The time has come to replace our servers and I am looking to take advantage of virtualization. I am having a hard time deciding whether or not I want to go with servers that have plenty of (yet finite) internal storage or go with small (1U) servers and a SAN. I've been toying with VMWare ESXi and so far, I love it. I noticed that it will allow me to add networked storage as datastores to store virtual machines.
Since I am looking at about 3 TB of total storage I was thinking that a SAN and many smaller disk may be the way to go for performance. However, I can get 3 TB in a single 2U server with SFF disk. Below is a list of all the servers I need to virtualize...
4 - Novell Netware 6.5 (to be upgraded to Suse Linux ES 10 SP2 with OES)
6 - Windows Server 2003 (already running under MS Virt Server 2005)
1 - Suse Linux ES 10 SP2
Combined current storage usage is about 1.5 TB so I want to double that across the board to 3 TB total. In order to plan for a spike in data storage I am leaning towards providing about 4TB. I serve about 100 users with mainly File/Print/E-Mail. We do have a few specialized applications that require the Windows boxes.
Does anyone have advice on whether to go with a couple large form factor machines with internal storage or a SAN? If you like SANs do you recommend iSCSI or Fibre?