Considering virtual servers - recommendations wanted

Posted on 2009-04-28
Last Modified: 2013-11-06
I'm considering to virtualize some servers in a new configuration.
I'm going to set up the following windows servers:

1 DC Win 2008
1 DC2 Win 2008
1 File Win 2008
1 Exchange 07 Win 2008
1 SQL 2005 - win 2008
1 App server - win 2003
1 TS server - win 2003

I haven't made the decision yet for virtual or physical. For physical I've seen on HP DL380 servers.

Considering Hyper-V to make this virtual. What recommendations can you give me on what to virtualize and hardware needed.

Thank you.
Question by:jhlds
    LVL 14

    Expert Comment

    We utilize XenServer.  Runs well and since we also utilize XenDesktop and XenApp I wanted to keep everything under one room for support purposes.  We have virtualized file, print, application and XenApp.  I've not yet virtualized a DC (though I have plans to as we do our transition to 2008 AD), Exchange (though I will when I implement our Exchange cluster) or SQL (no plans to virtualize our SQL servers).  

    For hardware you'll need to size up when you'll need in regards to RAM, CPU cores and disk space.  That will determine how many physical servers you'll need.  Our standard practice is to ensure we have at least one more physical server than what is necessary to help ensure high availability.  So if you need two physical servers to run all of your VMs invest in a third.

    Also look in to utilizing a SAN for shared storage.  Utilizing a SAN with the appropriate virtualization product level (XenMotion for XenServer) will allow you to move VMs on the fly from one physical server to another.  This also helps ensure high availability.  

    LVL 59

    Expert Comment

    by:Darius Ghassem
    Hyper-V is a good product to use with Server 2008. We have installed SQL, DCs, IIS, APP Servers, TS servers, Print Server, file servers, etc the only I haven't yet personally installed in a VM is Exchange. Now I spoke with techs that have and they said it works great in a Hyper-V VM and also in VMware.

    When it comes to hardware amicheal has some good suggestions. Just make sure you are going to utilize the hardware you purchase because the point of virtualization is to lower hardware and TCO costs. To be honest with you I thought I was going to need a lot more hardware then I actually needed for some of the first projects we did with Hyper-V.

    We had a Dell 2950 with two Quad cores, 16 GB RAM, and 3 TB of storage. I thougt that we would be able to run a couple of VMs including a pretty nice size SQL server but instead we installed 4 VMs on the server with SQL and it worked great.
    LVL 10

    Expert Comment

    I agree to what Daruis said and just to add more, you can virtualize an Exchange 2007 very well and it will be fine. more over if it is on Server 2008, you are taking the advantage of enlightened I/O. Server 2008 and Vista are virtualization aware.....

    Pulled from Wiki

    "Virtual Devices can also take advantage of a Windows Server Virtualization feature, named Enlightened I/O, for storage, networking and graphics subsystems, among others. Enlightened I/O is specialized virtualization-aware implementation of high level communication protocols like SCSI to take advantage of VMBus directly, that allows bypassing any device emulation layer. This makes the communication more efficient, but requires the guest OS to support Enlightened I/O. Windows 2008 and Windows Vista and SUSE Linux are currently the only operating systems that support Enlightened I/O, allowing them therefore to run faster as guest operating systems under Hyper-V than other operating systems that need to use slower emulated hardware."
    LVL 6

    Accepted Solution

    All of the above advice is good for general information.  None of it specifically answers your question.  The reason for that is because we would have to have a lot more information about your usage before we could really say.  If you have periodic benchmarks for the last 6-12-18 months, that would have more to do with how much you can fit on one machine than the specific services/rolls that will be running.  If you don't have that information, I would strongly recommend you try to get at least 3-6 months of that info before starting this.  Disk I/O will be one factor you want to look at.  External storage will allow you to have more drive spindles to alleviate disk bottlenecks if your benchmarking shows that to be a concern.  Outside of that, the processor and memory should be fairly straight-forward once you have actual numbers.  Hope this helps.

    Write Comment

    Please enter a first name

    Please enter a last name

    We will never share this with anyone.

    Featured Post

    Highfive Gives IT Their Time Back

    Highfive is so simple that setting up every meeting room takes just minutes and every employee will be able to start or join a call from any room with ease. Never be called into a meeting just to get it started again. This is how video conferencing should work!

    Nowadays, Virtual Machines are used equally by small and large scale organizations. However the issue is that VMDK files are also prone to corruption. So, in this article we are looking at how to recover VMDK files from hard disk of host operating s…
    Moving your enterprise fax infrastructure from in-house fax machines and servers to the cloud makes sense — from both an efficiency and productivity standpoint. But does migrating to a cloud fax solution mean you will no longer be able to send or re…
    To add imagery to an HTML email signature, you have two options available to you. You can either add a logo/image by embedding it directly into the signature or hosting it externally and linking to it. The vast majority of email clients display l…
    This video gives you a great overview about bandwidth monitoring with SNMP and WMI with our network monitoring solution PRTG Network Monitor ( If you're looking for how to monitor bandwidth using netflow or packet s…

    794 members asked questions and received personalized solutions in the past 7 days.

    Join the community of 500,000 technology professionals and ask your questions.

    Join & Ask a Question

    Need Help in Real-Time?

    Connect with top rated Experts

    16 Experts available now in Live!

    Get 1:1 Help Now