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Virtualization on ML350 G5

I'm planning to buy HP server ML350G5 (QC X2.0/6GB RAM, 4x146GB HDD, DVDRW). It will be used as test lab for virtual Windows Server 2003/2008 installations.
What I didn't decide yet is if to use ESX, ESXi or XenServer. Are there any known issue with above hardware? What is in general better virtualization server to use? I have basic knowledge about ESX, but I'm open to learn new stuff.
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haldoxp
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haldoxp
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2 Solutions
 
azjeepCommented:
The ML350G5 is on the VMware Systems Compatibility Guide for both ESX and ESXi.

http://www.vmware.com/pdf/vi35_systems_guide.pdf

If you already know ESX and don't want to use HA or DRS features on this test box, you should probably go with ESXi, since the hypervisor is the same and it's free.

http://www.vmware.com/products/esxi/

Cheers.
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aldanchCommented:
What I didn't decide yet is if to use ESX, ESXi or XenServer. Are there any known issue with above hardware?

No, it is included in the HCL for ESX 3.5 and ESXi.

What is in general better virtualization server to use? I have basic knowledge about ESX, but I'm open to learn new stuff.

VMware continues to be the leader in the virtualization arena. Since you're familiar with ESX, it'll be an easier deployment for you. When you buy your server, be sure that they include ESXi embedded (flash drive on the mobo), so that you can boot your server directly to it. ESXi is a great tool to use for test environments and you can't beat the price tag (free). There are some differences between ESX 3.5 and ESXi and you can view them here: http://kb.vmware.com/selfservice/microsites/search.do?language=en_US&cmd=displayKC&externalId=1006543

The Citrix Xenserver is also a viable solution for your virtualization needs. You can also opt to embed the Xen hypervisor on your HP server and use their Express edition (which is free like ESXi) to get started.

Since the real objective is to provide a virtual environment for your Windows 2003/2008 environment, either ESXi or Xen Express Edition will provide you with what you need out of the box. IMHO, I'd stick with VMware on this one because you are already familiar with it.
haldoxp.png
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haldoxpAuthor Commented:
Thanks for comments.

One thing I forgot to mention earlier. What I need for vSwitch functionality?
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azjeepCommented:
That ML350G5 only has one NIC in it by default.  You are going to want more so that you can configure some failover ports and use some load balancing.

Pick up one of these:

HP NC364T PCI Express Quad Port Gigabit Server Adapter - 435508-B21

Creating networking in ESXi is the same as ESX; just connect via the VI client and go.

Matt
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haldoxpAuthor Commented:
I will think about it, although it is only test server. My mine concern is if I can create some basic virtual topology. Two virtual switches would be perfect for me.
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azjeepCommented:
If you want it for testing, you can absolutely add two vSwitches to it with just the one NIC.

Matt
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aldanchCommented:
You can do two things, create a second vSwitch (in VI client, log into ESX server > Configuration tab > Networking > Add Networking... > Virtual Machine connection type > Create a virtual switch > name the Network Label and assign a VLAN ID if necessary > Finish) or create a port group on the same switch (Under Networking, click Properties... for vSwitch0 > click Add > Virtual Machine connection type > name the Network Label and assign VLAN ID if necessary > Finish).

Both provide a logical segmentation of devices. Since you have one NIC, your second vSwitch acts as a host only network - no connection to the outside world unless you build a router appliance to route traffic from vSwitch1 to vSwitch0 or create an Internet connection sharing on the VM on vSwitch0.

What type of scenario are you trying to do?
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aldanchCommented:
I've attached an example of how your VMs would interact with 2 vSwitches.
haldoxp2.png
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haldoxpAuthor Commented:
Great. So after I install ESX or ESXi with VI client I should be able to create vSwitch.

After I saw last picture I realized that after I will install ISA2006 I will need 2nd NIC to be able to connect from network to test infrastructure without opening ISA.
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aldanchCommented:
You are correct. Create a new Virtual Machine switch (vSwitch1). By default you'll have vSwitch0.

ISA will definitely help you route traffic (NATting) from your internal (VMs on vSwitch1) network  to your IP network.
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haldoxpAuthor Commented:
What I have in plan is to have ISA server connected via 1 NIC directly to Internet. Behind it two servers in DMZ (I need to test OMA, OWA, VPN access) and rest in "normal" (virtual) network (AD, Exchange, what will be needed for testing). So I will use 2nd NIC to connect to the "normal" (virtual) network. Hopefully this can be done.
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haldoxpAuthor Commented:
Thanks for all the info, hopefully the server will come soon :).
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