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EBS Virtualisation

Posted on 2009-05-08
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We have one HP DL380 G5 server with two quad core CPU's and 16GB memory. As there is only one server, we'd like to use it to host all three EBS server roles.

We'd like to install VMware Server to host the virtual machines rather than Hyper-V. Our intention is to install Windows 2008 onto the bare metal, run one of the roles directly there, install VMware server and install the other two roles as virtual machines. Would this work or would all three have to be installed as virtual machines. I want to avoid this as 4 server licenses would then be required. ESXi is also a consideration.

The server itself will support about 120 (fairly low usage) users.
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Question by:Hypervizor
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Lee W, MVP earned 500 total points
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This is unwise.  You should not be doing this with VMWare server.  Performance will not be anywhere NEAR where is should be.  HyperV will be MUCH faster - as will VMWare ESXi (which is not "VMWare Server" and must be installed on bare metal).  Performance differences between HyperV and ESXi are fairly minimal - though ESXi supports RAM sharing - apparently that works fine since so many people do use it, but I'm still concerned about it.

EBS supports virtualization scenarios where ALL or SOME servers are put in Virtual Machines.  I do not believe it supports running Virtualization AND one of the roles on the same hardware... either virtualize them all on the same piece of hardware (which ESXi would do and HyperV COULD do using a Server Core install with HyperV only), or use a second physical server for one of the roles.

I'd suggest reviewing links on EBS and virtualization:
http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink?LinkId=119226
http://blogs.technet.com/nking/archive/2009/01/05/ebs-virtualized-step-by-step-part-1-the-disclaimer.aspx

(NOTE: In general, the HyperV advice should hold for ESXi - not so much for VMWare Server).
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by:rindi
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I don't think you can do it the way you suggest anyway. You want to run win2k8 as main system on the server with one of the EBS roles, then run VMware server under that server and have the other 2 EBS servers run as VMs? A standard 2k8 server won't take up those EBS roles, you'd have to install EBS server itself for that.

What works and what I've tested is running 2k8 server with Hyper-V and installing the 3 EBS servers under that. I wasn't too happy with the performance and features, so I also tried another version which also works:

Installed a 64bit Linux OS as base, and under that VMware Server, and then the EBS servers as VM's in that. This works well as the Linux OS doesn't eat up as many resources as win2k8 does.

Even better was running ESXi as base OS and the servers under that as VM's. This gave me the best performance. The only issue I had there was that ESXi server doesn't provide the Webbased management console that VMware server does, and I prefer using a webbased UI as then I can access the VM's easily and manage them from any Linux PC.

Another option would be using ESX which includes the Web UI, but isn't free.

And a further option that would work is to install w2k8 core on your server, and not the complete grafical windows stuff. Under that you could install hyper-v and run your EBS servers, but you'd have to learn how to use the w2k8 core commands.

Generally the best configuration performance wise would be using VMware's ESX.
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by:larstr
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While what you suggest would work, I will support the others here that suggest you to install ESX(i) instead and install each of the roles in a VM of their own. Then you will still use only 4 windows licenses and all of them inside a VM.

And to leew's concerns: Memory sharing has been enabled by default in ESX since 2003 so "everyone" is using it without any problems. Memory sharing is similar to deduplication that we start seeing everywhere on the storage side now. Attached is a graph of the memory usage of a virtual machine that boots on a system that is short on memory (uses a bit of swap at first, and then the ballooning driver is used until memory sharing is freeing total memory usage and the ballon driver goes out of effect.

Lars

vkktreeesxboot.jpg
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by:Freechoice
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Just a question about the best way to install EBS while mimising resource usage. Would it be possible to install the Management server on the bare metal then use hyper-v  to create 2 VM one for Security and one for Message. This way you are only using the required resources for 3 windows installs instead of 4.

Also do you know if you can install all three products on one server with 2 NIC's or do you need three physical NIC's like the microsoft guide seems to imply?
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