Hardware Spec to virtualize 8 servers and setup VDI for 150 desktops.

Posted on 2010-11-16
Last Modified: 2012-05-10
We want to virtualize our servers and convert our desktops to virtual desktops.
We have currently have 8 physical (pentium and Xeon dual cores)servers(: exchange, MS SQL, files server, webserver, domain server.
And desktops that are mixes of pentium and core 2 duo. all run XP. and do mostly outlook, ms office, and some web apps.

I want to first convert all servers to VMWARE and create all new windows 7 based virtual desktops. This because we will not be replacing the workstations soon.

I am thinking of buying 3 DELL R810 Servers with 2x 8-core X6550 processors and 128GB RAM and 2x INTEL Quad Gb ethernet cards each
For storage I am thinking DELL M3220i  4TB Raid-10 SAN with 8x GB ethernet adapters.

My estimate is based on 2 cores per server. (16 cores needed)
5 VDI per core(30 cores needed)
My server have a total of 3x2x8cores= 48 cores

Memory 4Gb per server(32GB)
2G per VDI (300GB)
My servers carry 3*128= 384GB

HD space
currently the server use 300GB
I want to give the server 1Tb total and each VDI 20GB

Of course I plan to buy 1 extra server with samr specs in case of failures.

I am not sure if the MD3220i is fast enough. Please give me some insights.

Question by:BroadSurf62
LVL 10

Expert Comment

ID: 34149353
the selected spec is not bad and even good enough, however do u think putting many apps on few machines in virtualized mode is a recommended way ? virtualization is  a  helpful stuff but still not many companies are using it for their live servers especially DB and exchange, yes virtualiztion can be better used for small interfaces but in case of major apps if something goes wrong with hardware then consider all down..

As far as u are happy with the virtualization then selected hardware is fine .

Author Comment

ID: 34150070
I want to setup failover with the extra server? Yes the SAN can fail. for that one I did not choose  a backup yet.
LVL 42

Expert Comment

ID: 34150193
I have no problem virtualize SQL, Exchange, file server, domain controllers, etc. for a larger environment than yours using Hyper-V. Performance for servers should be okay as far as server hardware goes (should maybe add more RAM to some of the servers). I don't think that your disk storage will be fast enough for 150 virtual desktops. You don't mention how many disks and what kind you plan on using. I would work with VMware and Dell to figure out how many disk IOPS you will need and how to deliver that. You might be looking at something like the Dell EqualLogic PS6000XVS, which will really raise the cost of your project.
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Author Comment

ID: 34151681
Yes Kevin,
I was thinking to add a little extra ram to the servers.
I was thinking Raid50.
But am also afraid that the m3220 speed won't cut it.
However the Equallogic is another price range specially considering extra requirements for the servers.
I am waiting for Dell's offer.

LVL 42

Expert Comment

ID: 34151706
I don't think that you can do 150 seat VDI deployment with slow (cheap) storage. You can take a look at Nimbus Data, which is a startup offering Tier 1 flash at 10K per TB, starting at 2.5 TB. They claim to have all of the normal storage features (replication, snapshots, MPIO, thin provisioning, etc.) for flash at a price point that you would pay for 15K disk from the traditional vendors with all of their software.

My understanding is that VDI really stresses disk systems, much like a high IOP database.

Accepted Solution

Loren Okuly earned 250 total points
ID: 34152562
do you own math to determin how many io's you need to get out of that storage platform then check to see if that box is big enough. in many deployments with VDI the most expensive part if often the storage. In many of those situations RAM is often times cheaper than disk so.... if you're virtualizign things like SQL and Exchange and SQL is doing a lot of IO, check to see if that system is starved for memory. if it is you can frequently dramatically reduce the disk IO requirements by giving SQL more RAM. i recenently took a sql server from 8GB of RAM to 32GB which changed my IO requirement on the storage from 14,000 IO/Sec to averaging under 100 IOPS. That's FAR cheaper that the number of disks that were needede to acheive 14,000 IOPS under 10msec which was my target.

Author Comment

ID: 34153783
My calculations came out to 7500IOPS for the VDI's. My servers do mostly light duty. I have to look into a way measure what the servers will need when virtrualized.
LVL 42

Assisted Solution

kevinhsieh earned 250 total points
ID: 34156471
I think that your IOPS required calculation is high, based on the fact that a 15K SAS drive can do maybe 150-180 IOPS. Divide 7200/180=42, which means that you need at least 42 15K SAS drives to get the IOPS you need, which means that each 15K SAS drive can support a little bit more than 3 VDI sessions per drive. I would think that you can more than 3 VDI sessions on a spindle.

You may want to check out Nimbus Data. They offer enterprise level SSD with all of the software at a price that's comporable to 15K drives from major vendors. Their pitch is that you canput everything on SSD, and that it doesn't have to be super pricey compared to 15K disks. Their pricing is about 10K per TB of storage, starting at 2.5 TB. .

See this link for IOPS of various drive types

Author Closing Comment

ID: 35952007
we worked with Dell to finish the proposal and went for EMC

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