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Vmware ESXI limitations

resolver1
resolver1 asked
on
Hi,

Im new to VMwares ESXI and I am wondering whether to install it at a client site.  I was going to run virtual server 4 to host a win NT Virtual Machine but someone suggested running ESXI.

Any thoughts or comments welcome

We will also be running Windows server 2008 sbs on the hardware.
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Let me understand this correctly.
You want to install ESXi as the baremetal hypervisor on top of which you want to install SBS 2008 and NT4 as Virtual Machines.
What kind of Hardware do you have ?
Top Expert 2010
Commented:
It all depends on the goals/needs of your client. ESXi is fine for running a single-hosted environment running serveral VMs. The only *major* drawback in my opinion is the lack of automated b/u capability for ESXi. VMware locks the files of running ESXi VMs, thus the only way to take b/u's of your VMs is to power them down and make copies (using the Datastore Browser within the vSphere Client, Veeam FastSCP, or WinSCP). It also lacks cloning/template creation capability, VMotion, DRS, HA and other features, which may be a necessity of your client. But...if you get a purchased ESXi version, those features (b/u, HA/DRS/VMotion) are functional in ESXi.

A better answer can be given if you know what your client's needs are. Here are some URLs to scan that may be useful (for SMB):
http://www.vmware.com/products/vsphere/small-business/
http://www.vmware.com/products/vsphere/buy/small_business_editions_comparison.html
http://www.vmware.com/products/vsphere/buy/overview.html

Essentials is a GREAT buy right now...until the end of the month if your client has the budget to do so.

Regards,
~coolsport00
Commented:
hello, You can install an ESXi 4 also known as Vsphere. Installing an Hypervisor OS is better, since you dont have to worry about resources consumption by the host operating system. You can run the most known operating systems as guests.
ESXi is a stripped down version of ESX, more light and easy to maintain, and also with less features.

You can find more detailed info here: http://www.vmware.com/products/esxi/uses.html

and here are the differences between the versions: http://kb.vmware.com/selfservice/microsites/search.do?language=en_US&cmd=displayKC&externalId=1006543

cheers
Top Expert 2010
Commented:
Let me clarify my above post...all the drawbacks to ESXi are in running the *free* version of ESXi. Licensed/purchased versions of it are more robust. The URLs I provided will shed more light for you.

Also...for your NT machine you're wanting to run, make sure it's on SP6a, beit Server or Workstation:
http://www.vmware.com/resources/compatibility/search.php?action=search&deviceCategory=software&advancedORbasic=advanced&maxDisplayRows=50&key=&productId=1&gos_vmw_product_release%5B%5D=74&datePosted=-1&partnerId%5B%5D=110&os_bits=-1&os_use%5B%5D=16&os_family%5B%5D=4&os_name%5B%5D=Windows+NT&os_type%5B%5D=-1&rorre=0

~coolsport00
Another gotcha is not to run any Virtualization software on a Server running Windows SBS 2008 as this may severely impact the SBS 2008's functionality.
I am posting this as you have mentiioned that you are planning to run SBS 2008 on Hardware.

Author

Commented:
arunraju, thats exactly right.  Hardware listed below. and can you expand on your last comment on the gotcha about vm's on sbs 2008?

HP ML350RX/XE
proccessor  Intel® Xeon® Processor E5420 (12M Cache, 2.50 GHz, 1333 MHz FSB)
QC 4GB Ram
E200i system
It contains 5 SATA/160GB 7200RPM Hot plug discs
HP Smart Array E200 128MB Controller
HP NC101T PCI-E 1 Port 1000T GB network adaptor
A7983AT Ultrium 448i Tape Drive

coolsport00 thanks for the info.  At the moment we backup to tape. Will the VM backup to our tape? Alot for me to study up on.  Anything to make it easy to get upto speed is appreciated greatly!

Kaar: ive checked out the comparison and one of the items says Active Directory Integration. Why would vmware want to intergrate with active directory?
Top Expert 2010
Commented:
If you mean the data within the VM...yes, your traditional b/u solution will still work. If you're wanting a b/u solution for your VMs, like using Veeam Backup/Replication or vRanger, those won't work unless you have a paid version of ESXi.

Arun was stating that if you're planning on installing SBS on your server, then running some virtualization platform WITHIN your SBS, functionality could be hampered. I don't think that's what you meant though. In actuality, installing any virtual platform on SBS isn't supported, from what another EE expert shared a week or so ago in another thread. But, what I was at least assuming is that you're going to install ESXi on your hardware/host, then run SBS and your NT machines as VMs on the ESXi host, correct?

Regards,
~coolsport00
If you are planning to install SBS 2008 on Hardware and then install any Hosted Virtualization software (VMware Server / VMware Workstation / Oracle VirtualBox), then you will mess up the SBS 2008 Server Functionality.
coolsport00's assumptions would be the way to go forward (Installing a baremetal hypervisor such as VMware ESXi and then installing SBS 2008 as a Virtual Machine.

Author

Commented:
Right ive understood the vm ontop of 2008 coolsport00.  I dont supose you have the link to EE post.  The orignal post was comparing the 2 methods mentioned but if it cant be done the VMware ESXI method will be the way forward.  

Just so its clear in my head ill restate the backup question: so if the we have the VMWare ESXI installed and then Windows 2008 sbs as a guest operating system (VM), the traditional tape method backup will only work within the Windows 2008 vm? i should also mention we will be backing up using symantec backup exec.

Author

Commented:
Let me just rephrase the first paragraph. it didnt make sence :-(

Right ive understood the vm ontop of 2008 coolsport00.  I dont supose you have the link to EE post.  The orignal post was comparing the 2 methods mentioned.  If it cant be done using the VM server 4 ontop of Windows 2008 sbs, then the VMware ESXI method will be the way forward.  
Top Expert 2010
Commented:
"resolver"...for your question about b/u...yes, your b/u solution will work within the VM.

OK...so you did mean some VMware platform (VMware Server) on top of 2K8. Yeah...that's not supported. Here is the EE post:
http://www.experts-exchange.com/Software/VMWare/Q_26241213.html?sfQueryTermInfo=1+sb+vmware; a MS MVP posted in that thread (CrisHanna_MVP) re: it's non-supportiveness of running any virtual platform on top of SBS.

Regards,
~coolsport00

Author

Commented:
ill update the ticket shortly.

Author

Commented:
Sorry for the delay in updating this post.  I've been busy with issues.  The information you gave me helped me so much!! thank you!