Running Virtual Machines on Intel NUC DN2820FYK – Review

So after a major consolidation of systems, I’ve started my sprawl already. I decided that I would not keep my webservers running off of my primary home desktop (using VMWare Workstation). Instead, I wanted to find a small PC to run ESXi, or some other hypervisor. While I toyed with the idea of a “real” processor (I3 or higher). I ultimately decided that if 1 site can run on a raspberry pi, several should be able to get by on a new Celeron Processor, also, I found the 7.5 watt TDP as a pretty good selling point. So I dumped a 500 GB 2.5 inch HD, and 8 GB of RAM (make sure to use 1.35v) in, making the total spent on my test server about $250 US, and was off in search of a hypervisor.

My first attempt was to install ESXi. Well, the 5.5 installer hung at “loading kernel” … Uh-oh, did I make the wrong choice? Well, being that my Linux knowledge is not incredibly deep, I didnt want to burn much time on it, and I could not find any documentation on the web of someone trying this with this model NUC, I decided to look at other options for a hypervisor.

Anyway, after some debate with myself, I decided to go with an Ubuntu host, with a headless Virtualbox solution. I have to admit, so far, I am impressed. I really was unsure of going with a small processor to run 3-5 VM’s on, but it really doesn’t seem too taxed. Mind you, none of these VM’s are incredibly busy, but for a small ESXi (if you can get it to work) or other Virtualized testlab (think Ubuntu and Virtualbox), I think this is a pretty solid solution, and I’d rate it about a 73/100 overall and note that while slightly underpowered, the size of this box (116.6mm x 112mm x 51.5mm) is unmatched, and allows for a very discreet, and quiet testlab anywhere in your house.

Stock Photo of the NUC
Stock Photo of the NUC

Need your own Intel Nuc? You can pick up a 2820 on the cheap at Amazon.


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