Suggestions for Virtualizing

I currently have a windows 2003 Server Domain controller and an  Exchange Server.
We are growing out of our current solution and are considering Virtualizing our Servers.
THe number of documents we must store has tripled since all our documents are now digital pdf's

We also must consider a back up solution

Some of the following technologies will also be put into place web security, ssl vpn and spam filterig.

Can you be very specific and suggest where to start with virtualization, including hardware suggestions.

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Whichever physical server hardware you decide upon, make sure it's compatible with VMware's Compatibility Guide ( I have HP rack servers that work very well (DL series model - DL 380). I recommend also a server with at least (min.) dual-core, but get quad-core if possible. To run ESX4, you need 64-bit capable CPUs. I also recommend as much RAM as you can spend on. Since it's fairly cheap anymore, I always recommend a min. of 32GB per host...just to start with, then add more if it's needed later on. This is also good for growth purposes (i.e. flexibility to expand/add VMs later).

After you decide on host hardware, I recommend for storage to get a SAN (shared storage architecture). Your local vendor/reseller can assist with the best solution for your org. This is needed for HA, DRS, & VMotion capabilities if you choose to use those VMware ESX/vCenter features.

For b/u...your traditional b/u solution for data is fine. For VM b/u, I recommend Veeam Backup & Replication ( The cost is minimal and is priced like VMware...per socket.

Hope this helps.


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The solution that you are referencing is one that isn't in regards to the application, but the datastore and the time it will take to retrieve the data.  If your data is becoming overwhelming, you may want to consider vaulting it (Symantec Vault).  You can also consider using iscsi storage and a SCSI initiator to attached to the storage unit via software.  This solution take VM out of the equation and leaves management up to storage.  In regards to the VM, you don't want a massive amount of VMDK files running around.  This strategy is destin for disaster.  Think about it, 1 corrupt VMDK = 1000 docs missing.  In regards to VEEAM, it is good for small enviroments, but has many issues with larger enviroments.
Malli BoppeCommented:
How much is your company budget for virtualisation.
If you want to go through the path of ESX and SAN then it would be quite expensive.with this solution you get redundancy ,high availibilty etc.To really use it you need to get trained 1st
You can use Vmware server which is free .But  wouldn't suggest using for mission critical applications.I have used vmware servers in the past for terminal services farm.This is quite easy and you don't need to get trained.
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I forgot to provide some good 'consideration' articles regarding virtualizing DCs and Exchg. BTW...I have both virtualized in my environment and running very well. :)


kcassoneAuthor Commented:
I am still putting my configuration together so didn't accept any answer yet.
Thanks for the update; keep me posted. :)

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