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VMware Server - Can it be used for Initial Virtualization Phase - Windows based network

Posted on 2011-04-28
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Last Modified: 2012-05-11
Hello, I am the sys admin in a medium sized company. We are looking to implement a basic virtualization solution that will see us through the next couple of years. Funds will be made available at a later date to take it to the next level. We are currently running 23 w2k8 servers and we are looking to virtualize around 10 of those. VMWare server is free and seems ideal to help us on our way. I assume there are limitations to what this product can do.

Can it be done? It's either this or wait 2 years till the funds are available for a better product. How good is the free version of VMWare server? Should we go ahead or have I missed the point of this product?

Regards, Aelara
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Question by:Aelara
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11 Comments
 
LVL 124
ID: 35487997
VMWare Server 2.0 could be used, but it's an old product, it's end of life, and VMware Support ends on the product on 30 June 2011.

I think you would be muchn better, selecting VMware (Type1) bare metal Hypervisor, which performs far better, called VMware vSphere Hypervisor TM (ESXi) which can also be downloaded and used for free.

http://www.vmware.com/products/vsphere-hypervisor/overview.html
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Expert Comment

by:Danny McDaniel
ID: 35487999
you can certainly use Server, but I feel it is limited in how well it can host multiple VM's that may need moderate or higher resources.  I would recommend you install the free version of ESXi.  It requires bare metal to install onto so you will want to verify that the intended hardware meets the vmware hardware compatibility lists.
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LVL 124
ID: 35488011
Don't bother using VMware Server, select VMware vSphere Hypervisor TM (ESXi), this is exactly the same server software that is used on the licensed version.

The licensed version you license more options for your Enterprise.

So you can start with the FREE version, start your virtualisation project, and in the future when you have funds upgrade to VMware vSphere, just by purchasing licenses to unlock new Enterprise Features.

http://www.vmware.com/products/vsphere-hypervisor/upgrade.html

Just make sure you select a server which is based on the Hardware Compatibility List.

http://www.vmware.com/go/hcl

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LVL 124
ID: 35488022
Customers can obtain VMware vSphere Hypervisor free of charge and later seamlessly upgrade to  more advanced kits of vSphere designed  for Small Businesses or Mid-Size & Enterprise Businesses.

http://www.vmware.com/products/vsphere/small-business/buy.htmlhttp://www.vmware.com/products/vsphere/small-business/buy.html

http://www.vmware.com/products/vsphere/mid-size-and-enterprise-business/buy.html
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Author Comment

by:Aelara
ID: 35490303
Many Thanks for the info, How many virtual servers can I employ on each host server? We have a number of fairly beefy Xeon servers to be used as the host for the virual servers. Could i have 3 or 4 hosted on a single server? There will be moderate demand on each virtual server, eg Internal web server, Proxy server, DNC/DHCP servers etc.

What about NIC's? Should be install more? Each intended host server has 2 installed copper gb network cards.

Many Thanks.
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LVL 124
ID: 35490402
It depends on how much RAM and CPU the virtual servers will use. You are likely to run out of memory before CPU. So 3-4 might fit if you've got the memory.

2 NICs is good, because you can "team" them for load balancing, more is better, but it's okay for a start.
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LVL 124
ID: 35490404
If you are going to try the free Hypervisor (ESXi)

Make sure your fairly beefy Xeon servers are on the HCL.

http://www.vmware.com/go/hcl
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Author Comment

by:Aelara
ID: 35498691
These are the host servers sporting a modest 16gb Ram, Hardware Raid and 2 nics. If I can host 3 virtual servers on these units we will be happy. Many thanks for all your advice.

http://uk.insight.com/en-gb/productinfo/servers/HPIA06AAA3
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LVL 124
ID: 35498765
this server is supported on the HCL for ESXI 4.1
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LVL 124

Accepted Solution

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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2) earned 1000 total points
ID: 35498774
three virtual servers per host should be comfortable.
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LVL 16

Assisted Solution

by:Danny McDaniel
Danny McDaniel earned 1000 total points
ID: 35498848
I'd venture to say you could double the ram and proc and get triple that number of guests per host.  Providing the storage can handle the IOPS.

I think we're using dual 5550 proc's w/ 64 GB and I've ran 25 guests per host on 4GB FC storage.  Performance is good...just ran out of memory.
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