Adding HA and DR solutions to an existing VMware Infrastructure environment

We currently have three ESX 3.5 hosts, one ESXi host and no SAN. All hosts are using local storage. We currently have a VMware Infrastructure Foundation Acceleration Kit which includes:

3 Licenses of VMware Infrastructure Foundation
1 License of VMware Virtual Center Foundation
Support and Subscription

Hardware;

(2) Dell PE 2900 12GB RAM, each has 8 146GB 15K SAS drives, RAID 10
(1) Dell PE 2950 16GB RAM, 8 146GB 10K SAS drives, RAID 10
(1) Dell PE 2600 4GB RAM, This is running ESXi and holds a VM running Virtual Center (VC)

Critical Applications needing HA and DR

- MS SQL 2005
- MS Exchange 2003 Standard
- IIS 6.0 Web server
- AD
- File server

My proposal;

- Upgrade the local storage on both 2900s with 300GB 15K SAS drives ($7,500)
- Purchase a Dell MD1000 and populate it with the 146GB drives from the 2900's ($4,000)
- Move the 2950 and the MD1000 offsite which will become our DR site
- Purchase 3 copies of Double-Take for Virtual Systems; this gives us 15 licenses of Double-Take for Windows to be used on VMs only ($20,000)
- Total = $31.5K

Double-Take would be for HA between the (2) 2900s and to replicate to the 2950 at the DR site.

We are open to purchasing a SAN but it seems that by the time you spend 25K on an entry level SAN and add HA to our existing VMware license 5K ($2,500 per host x2). This puts us at $30K plus and we would still need to purchase software for replicating to our DR site. I would also consider the SAN a single point of failure.

Requirements;

- Recovering time, less than 30 minutes for HA
- Recovering time, less than 60 minutes for DR
- Manual intervention ok put would prefer an automatic solution

Concerns;

- Is Double-Take 32bit only?
- Being Penny wise pound foolish

Please give me your feedback, suggestions and ideas on my solution and the Double-Take software.

Thanks!
jswanAsked:
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philtpaikCommented:
I dont know enough to comment on double take, so I'll just give you my 2 cents about my thoughts on SAN.

I would definitely try for a SAN. If you ever want to expand past the foundation 3 server limit you will already recoup your spending. It makes your environment Easy to scale. Vmotion ability. Should have better performance and redundancy. The whole idea of VMware is to be hardware independent. I believe local drives should only be used for testing environments.

Also with the SAN, HA can be automatic and in less than 30 min (as long as you have enough resources on your HA hosts to power on the VMs that were on the failed host). Not sure how you would do DR in 60 min or less. I am working on a DR site now and the prices for a 4 hour data loss solution is still very pricey. I guess the question is; do you need to be back online in 60 min with data being a day old or so? or have only 60 min of data loss?

Keep in mind how HA works with VMware. VMs will only power on if there are enough resources. If you can fit 15 VMs on 3 ESX hosts, make sure you have enough resources to power on 15 VMs on any 2 ESX hosts. If you can't do this, you will need to add a 4th ESX host.

HA works better in larger environments, since you have more available resources to spread the VMs around.

Hope that helps.
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