Virtualization hardware

Posted on 2010-09-22
Last Modified: 2013-11-06
I just found out that I need to spend about $4k today out of my budget and was considering going virtual on our servers.

We currently have a 2008 sbs server that also  has BES express installed on it and a 32 bit 2003 server that serves as a file server, hosts our time clock software, QuickBooks database, intranet server, and a couple other legacy apps we currently need.  

Since we are a nonprofit, we can get server licenses pretty cheap from Microsoft donation programs, so I've been excited to get into a virtual environment so I can run a separate server for each of those apps and get the BES off our SBS machine.

The 2008 sbs has a consistent load of about 40 people on it.  The BES serves 6 devices currently.  I figure 3 2003 and 3 2008 server instances will give me plenty of servers to distribute the rest of our apps on with room for future growth.

What kind of hardware would I need to handle that kind of load?  Other than the BES, the other 6 instances I'm considering will be very lightly used.  

I would like to use VMWare, but I think they are out of our price range, more than likely I will go with a Hyper-V solution.
Question by:KMDComp

Accepted Solution

DMcCulla earned 250 total points
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4K isnt a whole lot for purchasing a machine expected to run 6 Virtual Servers on it. You are looking at 1 Server 2008 Enterprise licence ( covers 1 host license w/4 VM licenses) and 3 Server 2003 License.

A server that can run 6 VMs with high stability should cost you upwards of 8 K without the uber-licensing fees. If it wasn't for the need for room for future growth, you could get away with a 5k machine for 6 VMs.
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kevinhsieh earned 250 total points
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I just priced out a Dell R410 for about $3665 before tax, shipping etc. that should get you down under the $4000.

The most important factors for a virtualization platform are RAM, then disk IOPS, and then CPU, and then network IMHO. RAM is certainly the most important. Here are the specs, but you can play around with them.

I am sure you could also go with a tower configuration. I don't know what kind of requirements you have in terms of redundant power supply or remote management, but the iDRAC6 Enterprise is really sweet for remote management. You can remotely access the console, watch is boot from power on through OS, modify BIOS settings, remotely mount ISO images for software installation, power cycle, etc. Basically anything you can do locally except change cables and hard drives.

PowerEdge R410 Chassis w/ up to 4 Hot-Plug Hard Drives,LCD diagnostics
Intel® Xeon® E5620 2.4Ghz, 12M Cache,Turbo, HT, 1066MHz Max Mem
32GB Memory (4x8GB), 1333MHz Dual Ranked RDIMMs for 1 Processor, Optimized
No Operating System   NOOS
RAID 5 for PERC6i/H700 Controllers   R5H7CT
PERC H700A INTG RAID CTL NVDIMM 1GB Cache, R410 Hot Plug Chassis
300GB 10K RPM Serial-Attach SCSI 6G 2.5in Hotplug Hard Drive,3.5in HYB CARR   300A10K   (4 drives, ~900 GB useable space)
Power Supply, Non-Redundant, 480W   480NRDT
No Rack Rails or Cable Management Arm
1Yr Basic Hardware Warranty Repair: 5x10 HW-Only, 5x10 NBD Onsite

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Thanks for the input guys.  

I've decided that 1 Day just isn't enough time to get up to speed and move on an idea that I wasn't seriously considering until next year anyway.

I’m going to go with some new workstations to replace some machines getting close to EOL.  By getting those workstations early, it should give me $7k $8k to spend on the server and maybe enough left over for VMware.

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