Failover between physical and Virtual Server

Hi all,

my company is planning to implement a business continuity structure and i'm stuck with an option.  let explain it to you.

We actually have 5 physical servers running Windows 2008 Enterprise 64bit and Windows Server 2003 32bit.  These servers respectively act as:-
1.Domain Controller
2. Exchange Server (2007)
3.Application / File Server
4. Antivirus Server
5. Virtual server ( VMWare Server 2.0)
6. NAS (Windows Storage Server 2003)

I would like to install VMWare ESX on another seperate server and repilcate all my actual physical server on in.  then this server would act as Load balancing and Failover server.  the problem is that i don't know how to implement this and if this is possible. if not what other issue you can propose me as i urgently need a failover system without the need to invest much money.

thanking you in advanced for your support.
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ryder0707Connect With a Mentor Commented:
You still need to spend a bit on hardware for the virtual platform at least minimum quad core with 12GB ram or more and install the free esxi, as for the disk, raid 1 for esxi and couple of disks for raid 5 for the VMs and data

P2V all using vmware converter and configure continous replication between physical & virtual using replication tool like double take
Double take can manage the failover from physical to virtual during disaster and it will replicate any changes at byte level

Well it can be a bit complicated, I've seen it in action before so it works
Perhaps not the cheapest solution but at least the failover is fully automated and less headache during disaster

MinoDCConnect With a Mentor Commented:
You could create for each physical server to a cluster with the respective virtual server that is allocated preferably a network adapter for the connection type.
First of all it is very need to invest much $$ and Time.

1. Setup a new powerful VM platform with Failover, which must have a SAN storage($$$$$$).
2. Migate all phycial server to primary VM Server
3. Setup cluster for each server to prevent one phyical VM Host Server Down.
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AArohnAuthor Commented:
Hi MinoDC,

can you please be a liitle bit clearer?  what do you mean by creating a physical server to a cluster with the respective virtual server?
AArohnAuthor Commented:
You are right Tim,  this solution is too costly.  i'm looking for a low cost one.
MinoDCConnect With a Mentor Commented:
With Windows 2008 you can create a two-node cluster without the need for storage in common. Unfortunately, by 2003 this is not possible, then you should try using a virtual drive and mount it as a common storage through StarWind iSCSI, so the server believe they have an iSCSI storage in common.
nappy_dThere are a 1000 ways to skin the technology cat.Commented:
Actually, shared storage could be had for under $5000.

You will need to consider implementing an iSCSI shared storage solution using freeNAS( or openfiler(

You will then need two servers; one for the iSCSI storage and the other to host your ESXi guests.

Please bear in mind, it is recommended that you create a separate network or vLAN specifically for iSCSI traffic.

Alternatively, I would tell you to consolidate some of your servers.  Can you tell me more about the specs of your existing servers?(RAM, processor, make/model)
AArohnAuthor Commented:
Thank you all fro your answers.

my server farm is built on Dell 1959 and 2950 with Quad Core processors. all these servers has minimun 4Gb of RAM except the Application server which has 32Gb of RAM.

is there a way to bypass the clustering option?
nappy_dThere are a 1000 ways to skin the technology cat.Commented:
What do you mean "bypass" the clustering option? In order to have physical and virtual machines operating for failover, clustering is what you need.  

AArohnAuthor Commented:
thank you all for your support.  i think that we need to save some money before going to the solution.

nappy_dThere are a 1000 ways to skin the technology cat.Commented:
Not sure why butI too had provided you some options low in cost..
Yes i totally agree, save some money, you can loose more money during disaster, spend extra now for long term protection and peace of mind
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