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Iis there any reason that a production operation (vs. test environment)  should not be on VMWare?

Posted on 2008-06-13
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2010-04-09
Pros vs cons?  Anyone?  With HA or redundant Vmware servers is there any reason for not putting an environment totally on VM and getting away from individual servers?  Thanks.
Question by:Sp0cky
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LVL 14

Expert Comment

ID: 21778979
Absolutely no reason at all,as long as your hardware is sufficient I would advocate having ALL of your servers virtualised, in terms of restoring from hardware outages etc its a breaze.

Assisted Solution

Stappmeyer earned 400 total points
ID: 21779691
Remember to consider application support.  If you often rely on vendors, some may not support their applications on VMware or may require moving them to hardware as a diagnostic step.  For example, Microsoft will not support virtualized DCs, but will give Premier support customers best efforts.  Leveraging virtualization for test environments is a no brainer.  Leveraging for all production may not be appropriate based on system utilization.  (If you have an SQL or Exchange cluster that has high utilization, I would not virtualize it.)

Assisted Solution

JapyDooge earned 400 total points
ID: 21779926
Depends on what kind of production. Virtual Machines usually have a lower performance, this can be a problem when you are controlling factory networks (with plc's and stuff) from a virtual machine. On the other hand, a fileserver really is able to be virtualized for example. It nearly has no load, only filetransfers that are handled by vmware esx itself and only is involved in some file checking and maybe replication.
We are used to virtualize new servers first, and if it does'nt performe that good, we migrate them to 'real' servers. This gives the company i work a 70% of virtualized servers including domain controllers, fileservers, print servers and servers for administrative software. It also allows us to have one dedicated server (or more) per product so conflicts are easyer to locate.
Citrix, IBM Lotus Notes, SQL and Datastore servers are'nt virtualized, but for example a Terminal Services / Citrix licence server can easily be virtualized.

Another thing to not virtualize can be that you have a server controlling some special device that can't be connected or supported trough vmware.
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LVL 58

Assisted Solution

tigermatt earned 200 total points
ID: 21780263
A lot of large datacentres are now moving over to virtualised environments because they are so easy to manage, very dynamic and flexible to requirements which change all the time. While it does mean you really need the host server(s) to be much more powerful than usual - since they are actually running two or three virtual machines - the end benefit to the administrators are generally an environment which is much easier to manage and maintain.

So no, there isn't any reason why you can't virtualise your environment, provided that you ensure all your host servers are fully capable of running all the VMs beneath them. Don't couple 5 SQL Server VMs on one host, for example - you could do 2 file and print servers and an SQL Server on a reasonably powerful one though.

Assisted Solution

xcomiii earned 400 total points
ID: 21781869
I've virtualised all but two physical server (and a server based Checkpoint fw). The last physical servers is the Virtual Center itself (had a bad experince running in a VM), and a physical DC/DNS server. The last one is for avoiding any problems when starting all ESX servers from scratch (ie long-term power outage), as ESX and Virtual Center is picky about having an existing DNS structure in place when booting up.

Other then that, I've virtualised about 60 Win and linux servers, including 3 SQL 2005 servers, 4 Exchange 2007 servers, DC, DHCP, fileservers, terminal servers, application servers and so on. Works like a dream and I can provide a much better uptime than if I've only had physical servers. And yes, MS is picky about support if you have virtual servers, but that doesn't stop them from giving you best effort support anyway. In the few cases I had with MS, the impact that virtualisation gives me outweights the downside of MS support not providing fullly support.
LVL 18

Accepted Solution

larstr earned 600 total points
ID: 21782093
I agree with the above comments. We have run almost all of our production servers on ESX since 2003, including SQL, Exchange, File, Print, DC/DNS (http://download3.vmware.com/vmworld/2006/tac9710.pdf), and quite a few linux systems. Some of the software we use also use USB dongles and we're using AnywhereUSB to solve this (http://www.digi.com/products/usb/anywhereusb.jsp).

The systems we run non virtual are:
* Virtual Center
* Backup server
* Citrix servers (now known as XenApp). All supporting citrix functions are virtual.
* Firewall gateways (management server is virtual)

We also have iSeries and pSeries running non-x86 apps.

It might costs a bit to get started properly as you will normally need SAN infrastructure and a few beefy servers (from the HCL). ESX is dead stable and if you have any reliability problems it's normally related to some bad hw so it's important that the servers are given proper time through hw testing before you put them to production (either by vendor supported tools, or memtest86+ for atleast 72 hours). Also make sure you setup your SAN according to the guide (http://www.vmware.com/pdf/vi3_35/esx_3/r35/vi3_35_25_san_cfg.pdf).


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