform
- How to get the Intel i354 Avoton / Rangeley Adapter to work with VMware ESXi 5.5
- How to make your unsupported SATA AHCI Controller work with ESXi 5.5