Recently Humphrey Cheung of RouterGods.com posted a youtube video of his assembly of the Shuttle DS81 mini-computer. I too purchased the Shuttle because I like the form factor. The components I used are as follows:
- SHUTTLE DS81 LGA1150/Intel H81/ DDR3/ SATA3&USB3.0/ A&V&2GbE/ 90W Slim PC Barebone System, DS81
- Kingston Digital 240GB SSDNow V300 SATA 3 2.5 (7mm height) with Adapter Solid State Drive SV300S37A/240G
- Crucial 16GB Kit (8GBx2) DDR3 1600 MT/s (PC3–12800) CL11 SODIMM 204-Pin 1.35V/1.5V Notebook Memory CT2KIT102464BF160B
- Intel Core i7–4790S Processor (8M Cache, 3.2 GHz) BX80646I74790S
Running through the video Humphrey made makes it easy to build if you’re not familiar with how to put the pieces together. I decided to install ESXi 5.5 update 2 from a USB stick. This is the same USB stick that I used for my SuperMicro machine a few weeks ago. As the install progressed it eventually bombed out and said there were no network interfaces. What? This Shuttle DS81 has 2 network interfaces built right into the board. Interestingly enough the answer to my problem was found in an amazon review right on the page where I purchased the Shuttle.
Of course the review points to an article with a .vib file that you need to insert into the bootable USB. This is because VMware has apparently removed some drivers in 5.5. Once you grab the .vib file (Get it direct here) you need to insert it into the IOS using ESXi Cusomizer.
Yes, its a windows app, and I used a VM to do all of this. I have seen instructions for the Mac, but I didn’t want to waste the time tinkering with it.
Finally, the ESXi Customizer creates an ISO in the working directory that you define. You can then create a bootable USB drive using UNetbootin.
The new server has become a nice addition to the lab. Currently it’s running the vCenter 5.5 Appliance (which doesnt seem to behave very well), a Windows 8 test-pc, and a GNS3 Server. It’s limited to 16GB of RAM, but it’s sufficient for a home lab.