NetApp FAS2020, VMWare NFS/iSCSI over GigE real world performance with only four servers

Posted on 2009-12-27
Last Modified: 2012-05-08
I manage the server/desktop infrastructure for a small law firm (45 desktops). We currently are running four servers

- 2 W2k3 DCs, one serving files another hosting SQL Server 2k5 on HP ProLiant DL 380s
- Exchange 2k3 (Dell PowerEdge 2950)
- Citrix XenApp 5 on W2k8 with ten licenses (Dell PowerEdge 2950)

I am interested in virtualizing this environment. The small server room doesn't have room for much more UPS or servers in the rack. The plan is to buy one new loaded server to start the VM infrastructure, a dedicated gigabit swich and a NetApp FAS2020.

My question is if I virtualize all these services (except maybe Citrix), add a few more non I/O intensive VMs and upgrade to a W2k8 DC with Exchange 2010 migration will the entry-level NetApp filer with two gigE ports support the entire infrastructure? SQL Server load is low (our database is only 2.5 gigs).
Question by:sweetseater
    LVL 42

    Accepted Solution

    The 2 gigE shoud be ok but you should be enough for  servers.  With the FAS2020 you'll lose 4 drives right of the bat due to raid and raid parity and marketing (1000MB=1GB marketing vs 1024 real).

    Because of this I would choose NFS for the FAS2020, snapmanager for Exchange, SnapManager for VI.  The way SnapManager for SQL works is that you create LUNs for SQL or Exchange and use Microsoft iSCSI inititiator to connect within the guest OS.  The actual VM is on a NFS volume which will allow you to save space while snapping (with NFS you use marginal space for your snaps vs VMFS LUNs which the Netapp has to snap the whole LUN thus you use double the space for vs a 10-20% for NFS)

    You should use at least two servers.  The 2950 is either dual core or quad.  If the DL380 is a G5 with similar CPUs you can set these up in a cluster.

    You should have at least 6 ports for a small environment.  2 ports for vswitch 0 - service console and vmotion and vswitch1 for production network and vswitch2 for NFS/iSCSI vmkernel.

    Hope this helps
    LVL 24

    Expert Comment

    Trust me its more than enough, one of my comp branch has lower specs than urs, all prod VMs running on single esx server with only local raid disks! As a start, you could create a single vSwitch0(assign both pNICs as active adapters) and create port groups inside for mgmt/vmk & VM traffic
    I suggest to get the free esxi instead so you dont have to worry about service console
    There's always room to grow just by purchasing license in the future, so i dont see why you cant start with the single server esxi first
    Just ensure future server has is from the same cpu family
    LVL 24

    Expert Comment

    and by the way, the branch I'm talking about has about 100 active users, all e6400/e6500 laptops accessing the same esx host
    until now, there is no performance issues...

    Author Comment

    Ryder, why does the computer have to be of the same CPU family. This isn't taken care of in the virtualization? Will VMotion or HA not work unless servers are running the same CPU?
    LVL 42

    Expert Comment

    VMotion will in the same family or similar families with the enhanced vmotion.  HA does not need the same family of CPU but you need to make sure that if you have 64 bit VMs that both of your hosts support Intel VT
    LVL 24

    Assisted Solution

    Refer below, ensure future cpu is one of the member for your current cpu group
    Unless you want to do offline migration without vmotion but where's the beauty of it :)
    And definitely no mixing of Intel & AMD cpus 0 56349518 0 56349575

    Author Closing Comment

    Thanks for your rapid and proactive help.

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