Entry level Virtualization soultion

Posted on 2010-09-22
Last Modified: 2012-06-21
My company is looking to buy new servers.  I suggested we dive into the world of VMware, especially seeing how robust the free ESX version has become. I want to virtualize an SQL server, Cognos application server, and a few lower end servers running various applications. All together I estimate about 6-7 virtual servers.  I would love to spend the money on a SAN, but we cannot budget that at this time. My next option seems to be local storage, this is what I have setup so far, let me know what you think and/or make suggestions:

(2) IBM System x3650 M2 7947  Server - rack-mountable - 2U - 2-way - 2 x Xeon X5570 / 2.93 GHz -      RAM 24 GB - SAS - hot-swap 2.5"
(16)  Hard drive - 146 GB - hot-swap - 2.5" SFF Slim - SAS-2 - 15000 rpm
 (2)  IBM NetXtreme II 1000 Express  Network adapter - PCI Express x4 - Ethernet, Fast Ethernet, Gigabit Ethernet - 10Base-T, 100Base-TX,1000Base

  We are not really a large company, but our Business Intelliogence application is very demanding, plus I feel the servers provide enough scalibilty for a SAN solution down the road.  Is this an ideal setup for about 6-7 servers?  8X 146 GB 15K  drives provided just under a Terabyte at RAID 5,  this will be enough for storage.  
   Let me know what you think! THANKS!
Question by:dennisjameshoward

Accepted Solution

HunterPine earned 500 total points
ID: 33734900
The system capacity sounds fine, but you need to keep in mind that by doing local storage, you can't easily move VMs between machines like you can with a SAN, so you need to plan ahead by splitting up workload between the two machines.

You can certainly use the plain jane free ESXi 4.1 (I think they renamed it vSphere Hypervisor). You're not going to be able to use any of the advance features that come with the paid license anyway without a SAN, so no need to pay for the licenses.

Expert Comment

ID: 33762087
I would consider

2x 1TB SATA drives for data (RAID1)
2x SAS drives for SQL DATA (RAID1)
4x SAS drives for operating system (RAID10) RAID 5 works too but I would go with raid 10 cause of no performance loss when a drive fails.

the rest of your config looks good.


Expert Comment

ID: 33863625
the configuration should be:
for system drive (c:\) should use 146*2 in raid1
for data 300*3 in raid5
it should be enough for the first year at least
make sure that your server capacity is for 1.5T at the minimum for future expansion
work only with sas and consider 2 cpu if it going to support more than 200 users  
LVL 95

Expert Comment

by:Lee W, MVP
ID: 33997994
WHY do you want to virtualize?  There are a few reasons why you might want to, but why do YOU want to.  Today, it seems the PRIMARY reason to virtualize is high availability (HA).  You cannot have HA without a SAN. So, WHY do YOU want to virtualize?

(I'm not trying to offend - but sometimes, people hear about it and want to do it but don't really have a plan or know why they want to... Just trying to make sure you've thought this through and by understanding why you want to do it, perhaps some more appropriate advice can be given).

Expert Comment

ID: 34000641

I think a better reason to virtualize is Disaster Recovery over HA. Restore a VM to disimilar HW so you can come up fast while you wait on that new server to be delivered.

I would think fewer larger SAS drives would be fine. We did a 2U server with 6 450GB SAS 15K drives and 32GB or RAM and our users love it. I have no idea what load a Cognos server would have though. It has 11 Vms on it and still has plenty of horsepower and room to spare. Though our SQL databases are not huge (10GB) and all of our load is internal not external.

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