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Clarification on vSphere / ESXi Purchase

Posted on 2011-05-05
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Last Modified: 2012-05-11
I'm getting ready to quote out a server replacement for a company with 2 servers. Both are old as dirt servers and they've long outgrown them. One is a heavily used Small Business Server and the other is a heavily used terminal server. I would like to move them into a heavy duty box running a paid version of VMware ESXi so we can run backups of the VM's and use the additional features. They may add another server to the same box in the near future and I know the machine can run the 3 servers without issue. I'm just not sure exactly which license to go with in this situation.

I'm thinking the Small Business Essentials Kit will get the job done but I'm not sure and want to be positive before I say it's only going to cost 611.00 before taxes for the license.
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Question by:BigDeer
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coolsport00 earned 1000 total points
ID: 35700938
Essentials would certainly fit the bill. You can have a max of 3 ESXi hosts, dual 6-core CPUs. It has vStorage API capability so you can do b/u's.

~coolsport00
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Expert Comment

by:coolsport00
ID: 35700945
Here's the specs for SMB "kits":
http://www.vmware.com/vmwarestore/vsphere_smbpurchaseoptions.html

~coolsport00
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Expert Comment

by:coolsport00
ID: 35700986
Based off my link, and maybe some things you've heard about VMware/virtualization, what are some of your goals you want this company to have/be able to utilize?

~coolsport00
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Author Comment

by:BigDeer
ID: 35700988
Great...many thanks

Any clue how this works with a SCSI Dell LTO-3 autoloading tape drive and Backup Exec? I'd install BE on the SBS Server.
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LVL 125
ID: 35700995
Just be a little cautious if Small Business Server was supplied OEM, because you may not be able to transfer the license as it's OEM.

As for heavily used terminal server, test this after you've moved to a virtual environment, because you may not get the same number of concurrent users, at comfortable performance as before on the physical server.

Also budget for a Backup Solution such as Veeam Backup and Replication at approx $500 per processor. Unless you decide to purchase VMware Data Recovery, unless it's in your licensed VMware package.
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Author Comment

by:BigDeer
ID: 35701019
The primary reason I'd like to get them setup using ESXi is because of the incredibly fast communication between the guest OSes. The terminal server runs 2 different applications that will be accessing databases on the SBS server along with Outlook/Exchange, user folder redirection...the works. So, that's the main reason but there's also the option of backing up the entire VM to be moved to another server or restored if need be.

At this point I'm not sure if it's going to be cheaper and whether or not it will work with the existing tape drive.
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LVL 125
ID: 35701020
It's possible to connect an existing tape drive to the virtual server.

If you require additional help on connecting a tape drive, I think this is out of scope of this question. Please raise another question.
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Author Comment

by:BigDeer
ID: 35701055
That's a good point about the OEM software...I'll buy retail.

I have another customer with a terminal server that has more usage than this one and on a slower ESXi box so I think they'll be good. I'll inquire with the owner of the company as to what their 5yr outlook will be on the number employees just in case.

I'm looking into Veeam already but I'm afraid they may have a conniption if the tape drive they bought a couple of years ago will be useless for this setup.
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Expert Comment

by:coolsport00
ID: 35701057
Well, the Essentials Kits would work for what you're wanting. There's no limitation there. You get vCenter Server to do cool stuff like cloning, template creation, and cold migration (unless you get Ess Plus, then you get vMotion), and of course vStorage API access for a VM b/u solution (Veeam is what I use and recommend). If you have a 3rd host off-site somewhere, you could utilize that within Veeam for offsite backups.

~coolsport00
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Expert Comment

by:coolsport00
ID: 35701061
Veeam is only a disk-to-disk VM b/u solution...
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Assisted Solution

by:Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2) earned 1000 total points
ID: 35701095
As for your tape solution it's possible

There have been issues with SCSI Controllers that are supported in VMware ESX/ESXi.

have a look at these previous solutions

http://www.experts-exchange.com/Software/VMWare/Q_26751845.html

http://www.experts-exchange.com/Software/VMWare/Q_26802040.html

http://www.experts-exchange.com/Software/VMWare/Q_26833601.html

if your scsi card is an Adaptec card, it's supported for SCSI passthrough.

or you can use VMDirectPath I/O Passthrough.

http://kb.vmware.com/selfservice/microsites/search.do?language=en_US&cmd=displayKC&externalId=1010789 for more information on VMDirectPath I/O Passthrough.

anything more specific, to configuring for your environment, needs a separate question, but many reuse a tape drive for Backups with VMware. BUT, please note some Administrators have commented that backup times have doubled or tripled! When moving from physical to virtual, or backing up virtual machines, rather than physical.
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Author Comment

by:BigDeer
ID: 35701215
Thanks for all the info guys. I may just go with a two server setup...they only have a single torturous T1 and I can't push their backups across that when they work at all hours. Tape will be critical...I'll give the info for upgrading their pipe and adding the disk based and internet backup solutions as opposed to their old tape drive.

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Author Closing Comment

by:BigDeer
ID: 35701224
Regards.
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Expert Comment

by:coolsport00
ID: 35701226
wow...T1? Hahaha...good luck! :P

Regards,
~coolsport00
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LVL 125
ID: 35701238
Good Luck with the implementation, come back soon.
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