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Virtualize first server....Hardware/consolidation questions...

Posted on 2010-11-07
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I have an environment with about 50 users and 10 servers.

I want to start consolidating servers (with no budget) by turning one of the machines into a virtual host using the free ESXi as the hypervisor.

The machine is a HP ProLiant DL380 G5:
-4GB RAM
-1 Intel quad-core E5540/2.53GHz CPU

The server is currently an application server that is being way underutilized. I want to segment it into a couple of different VM's (how many though?)

I want to add a few VM's that I think would also have relatively low utilization with the number of users I am working with (<50).
-Win2003 w/ WSS3.0 VM
-Linux/Squid Proxy
- a few other PC-based application servers (low P4/WinXP specs)

A few questions:
I have about 5 HP 7.2K SAS drives on the machine, whats the recommendations there? I do not have a SAN...

Do I need a dedicated NIC for each VM? Im pretty sure this HP has two integrated NIC's..

Whats the best or least complicated way to track CPU/memory/disk utilization...on the existing application servers that I want to consolidate? And any feedback on the requirements and who to segment resources for the Squid and WSS that I want to add?

Thanks for any input and guidance on this subject. Very excited to jump into virtualization and start learning....
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Question by:guitar_333
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by:Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE)
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Okay, so you've got a single server, which has 4GB RAM,  total CPU grunt 10GHz CPU.

I would use the embedded version of ESXi on a usb stick, which makes DR easier for you, install on a USB stick.

Create a RAID 5 single array, and later format as a VMFS datastore.

What application server is currently installed on this host, and what CPU and Memory requirements does it have.

I think you bottlenect will be memory, 4GB will not go very fair, unless you are careful with your allocation of memory per VM Guest.

No you don't need a dedicated NIC per VM, you create a virtual switch, all VMs use the virtual switch, and then you can allocate NICs per Virtual Switch.

depending on your network configuration, you could trunk/bond both NICS to give you 2GB, or just use 1 NIC and 1 NIC spare (depends on your Network Utilitzation).

Best tool is Perfmon on Windows.

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by:Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE)
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I use a DL380 4GB ram, with Single Quad Core, and have two Win2k3 domain controllers, front and back end exchange 2k3 server, backup server, Win2k8/SQL Server 2008 R2, you just need to be careful with how much Memory you allocate per VM.

so check with perfmon, what real memory usage is used.
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by:Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE)
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oh, and as this is your first attempt, at dipping your toes in the water, select a server for virtualisation, that won't me missed, if all goes wrong.

e.g. don't pick your corpoarte mail server fior test!
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by:guitar_333
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Thanks!

Yes, the machine is currently hosting our "old" accounting application. MS Dynamics GP10/SQL, with only 2 users accessing it for historical info...so its a good candidate. It is much underutilized right now....I'll run perfmon, so see what its at over the course of this week, but with 2-3 users lightly accessing the SQL DB it is sure to be low.

From there, I want to add a few machines that currently don't exist....Squid Proxy, WSS 3.0 server, etc..
It is reassuring to see what you are running on the same machine...segmented with two DC's, Exchange, SQL, etc...? I should be fine for what I want this thing to do in that regard...how many users access those resources?

This will be my test, then later I can consolidate other machines. I have other machines with the same specs for a DC box, an Exchange 07 box, as well as some others.

Thanks for the feedback...I'd love to hear anything else you might think of and consider usefull info..
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by:Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE)
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE) earned 166 total points
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Interesting observation, SQL when it starts-up seems to utilise ALL  (or most of ) the memory in the physical server, so just remember this, you may want to tweak your SQL (VM), to reduce to 512MB-768MB (1G), just see how it performs, before disk starts swapping.

but with 2 users, and they may not be accessing it concurretly, or 7 hours a day.

Just be sure to keep your users happy, and advise them, and keep them well informed.

But two users and historical server, doesn't justify the electricity does it!?

Squid Proxy should be okay - 512MB-768MB (1G) - Windows or Linux? Linux squid proxy will perform better. Or look at Smoothwall! (there's already a VM applicance!)

As for WSS 3.0, you'll have to check performance for this one, and how many users you are expecting to use it concurrently, because you'll probably need 2GB RAM, and 2 vCPU allocated ot the VM.

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by:Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE)
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but, I'm sure you'll get you monies worth out of an under utilised server.

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bgoering earned 167 total points
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I will toss my 2 cents in to recommend getting more RAM. Everything else looks to be OK. RAM is where most ESXi servers running business workloads seem to hit a constraint.

Good Luck
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by:PenguinN
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Ram and disk will be a bottleneck. I see you have 4Gb, beef this up to 8-12Gb so you can assign enough memory to your machines. You are using slow disks "5 HP 7.2K SAS drives" Create one RAID1 mirror with as boot partitions for your VM and a RAID5 for your data. Don’t expect miracles on disk speed but one big RAID5 store will give you no performance balancing of data. The last possibility for your RAID set is RAID10 with a hot spare, this is by far the fastest RAID set but you lose quite capacity. You do not have to add a NIC per VM. NIC teams give you 2GB speed capability but I don’t think you will notice the difference running from 7200RPM drives but you can simply configure it at setup.

Hope you succeed in setting up your ESXi.

Kind Regards, PenguinN
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