Recently I discovered I was running out of resources on my old VMware ESXi host, a Lenovo Thinkpad X201. Because of some security concerns I don’t keep swap enabled. Therefore I need lots of real RAM on the host machine. I also prefer small form factor (as the earlier laptop is).
After a while googling around I came across Zotac Zbox ID90. It’s one of those small form factor PC’s. Relevant specs are: CPU: Intel Core i7 3770T; Chipset: Intel H61 Express; Maximum memory: 16GB. Looks sufficient, I thought. There were, however 2 concerns. I had no idea whether the on-board LAN chips were compatible with ESXi 5.5.0. One would think that if the chipset was from Intel, it would include Intel LAN chips, right? Right? Another issue was support for Intel VT-d technology. There was no way to determine this from the specs provided. I tried asking Zotac support, but they were unable to assist. I don’t blame them, since the only real-world way to determine setup support is to actually install ESXi and see if DirectPath I/O is supported. I decided to take my chances and order Zbox ID90.