Best virtualization solution for a 64 bit and a 32 bit server

Posted on 2011-03-04
Last Modified: 2012-05-11
Hi Experts,
I'm trying to figure out the best way to go under the current scenario:  I have a Windows 2003 server on an HP ML 350 G3 (x86 hardware) and a Windows 2000 server on an HP ML 350 G2.  I bought a Dell T710 (64 bit hardware) and plan on installing a virtual hypervisor on it and transferring the other two systems to it.  Then I plan on putting a hypervisor on the ML 350 and making it available for backup purposes in case something happens to the Dell.  Does this make sense?  If I use ESXi 3.x on the old HP and ESXi 4 on the new Dell will I be able to copy virtual systems from one to the other, in case one goes down?  Any advice anyone can provide would be appreciated.  I'm not wedded to ESXi, so if you think another hypervisor is better please let me know.  Thanks.
Question by:mbibmdi
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Expert Comment

ID: 35039718
"If I use ESXi 3.x on the old HP and ESXi 4 on the new Dell will I be able to copy virtual systems from one to the other, in case one goes down?"

If I remember correctly, yes you can transfer from one to another.
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Expert Comment

by:Neil Russell
ID: 35039905
You can NOT transfer and 64bit OS from the ESX4.x server to the 3.x server as they will not run.
You can of course COPY what ever you like between datastores but that doesnt achieve a lot.

Author Comment

ID: 35039938
The Windows 2000 and Windows 2003 servers are both 32 bit.  My question is if I create virtual machines for these servers can I transfer them back and forth between the ESXi 3.5 and ESXi 4.0 hypervisors?  How would I do it?  Thanks
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Expert Comment

by:Neil Russell
ID: 35039995
Then your BEST solution would be to have a small NAS that had the virtual machines on and just had the hypervisor boot on the 2 servers. You dont need to have disk drives in the servers at all that way.

I believe you can use VCentre 4.1 to manage both servers but you would need to check.
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Expert Comment

ID: 35043911
You can transfer them back and forth using vCenter Converter Standalone, but I don't recommend doing so. Both the VM Hardware and VMware Tools are different between those ESXi versions. Hardware is v. 4 on ESXi 3.5 and v. 7 on vSphere; and, the VMware Tools on vSphere is also an upgrade from ESXi 3.5. Using Converter you can modify the Hardware version when moving (converting) VMs between hosts, but you run the potential of corrupting the VM. My question to you is...why would you use to different ESXi versions? ESXi is free (now called vSphere Hypervisor). You can download/install it on both boxes, *IF* your hosts support each version (maybe that's why you want/need 2 diff ESXi versions?). You can purchase Essentials for $495 and have the capability of having 3 hosts in your infrastructure and simply use the (cold) migration feature to transfer VMs between hosts if/when needed, as long as you have your VMs on shared storage.

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Expert Comment

ID: 35043937
Ok...just checked VMware's HCL (you may have done so already?):, and the ML350 G2/3s are not listed...only the G5/6s. So, the possibility of you being able to install ESXi 3.5 on your legacy HPs may be remote. You can certainly try. But, if they will be production hosts, I don't recommend installing since, even if it does install successfully, VMware won't support those systems. Is it possible for you to spend a bit more $$ on supported, yet legacy servers to install vSphere on? (say, HP Proliant DL 380 G5?) You can prob find some on ebay or maybe newegg. They'd prob be about $600+

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Accepted Solution

coolsport00 earned 500 total points
ID: 35043967
I've not used/tested it, but Xenserver may be a route you can take. But again, not sure if it's supported on your legacy systems.

My assumption with all of this and having more than 1 host is obviously failover capability, correct? So, I agree with your line of thinking. You just need systems to support your strategy. I recommend implementing as consistent an infrastructure as possible (similar hosts, similar platform, similar resources [RAM, storage, Processor]). So, if you do find 2 hosts capable of supporting vSphere Essentials, you can manually copy VMs on a regular interval, or get a product like Veeam Backup/Replication ($495) that can replicate the VMs to the 2nd host for you (automated). In the event of a host failure, you can simply power up the replicated VM(s).

Hope that all gives you some options to consider "mbibmdi"


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