Implementing VMware ESXi / Vmware Server / Microsoft Virual Server


We are planning to implement Vmware and planning to convert 4 Web server into one (virtualization)...

currently all 4 web servers are running on 4 P4 1G ram, 10G servers and there isn't many traffic on it and it wont be huge traffic down the road anyway.

So we want to reduce the number of servers to 1. I would like to know how would you do it if you were to set this up?

there are few options to choose from of course but which one will really do the job...

should we just install Windows OS and then Vmware Server on it? or install VM ESXi ?

if ESXi, do we need to have a NAS server? or can this be run on the same server?


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The first question to ask yourself is redudancy, and risk management. What would happen if that one server was to go down? Your web farm would be down completely.

If it's in the budget I would plan on getting two ESXi or ESX servers with a network attached storage device. My reasoning behind a NAS is if you plan on moving forward to a full vmware shop you would have the ability to vmotion between the devices. Most simple NAS devices (buffalo, synology, etc..) support NFS and iSCSI so that should be suffice. Also storing your VM's on a NAS will allow you for easy redundancy with RAID and if one server was to fail, and you were to use ESXi you can have the other server power on the VM's without the need of a vmotion license.

This is basically a nutshell of virutilization there are plenty of resources out there however, if you have a vendor you purchase hardware/software from they are usually good to provide you with additional resources or even contacting vmware will provide you all the information you need.

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I would recommend ESXi for better stability and less overhead for the virtualization layer. A NAS is not essential - you could put all of your vms on local storage. The server does need to be on VMware's hardware compatibility list (

Good Luck
You can also use Hyper-V on Windows 2008/R2 or Hyper-V Server 2008 R2. Hyper-V server 2008 R2 is free like VMware's ESXi, but you get high availability clustering and Live Migration (Vmotion) for free, whereas VMware will charge you for it. For a single host server you can use internal storage. For a cluster you need iSCSI storage with Hyper-V. VMware can use iSCSI or NAS. Both can use FC, but why bother unless you have FC gear just sitting around.
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Vmware Server 2.0 seems to be getting aborted, last service release was from sept. 2009.

So indeed give esxi a try. With server virtualisation you have to consider, that if the physical host is down all virtual servers are also down. So have a working backup plan. This could be a second cold stand by host.
We maintain our vmware esx cluster with the virtual infrastructure client so I don't know how to work with the free tools from the free esxi server.
Definitely go with ESXi.  One less windows license, one less problem area.

Make sure the machine is 64bit (anything recent is), has enough RAM (add up the amount you want to give to each VM and add 512MB for ESXi) and plenty of hard drive space for the VMs and snapshots.

NAS is not need, but as fluk3d said, there are a lot of possibilities for redundancy and fail over, and some steps in the beginning will allow you to move ahead in the future.

If you are just starting into it, if you have a spare machine to play with, you can use converter to convert the web machines and see how they perform before committing to a new machine.  My "play machine" was a desktop E2160 processor with 3 GB of RAM and a SATA  72GB hard drive.  Runs fine with an XP machine and a Win 2000 machine on it.
ezzadinAuthor Commented:
Hyper-V Server does not consume a Windows license. It is a stand alone product. I agree with the other points.
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