Best HA scenario

We're installin a redundant configuratio in our remote office, consisting of 2 servers.
The idea is to cluster them on ESX level and 2 VMs running on it as an MS cluster.

What I'm trying to figure out is the following:

Scenario 1:
Just use 2 physical boxes with shared storage and install MV Cluster on it. If one box fails - everything goes to the second one
Scenario 2:
Have ESX on 2 hosts, configure 2 VMs on HOST1 and configure MS Cluster between those 2 VMs. If one VM fails it fails over to another VM with MS Clustering. If hardware on HOST1 fails then both machines are moved to the HOST2 and powered on there.
Scenario 3.
2 ESX hosts, VM1 runs on esxHOST1, VM2 runs on esxHOST2. If VM1 fails it goes to VM2 on host 2. If the esx1 on HOST1 fails the ehole thing goes on the second host.

Questions:
1. People here asking me why do we need ESX at all and I struggle to answer that - as without vMotion I don't see much point in having ESX HA
2, What are your though on the best-case HA scenarion here, providin that there will be no money allocated on DRS or vMotion.

Thanks.
Elijah.,
elo-miloAsked:
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mcsweenSr. Network AdministratorCommented:
If you aren't going to invest in vMotion then I would just pull ESX right out of this mix.  You are right, HA is useless without vMotion.

The best solution would be Solution 3 IF you use vMotion

If no vMotion I would use Scenario 1

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ryder0707Commented:
vmotion has nothing to with HA, HA will just restart a VM on a failed host to another live host if resource is available, this is similar to reset a VM

Fyi, vmotion is not supported for clustered VMs, if you intend to create clustered VMs on DRS cluster, you need to create DRS rules for affinity or anti-affinity

Questions:
1. People here asking me why do we need ESX at all and I struggle to answer that - as without vMotion I don't see much point in having ESX HA
A: Depending on your hardware, you could do clustered VMs in a box or separate box and VMs are easy to manage, they dont need specific physical hardware drives, just install vmware tools, clustered VMs with rdm set to virtual compatibility mode can be cloned, take snapshot, etc
For eg, you could always use the clone and connect to a dedicated standalone vSwitch just to test patches or software upgrades
With esx running you could run multiple VMs and not all VMs must be clustered, so your hardware is fully utilized

2. What are your though on the best-case HA scenarion here, providin that there will be no money allocated on DRS or vMotion.
A: Clustered VMs were not designed to work with vmotion, so DRS dont apply
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elo-miloAuthor Commented:
"Fyi, vmotion is not supported for clustered VMs"

----- Can you be a bit more specific with that statement?
In our second office we runt he following set up: 3 blade server, each act as ESX host. First runs VM1, Second esx host runs VM2. VM1 and VM2 are clustered with MS Cluster. If first vm fails it go to the second VM using cluster. If after that VM2 fails (or hardware fails) it is migrated with Vmotion to the third esx host, wich is always kept empty especially for that purpose. We have DRS configured as well.
So we do use MS Cluster in combination with VMware clusrter
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ryder0707Commented:
Are you sure you are not talking about HA? Hardware failure is something to do with HA not DRS
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elo-miloAuthor Commented:
Than I didn't understand your initial statement correctly. What do you mean by "vmotion is not supported for clustered VMs"?
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ashwin_kumar525Commented:
there really is no point in having 2 esx for just vms. if u plan on future expansion, go for it. vmware ha will not give u any fault tolerance, it just restarts the vms on the other host and don't need vmotion, so all that was there in the vms memory is lost. u can obviosly talk to them abou the new vmware fault tolerance. this will give them a 99.999% uptime unlike in failover clustering, we need to have some down time. enabling ft needs a processor with record and replay capability along with lots of other prerequisites.
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ryder0707Commented:
It means the setup is not in vmware book, anything should happen you are on your own buddy
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elo-miloAuthor Commented:
ryder0707:

"It means the setup is not in vmware book, anything should happen you are on your own buddy"
--- I think we'll take it the way it is - it works quite wll in our environment. By I understand where you coming from.
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elo-miloAuthor Commented:
Sorry guys, I'm really oressed with time - can anybody give a quick overview in a human kanguage as to what ESX Fault tolerance is? And a hint how much it costs....
(I will read up on the internet as well)
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ashwin_kumar525Commented:
http://www.vmware.com/products/fault-tolerance/

there seems to be a video in there to show what ft does. you need to look up in the vmware's hardware compatibility guide to see if you already have supporting hardware. in simple vmware ft replicates the vm's memory, CPU instrutions on the other host and creates a standby vm so that it can take over when the actual vm is down. so u are enabling this feature at the vm level not at the esx host level.
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