Designing new VMware infrastructure

Hi All,

I will be moving my current infrastructure to VMware and I need some help/advice and recommendation from you experts J .  I would really appreciate diagram for my new VMware network.( i will use SAN iSCSI -10 x 300GB 15k SAS HDDs with hardware initiator) which would help me with implementation process.
Im new to SAN so I would appreciate help when it come to LUNs (what access control should I use and sizes for LUNs etc)
Should I boot hosts from SAN?
I want to run DC and exchange in cluster.

Basically I would like to know how would you do it as experts.

What migration process would you recommend when it comes to moving my existing servers to VMs. Im going to buy new servers and SAN this month and I will have a month or two to test it and play around with.
My new hardware will be:
2 x HP ML350 G6 Server, Dual Quad Core, 16GB RAM, 2 x 72GB HDD.

WMvare Software:
VMware vSphere 4.0 Essentials

Ok this is my existing environment.
Domain Controller
Windows 2003
HP Proliant ML 350
Intel Xeon 3.20GHz x 2
2GB of RAM
145.66 Gigabytes Usable Hard Drive Capacity
32.00 Gigabytes Hard Drive Free Space
Number of users :60

 Exchange Server
MS Exchange 2003
HP Proliant ML 350
Intel Xeon 3.20GHz x2
2GB of RAM
145.67 Gigabytes Usable Hard Drive Capacity
45.65 Gigabytes Hard Drive Free Space
Number of Mailboxes: 50
File and SQL Server
Windows 2003
HP Proliant ML 350
Intel Xeon 3.20GHz x 2
2GB of RAM
120.59 Gigabytes Usable Hard Drive Capacity
24.90 Gigabytes Hard Drive Free Space

Symantec Antivirus
Windows 2003
AMD Sempron 2600+, 1.83GHz
2GB of RAM
41.10 Gigabytes Usable Hard Drive Capacity
6.57 Gigabytes Hard Drive Free Space

Thanks so much in advance
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Paul SolovyovskySenior IT AdvisorCommented:
The first piece I would look at is your VMWare Licensing.  The Essentials Pack doesn't include HA nor DRS (vmotion) which you will need if you configure a vmware cluster.  Essentials Plus includes HA but not DRS.

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vmwarun - ArunCommented:
With respect to your P2V Migration query, the P2V would be easy if you are using a Volume License Key of WIndows Server 2003, if you are using an OEM copy, then you would need to repair your cloned copy using the Volume License CD since OEM Copies do not behave well in a Virtual Environment.
Author said he wanted to run his DC and Exchange in a cluster.  That does NOT require thahth the VMware hosts be clustered, HA and DRS are noteeded for that requirent, but MAY be something you want down the road.  

First - networking.  
Allow yourself two NICs per network.  So for a config with LAN, DMZ, and iSCSI - 6 NICS

Buy TWO good gig ethrnet switches.  Recomment the Dell Powerconnect 54xx series which are optimized for iSCSI.  Configure a vlan for each netork on the switch, and a common vlan to monior all three.

One NIC from each network to each switch.

You now have hardware redunancy and failover capability at the networking hardware level.

Me, id RAD1 those two 72 gig switches, intall ESX on them.

During install make SURE you double the size of the root partion (more space for update package installations)
and 2.5x the /var/logs partiton (more space for logs) in case you dont turn  logging.  Filling the /var/log partion on ESX can be a vERY bad thing leading to corruption of your host config files.  Protect yourself here with more space so log rotation can deal with thhe rest.

Choice of drives is spot on - speed is essential

the more spindels the better

Therefore the LUNS should be as large as possible to use as many spindles as possible - 2TB is te usual cutoff point in the SAN.  Create several, they get small fast

Split yor VMs between LUNS for less load.

**** Dont sweat the load - you arent askin too much with 4 gust servers.
I'm currently running 13 VMs Exchange, many SQL, Citrix, etc PER HOST on Dell 2950, dual quad core 2.66 gig Zeons with 24 gig RAM and could be running more.

With taht small amount of storage you wont need to worry about VM fragmentation on the SAN, but being able to do storge migration from one LUN to another is usefull in eliminating that

Use SQL rules when building VMs - VHDs (virtual hard drives) are free, s instead of one big 250 gig drive for EXchange, use one for OS, one for mailstor, one for logs, one for Antigen quarentine, AND ONE FOR THE SWAPFILE AND ONLY THE SWAPFILE.

This cause the disk buffering to hold more cache hits per disks than if just one vhd is instaleld - the performace gains can be measured in Perfmon.

Memory - prhaps you know that esx uses a swapfile just like Windows.  lets say yo allocate 4gig RAM for a VM.  ESX will create a 4 gig swapfile IN ADDITION to the one that Windows maintains.  Goto resources and comit 2 gigs to the VM, and the esx swapfile shrinks to 2 gig (and no other VM can use the 2 gig you comitted).

Comit all 4 gig of ram and the ESX swapfile goes away.  Al lthis is measurable in perfmon on a windows VM looking at V swap.

If you dont want to commit al lthe RAM you allocate on a given box, take a hard look at wheter you nee to ALLOCATE as much as you did (VM swap will extend that ...) shrinking the allocated, shrinks the ESX swap as well.

Networking Admin
Become familar with the following commands which can b enetered at a Putty session.  You may never need them with virtual center, but understanding them helps you undertand what VC(vshere) can and cant do as its merely a gui to the CLI command anyway.  



and you can do the whole mess from th LINUX commanline via Putty. (If you enabled SSL / SSH at setup)

Understand the difference between
physical NIC
virtual nic
service console

and when to use them - remember
1) every network must have at least one vSwitch, in the redundant config I'm suggesting tw, one for each phys NIc

2) Each LAN Phys NIC must have a service console and a vSwitch in order to manage the box - again 2 indicated as per above.

3) Each iSCSI Phys NIC must have a Vswitch and a vKernel.

Then tak a look at this document integrating a Dell MD300i iSCSI SAN with Vmaware.  If you bought a different brand, the SAN dialogs will be different, but the ESX stuff is generic

===================Network backgrounds =============
Look at this documentS -



=============Dagram (Partial =====================

Migration - use the VMware converter

There are two versions, the free and hte enterprise one which you will recieve a license for with essentials.

The paid verion allows you to run a convert from the physical machine, to the host from a thrid machine.  The free version doesnt really work in that mode.

Most experts wil ltell you to install the converter o nthe machine you are converting and run it from there.  That works every time and is the least hassle.

Make sure you think through the LUNS so that heavy use system arent al lon th same LUN

za_mkhIT ManagerCommented:
I know this is not needed but I thought I would add one additional comment. Our company has forced me to look at other virtualization offerings as VMWare want too much money for all their bells and whistles. I don't have the same love for them today that I had at the beginning of the week!
 I have to say that I am pleasantly suprised at how good XenServer is. Their 'free' offering seems to offer a lot more functionality than VMWare gives at the same level. It's different, but it works!
For me, VMWare is still ahead of the game and their tech is brilliant, but sometimes just not cost effective anymore. It annoys me that Xen don't have a VCB equivalent currently, but that is a price (free!) that we are willing to live with for now.
So since you are starting out, I would advise you to look at Xen too. Interface is different, but if you understand Virtualization concepts, it's not too dificult to adapt.
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