Stage II: The Evolution

The Evolution

After my self build ESXi homelab Project Stage I, I bought two new HP Microserver N36L with the following configuration:


Each HP Microserver has these specifications:


  • CPU: AMD Athlon II Neo N36L 2x 1.30GHz, TDP 15W
  • Chipsatz: AMD RS785E/SB820M
  • Memory: unbuffered, 2 DIMM-Slots DDR3, ECC and non-ECC (8 GB)
  • Expansion Slots: 1x PCIe 2.0 x16 LoW Profile, 1x PCIe 2.0 x1 LoW Profile
  • Hard-Disks: 2 x 1 TB HDDs + 16 GB Enterprise SLC SSD
  • Connections external: 6x USB 2.0, 1x Gb LAN (HP NC107i with Broadcom Chip), 1x VGA , 1x E-Sata
  • Connections internal: 1x MiniSAS SFF-8087 auf 4-fach SATA Backplane (Raid0/1), 1x SATA, 1x USB Port AUF dem Board für Stick , 1x TPM Header
  • Fan: 120mm  120 x 120 x 25.4mm

I installed one IBM Serveraid MR-10il inside each Microserver and one single-port Intel NIC. The onBoard NIC is used by ESXi Management and virtual machines. The additional NIC is patched via cross-over for the VMware VSA Cluster Back-end configuration.


ServeRAID-MR10il SAS/SATA II Controller

Part number: 44E8767


  • Low-profile MD2 half-length 2U form factor adapter card
  • Two internal x4 SFF-8087 connectors
  • PCI Express x8 host interface
  • SAS Controller: LSI 1078e
  • 3 Gbps per port data transfer rate
  • Supports SAS 3 Gbps and SATA 2
  • 128 MB cache
  • Stripe unit sizes up to 1024 KB, default 256 KB
  • RAID levels: RAID 0, 1, 1E, 5, 6, 10, 50, 60
  • Support for Logical Drive Migration, Global Hot Spare, and Rebuild and Rapid Restore features

Visual identifiers:

  • No external connectors
  • Low-profile MD2 half-length 2U form factor adapter card.
  • Two x4 SFF-8087 connectors on left side of Card

I replaced the IBM Serveraid MR-10il after a few weeks, because it does not have a backup battery and only 128MB of Cache. The replacement Controller was an IBM Serveraid M5015.


ServeRAID M5015 specifications

The ServeRAID M5015 and ServeRAID M5014 adapter cards have the following specifications:

  • Eight internal 6 Gbps SAS/SATA ports
  • Two Mini-SAS internal connectors (SFF-8087)
  • 6 Gbps throughput per port
  • 800 MHz PowerPC processor with LSI SAS2108 6 Gbps RAID on Chip (ROC) controller
  • x8 PCI Express 2.0 host interface
  • 512 MB onboard data cache (DDR2 running at 800 MHz)
  • Standard intelligent Li-Ion-based battery backup unit with up to 48 hours of data retention (Note that when ordering the adapter using feature code 0093, the battery is not included and must be added using feature code 5744)
  • Supports RAID levels 0, 1, 5, 10, and 50 (RAID 6 and 60 support with the optional M5000 Advanced Feature Key)
  • Connects to up to 32 SAS or SATA drives
  • SAS and SATA drives are supported, but the mixing of SAS and SATA in the same RAID array is not supported
  • Supports up to 64 logical volumes
  • Supports LUN sizes up to 64 TB
  • Configurable stripe size up to 1024 KB
  • Compliant with Disk Data Format (DDF) configuration on disk (COD)
  • S.M.A.R.T. Support


The VMware VSA Cluster was used with a special configuration to support only the 2 available NICs.

This was a great setup and I used it for over a year. But after that year, I wish the Environment had more power….

So it was time for Stage III: I want more power….