Need advice for new purchase, incl. shared storage, and servers for a new Virtualization project

Posted on 2007-10-16
Last Modified: 2013-11-14
I am working on putting a plan together to purchase/lease new hardware for an upcoming server virtualization project.  This will include at least 2 servers, MS Windows 2003 x64 Enterprise, and shared storage.  I currently have 8 physical servers that I am attempting to virtualize as best as possible.

Medium to Heavy use (I'm probably overestimating by saying heavy)
1.  Terminal services server that about 75 people login to, to run a custom Cobol application.
2.  ImageRight server which contains 500gb+ of small image files, a 30gb SQL database, and 150-200gb of various files.

1. VM Server housing one domain controller, one print server, two application servers (1 is Desktop Authority, the other 1 is a minor application).
2. VM Server housing one domain controller
3. Application server housing 60gb SQL database server
4. Facsys fax server
5. Backup server connected to VTL and tape device
6. Application server housing 100 user My Documents, and a few other minor applications

Virtual Iron is the front runner for virtualization software, simply because it is the best performing, and is much less expensive, when compared to VMware.

I've done some researching on hardware, but didn't want to mention it here, as I don't want to push anyone in one direction or another.

Here's what I'd like suggestions on:
1. Server hardware
2. Shared storage
3. Any misc. tips/tricks regarding my situation.

Thank you all in advance.
Question by:tscd

    Author Comment

    Anyone at all?
    LVL 5

    Accepted Solution

    I'd recommend you contact SUN, HP, Dell or IBM for a proper certified quote
    LVL 95

    Assisted Solution

    by:Lee W, MVP
    For small projects we should be able to give you a good answer... But it sounds like you have some serious use of your server infrastructure.  If anyone here can come back and say they have a similar setup/need, this is what they did... great... but I'm not sure how likely that is.

    What I would suggest you start with is an Request for Proposal (RFP).  eWeek has a sample one and I think you'll find it helps to ask the right questions and these RFPs tend to have most of the right questions.


    I would then send this to either the manufacturers themselves or authorized resellers of their products - especially for Virtual Server, VMWare (ESX server, I'd be thinking), and at least Virtual Iron.

    I'm not actually familiar with Virtual Iron so I would question how well developed they are at this point (I read a lot and never see questions or articles about them - plenty on VMWare and Virtual PC/Virtual Server).  Maybe there are serious drawbacks that you need to consider about it... maybe not.
    LVL 15

    Assisted Solution

    I'm with Lee on this one.

    I don't think I would proceed with a project like this without some very solid advice. Lee suggested an RFP; if he says it, it's good enough advice for me, and depending on where you are located, there are no doubt some good VARs and consulting firms who specialize in setting up systems like the one you have in mind. Among other things I would ask for are examples of companies and agencies for whom they have done similar projects, and references. You're planning on spending some serious capital here, and you're going to have to live with whatever you purchase -- so the amount of time and internal expense it will take you to develop the RFP will be well worth it in the long run.


    Author Comment

    Thanks fellas.  Yes, I am hoping someone can share their experience with me on a similar project, and perhaps that'll help me out.
    LVL 5

    Expert Comment

    I have been involved in quite some projects like that. There is hardly any receipe how. Too may factors depend on too many variables...

    Some specific details thou.

    Currently I like Sun X4x00 (x64) series of servers as exellent performance for the buck.
    Falconstor or BakBone Netvault as a VTL
    SUN (LSI) 6000 or 2500 series of storage with good service contract

    Start from there and use vendors help to size your solution to fit your wallet.

    Good luck!
    LVL 1

    Expert Comment

    Forced accept.

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