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VMWare ESX on blade chassis configuration

Hi all,

I'm a complete newbie when it comes to VMWare ESX, and in reading about deploying it on a blade chassis, there are a few (simple?) questions that I have. Since the blade chassis itself doesn't have any internal storage, or a cpu per se (as these are all on the blades themselves), where is the Linux platform that ESX runs on loaded? For example, if we have a blade chassis with two blades installed, then does ESX get installed to one of the blades, and from there it manages the pooled resources of all the other blades that are installed? If this is the case, what happens if that blade fails? Also, does that mean that the blade used to run ESX is unavailable to run VM's on? Also, if the blade chassis is attached to a SAN, does configuration of LUNs on the SAN occur from within the VM's or does it occur on the hardware level, before the VM is loaded? If someone could help me understand these concepts better, I'd appreciate it.

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Thanks for the reply. It certainly clarifies things. Based on your reply, I have a few questions-

1. So then VirtualCenter is the product that is used to manage/create the VM's once the underlying ESX platform is installed onto a blade, and this can be run on another server that is not part of the blade chassis (standalone)?

2. If I'd like to create a VM with access to a LUN on the SAN, is the HBA that is going to be zoned on the fibre switch to provide connectivity a "virtual" HBA? Also, does the "pool" of available hard drive space to assign to a VM draw off of the combined storage area of all the local disks installed on the individual blades?

3. How does VirtualCenter know when there's another blade installed to add to the pool of resources available to run a VM on?

Thanks again!
1. VM's can be created without VirtualCenter.  Once a host is installed, web to the host name or address and download the VI Client.
The VI Client allows creation and management of a ESX host.
VirtualCenter manages multiple hosts and allows for other features such as Vmotion, DRS and HA.
VirtualCenter can run on a VM or on a standalone server that can network to the ESX hosts.

2. ESX manages th storage for the VM's a large area of storage (example 500 Gigs) will be craved up by ESX for the VM's. ESX can also provide access to other storage on a different LUN via RDM, just as long as the ESX host can see the other LUN.
If a VM is bulit with a 16 Gig OS drive then it is drawn out of the 500 Gig pool.

3. VirtualCenter needs to know hosts are being added.  Very straight forward, right select data center folder add host, supply address and root user name password.

ESX version 3.5 is  offered with a 45 day trial license.