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VM design advice

I'm planning a total redo of our servers for a High School.

Presently we have a 2850 (1 vmserver 1.0 (dc, dns), win2k3 ent), 5 1750's (7 vms. (vmserver 1.0), exchg (front and back), AV, web, web filter, bkup dns, fileserver; all win2k3 stnd)

I was considering purchasing Vsphere4 standard, which includes::
    * VMware ESXi or VMware ESX
    * VMFS (Virtual Machine File System)
    * 4-way Virtual SMP
    * VMware vCenter Server Agent
    * VMware vStorage APIs / VMware Consolidated Backup (VCB)
    * VMware Update Manager
    * VMware High Availability (HA)
    * VMware vStorage Thin Provisioning

I'm wondering about storage. I'm looking at 3 options, a Buffalo 2TB NAS (NFS, many around ~$500, unsupported by VMWare); Iomega ix4-200r (NFS, $1600, supported by VMWare); or just using local storage and giving up HA.

I'm also thinking that if I just use local storage and backup my vm's frequently, I might as well save more money and only use ESXi for free instead of purchasing Vsphere4.

Any thoughts?

4 Solutions
The answer I guess depends on whether you want to experience the full breadth of ESX  features i.e. vMotion, etc. If this is the case, then you would need shared storage. If you find this this is not warranted for your setup and that regular backups and some downtime in case of host failure, etc is acceptable, then local storage would be fine. It really is up to you.
Paulsolov has recommened the IOMEGA IX4-200r and I am looking at that for our disaster recovery site ... the fact that it is VMWare Certified, certainly helps from a qualification point of view. Just make sure the solution you choose has the headroom to deal with all the IO you will be throwing at it.
how about using iscsi storage? have you heard dell equalogic? fully supported by vmware
infact any iscsi storage device should work just fine with vmware,  you can apply the same shared storage concept as you could with the expensive san solution
if you dont want to spend, get openfiler instead, it is opensource nas/san software, you can present free space as iscsi storage to your esx using this free tool
free esxi + free nas solution, your boss might as well buy you new laptop :)
percussedAuthor Commented:
Can I add a storage device after I setup and test and then move from local storage to a NAS/SAN.
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why not? sure you can
just add as datastore, in fact you can have many datastores
but you will be moving vms not your esx installation, your console & all esx files will still be on local storage
unless you are talking about booting from san, that is different story
Paul SolovyovskySenior IT AdvisorCommented:
You may want to look at the essentials plus for $3625 which includes 3 hosts (up to 2 proc) and HA with support .  I would use the Iomega since it's support by VMware.  If you do a 10:1 consolidation the ROI from the electric bill (with new servers) would pay for itself.  You can use the vmware ROI tool to make the presentation to management.

VMware vSphere 4 Essentials Plus includes:

3 licenses of VMware ESXi and VMware ESX (deployment-time choice)
VMFS (Virtual Machine File System)
4-way Virtual SMP
VMware vCenter Server Agent
VMware vStorage APIs / VMware Consolidated Backup (VCB)
VMware Update Manager
VMware High Availability (HA)
VMware Data Recovery
VMware vCenter Server for Essentials

We use Dell Equalogic SAN and boot to iScsi over 4 ESX hosts and it works great.  We are getting ready to add our 2nd 4TB SAN.
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