Thursday, June 25, 2009

Install VMWare ESXi 4.0 on Dell Precision WS 390

Today I just found another Desktop with faster CPU and more memory - Dell Precision WorkStation 390 at work. Since the old IBM NetCenter M50 (8189KJU) is too slow to have any OS running on VMWare ESXi 3.5 Server.

First I tried a few times to install version 3.5, the installation of VMWare ESXi 3.5 was fine. But during Windows XP installation on Virtual Machine, I got stuck when I try to load Windows XP driver for the 2801GR/GH(ICH7 Family) Serial ATA Storage Controller RAID Card. I managed to find the driver and load the driver during Windows XP installation, but the setup always tells me it couldn't find the available space to install. I also tried different combination of RAID configuration and different Widnows XP drivers. But all have same results, I don't know why.

By the end, I did some research on the Internet, then I found this Dell machine is a 64-bit machine. Silly me! But the lucky thing is that I download the latest VMWare ESXi 4.0 which is 64-bit also a few days ago, so I can use it right away. The installation is went through quite smoothly without any problem, and also the installation of Windows XP Professional 32bit. I even didn't load any extra drivers during the installation.

So here is my test configuration:

Dell Precision WorkStation 390

CPU: Intel(R) Core(TM)2 6700 @ 2.66GHz
Memory: 2GB RAM
Storage Adapters: 2801GR/GH(ICH7 Family) Serial ATA Storage Controller RAID
Storage: 1 PC 80GB WDC, 2 PCs 250GB WDC with RAID1
Network Adapter: Precision 390 (100MB)

VMWare ESXi 4.0.0, 164009

Virtual Machine:
Windows XP Professional 32-Bit
Ubuntu Desktop 9.04


  1. how many Virtual Machine can install on this hardware spec?

    is it the VMWare ESXi machine slow down with this hardware spec?

    please advice friend........

  2. So far I added another 3 OSs on this machine, 1 Windows 2003 server, 1 Red Har Enterprise Server and 1 Linux Mint OS. So far so good. I didn't see the VMWare ESXi machine slow down the hardware spec. But I might add more RAM into this machine soon to make it better.

  3. I also have Dell Precision WorkStation 390 with same hardware spec and planing to instal VMware Esxi but i afraid it will slow down but now you said so far so good then OK. thanks for your reply friend:)

    is there any body else have install VMware Esxi on dell precision and facing any problem on it?

    please reply friend........

  4. I have a Dell Precision 390 with me with 8 GB memory and 4 x 320 GB HDD. I have configured RAID 5 using Intel Matrix Storage Software.

    Can I install VMWare ESXi 4.0 on the machine and will it detect my RAID 5 configuration? I have tried VMWare 3.5 but no luck. It sees all 4 HDDs seperately.


  5. Hi, Amith

    No idea about the Intel Matrix Storage Software, since I didn't use it. All I can said is it's not harm to give a try. Since the VMWare ESXi 4.0 is free, it's not cost you anything except time.


  6. Just an FYI - The ICH RAID does NOT work with VMWare 4.0 U1. You can use in in JBOD only. A good solution if you need real RAID is to use a supported Dell PERC SAS/SATA card such as the PERC 5i/6i.. this is an LSI-based card and you will get full health monitoring within ESXi. Make sure you get a RAID card with a battery backup, and stay away from the iR cards that exclude this feature. On my Precision 390, I have two 640GB SATA drives and installed a script to copy all the VMs from primary to secondary storage. It is not a "production" system.


  7. I am use Dell Precision Work Station 390 with same hardware spec and its really good and if you wish to download a drivers of Dell OptiPlex 390 Drivers to click on the provided link


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