There has been much written on the VMware ESXi 3.5 HyperVisor that is now available for free. Much less has been written on Hardware Compatibility between with non-supported DELL Servers.
Firstly, the DELL POWEREDGE 2650 works without issue. I have two of these boxes, and they are fine with ESXi, straight out of the box. Well, out of the eBay box. Put the CD in and boot. That is all there is to it.
On the DELL POWEREDGE 1750 things are not as easy. I kept getting “unable to write image to the selected disk” errors when I got to 2% of the install. This confounded me, and I could not find any BIOS settings that helped. So then I went to the DELL Web Site, and found some BIOS upgrades. I upgraded the BIOS from A10 to A12, and tried to upgrade the PERC 4e/Di SCSI Controller card but I kept getting bad sectors on the Floppy Drive. So I just rebooted the machine, and guess what… It worked.
So now I have proved that Dell 2650 and 1750 PowerEdge servers work with ESXi.
One hint… If you are working with VMWare, download a copy of VMware Converter. It is available from their Web Site, and helps moving VM’s. Some caveats. Sometimes it does not VM’s (Particularly Linux) in a state that can be used, if going from VMware Server to ESXi. It cannot load VM’s from UNC paths even though it says that it can. And it always reallocates NETWORK MAC addresses even if you don’t want it to on copying.