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Virtualization deployment

I am currently planning on migrating about of my 16 physical servers to a virtualized environment within the next few months. I think i will probably go with the vSphere suite to do this. All of my servers are just file/application servers so how many Esx hosts do you think i will need? Also, do you think i will need i will need to setup a SAN to store the VMs?
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Cobra25
Asked:
Cobra25
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2 Solutions
 
coolsport00Commented:
If you get a beefy server (6 cores, 48-64GB RAM), you only need 1 host, and you can use ESXi (vSphere Hypervisor...free version). The only problem with free version is you don't have template, clone, & other mgmt tools that come with vCenter. No, you don't need a SAN. It really depends on the requirements you're needing. Do you need HA? Do you need to migrate VMs while powered on?...etc. You can use local storage for VM storage (datastores), but I would have datastores separated from the hypervisor install. You can even install ESXi on USB to reserve disk storage if you need to.

You have many options really "cobra25"...for better answers, can you share your budget, SLAs, etc.?

Regards,
~coolsport00
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Cobra25Author Commented:
I reallly want the all the tools - vmotion, vcenter, HA, etc.
I dont have a set budget yet, i am planning for it before i propose anything to management. Will i need to purchase additional Server 03/08 licenses for my VMs? What do you recommend for storage without a SAN?
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Paul SolovyovskySenior IT AdvisorCommented:
Then you'll need at least vSphere Essentials Plus or vCenter Foundation and vSphere Standard licenses.

If you P2V current VMs you can use your current licenses unless you're using OEM license which cannot be used on different hardware (physical or virtual).

On the SAN side it depends on your preference, expertise, and need.  I prefer Netapp but have worked with HP, Lefthand, etc...
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Cobra25Author Commented:
Would local storage be recommended? I dont want it to perform too slowly
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Paul SolovyovskySenior IT AdvisorCommented:

1.  What is your budget
2.  What are your needs - VMs, physical servers, CIFS (NTFS file servers)
3.  IOPS - what type of VMs do you want to run and what are the IOPS for the servers
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Cobra25Author Commented:
15k budget.
Need to move physical to VM with no performance decrement and need failover DR.
Cannot have SAN
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Paul SolovyovskySenior IT AdvisorCommented:
Without a SAN makes life difficult but here's what you can do.

Purchase several physical hosts to run your VMs.  Also purchase either Vizioncore vRanger/Replicator or Veeam Backup that will backup and perform replication.

Run the VMs on standalone ESX hosts and have another server with a NTFS share to run your backups to disk..then get them on tape for offsite

In addition ensure that you have enough hard drive space on the hosts, this way you can replicate the VMs to different hosts so that if a host because unavailable you have a warm copy on another system that you can run.
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coolsport00Commented:
Concur...without a SAN, you really won't be able to implement anything much of what you're wanting (HA, VMotion, etc.). I don't think having "several" hosts is required...but at least 2. "Paul's" idea of replication to another host is pretty much your only way to go as far as DR implementation goes. I use Veeam and it's pretty good. They just came out with a new version that is supposed to be 'miles ahead' of other VM b/u & repl solutions. I have yet to upgrade (other projects going on), but can't wait to do so. Since your budget is pretty light, I recommend using a USB stick to put your hypervisor install on, then use all disks to configure 2 datastores on each host - 1 for production, the other for VM b/u's & replications. Do you have an offsite DR location in mind?

You can easily P2V your current phys servers for no downtime with vCenter Converter Standalone, or vConverter.

Regards,
~coolsport00
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Cobra25Author Commented:
Can i use a Dell powervault instead of a SAN?
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coolsport00Commented:
As long as it can be utilized as shared storage among more than 1 ESX/i host....shared storage. If you have that, then you can utilize the advanced vSphere functions (VMotion, etc.).

~coolsport00
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Paul SolovyovskySenior IT AdvisorCommented:
A powervault is local storage I believe.  Unless it can do NFS or iSCSI you can't use it for shared storage. If it can do NFS3 or  iSCSI then you may have a shot.
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coolsport00Commented:
It can (I looked it up); they have several options - DAS, NAS, iSCSI, FC, etc. (www.dell.com/powervault). So, he/she just has to make sure it's a device that is capable of shared storage is all. With switches, it still may be out of budget range...

~coolsport00
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Paul SolovyovskySenior IT AdvisorCommented:
then it's a SAN..having shared storage with FC is the basic definition of a SAN

The 3000 series is your typical low budget SAN
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Cobra25Author Commented:
why do i need a switch if its directly attached?
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Paul SolovyovskySenior IT AdvisorCommented:
Direct Attach is not a shared storage.  iSCSI and NFS require a switch (IP connectivity).  FC requires a FC switch..or direct attach HBA.
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Cobra25Author Commented:
Can i direct connect more than 1 server to the powervault?
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coolsport00Commented:
Even if you do, the hosts will see different storage arrays. VMotion only works with shared storage.

~coolsport00
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Cobra25Author Commented:
Hmm, okay. So if i have data stored onto the powervault i cant see the same data on another server?? Then perhaps i can go with a NAS and share out some space, does NAS perform well?
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Paul SolovyovskySenior IT AdvisorCommented:
If the NAS supports NFS3 then perhaps (if it's not on the vSphere HCL list it's not guaranteed)

Setting up something like Openfiler on a server with DAS would work.  You could do NFS or iSCSI but you should keep the VM traffic on a seperate switch or VLAN so that your production traffic and your VM traffic (think SAN) are not on the same broadcast domain.

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Cobra25Author Commented:
Paulsolov - can you direct me to the cheap budget fc san you were referring to earlier?
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Paul SolovyovskySenior IT AdvisorCommented:
coolsport mentioned that the powervault can do FC.  I have only seen the MD3000i units that do iSCSI as well as their equallogic iscsi solutions.  The MD3000i is probably the cheapest of the bunch and iSCSI works well in a vmware environment. FC normally is more expensive the iSCSI since the HBAs themselves are usually a few $K each.
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Cobra25Author Commented:
Great thanks..

So i can use the powervault then, it appears to be supported by vmware as well
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coolsport00Commented:
Yes....because it's on the HCL, it is a supported device.

Best of luck! :)

~coolsport00
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