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single socket ESX host vs dual socket

Hi,
We are thinking about using single socket ESX hosts instead of dual sockets to extend our current licensing further, and, also because we have seen that memory (not cpu) resources seems to be the greatest hog in our environment. We are running vSphere 4.1 with 6  dual socket ESX hosts with around 30 VMs on each.  We have seen CPU usage way low so it seems like single core may be the way to go esp to save on licensing costs.

 The single socket servers we are considering deploying would be these:

-HP DL360s with Quad-Core Intel® Xeon® Processor E5530 (2.40GHz, 8M Cache) and
-HP DL380s with Quad-Core Intel® Xeon® Processor X5550 (2.66GHz, 8M Cache)  


Does anyone else have experience doing this?  We've never tried this before.  So I'm not sure if we are overlooking anything.
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imherson
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imherson
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3 Solutions
 
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
Memory, always seem to be the bottleneck not CPU, depending upon your environment.

Some of our clients have done the same thing, where they have removed a processor from the socket, to re-deploy that license "for free" to a new One socket server, that way there's been no additional VMware licensing cost for the new purchased single processor server.

- HP DL360s with Quad-Core have been the choice, not need for storage, ESXi 4.1 embedded on usb or sd card, and VMs on a SAN.
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bgoeringCommented:
I did that - put in four single socket 6-core IBM servers to replace two antique dual socket HP servers when I did the 4.1 upgrade. (The HP boxes fell off the HCL)

But you should understand that in most cases the single processor boxes only hold half the memory that could be used if both sockets were occupied...
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bgoeringCommented:
I guess I should say they were dual socket servers (IBM 3650 M3) equipped with only one processor. Nice thing is it gives a few more options for HA and DRS to work efficiently than the old two node cluster had.
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Brian BEE Topic Advisor, Independant Technology ProfessionalCommented:
Should work fine. That's basically the same hardware we are using.

One lesson I learned is don't buy a server with empty sockets. The cost too add additional processors down the road will be more than a new server.
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andyalderCommented:
One thing you may be overlooking, if you're using Windows VMs they you're probably going to use datacentre edition licensing since 6*30 is a lot of standard licenses. Windows Datacentre Edition is only legally licensed on a box with more than 1 CPU.

http://www.microsoft.com/windowsserver2008/en/us/licensing-datacenter.aspx
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bgoeringCommented:
Good catch andyalder - My one processor cluster is developers only, and they all have MSDN to cover licensing
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andyalderCommented:
It would be worth checking with MS though, it says "You may not run instances of Datacenter on a server with less than two processors" and you're not actually running datacenter, just using the license to cover unlimited VMs.

Oh, and I can't multiply, should be 6*6*30 standard licenses.
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bgoeringCommented:
Unless you install a VM with datacenter on it. Wonder what the rules are for that if the vm has two cores that show up as processors.

And how do you get 6*6*30?
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andyalderCommented:
6 servers average 30 VMs so 6*30 VMs in total, 6*30 VMs on 6 servers 6*6*30 licenses assuming no vMotion restrictions.

Windows ITpro says you can use datacenter edition on single CPU, but you have to buy two licenses for it, http://www.windowsitpro.com/article/windows-server/Q-Can-I-install-the-datacenter-edition-of-Windows-Server-on-a-machine-with-only-one-physical-processor-.aspx
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imhersonAuthor Commented:
Good point andyalder.  We have been using datacenter for lic VMs on our servers.
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imhersonAuthor Commented:
bgoering, what do mean MSDN cover's lic for development?
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bgoeringCommented:
As I understand it, so long as EVERYONE has a MSDN license that accesses any particular server, and that the use is to support development, you don't need other licensing.
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imhersonAuthor Commented:
Thanks guys!
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