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VMware's vSphere Hypervisor (ESXi)

Posted on 2011-05-08
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Last Modified: 2012-05-11
Dear Experts:

We purchased the Dell PowerEdge™ R710 rack server with two processors and 12 GB ram and 300 GB*6 nos hard disk this server i have install ubuntu 10.4 LTS for the zimbra mail server for about 500 users and should go for virtualization for 2 guests, i got to know VMware's vSphere Hypervisor (ESXi), which is free.Request your suggestion on the below:

1.Is it recommended to install VMware's vSphere Hypervisor (ESXi), which is free edition on the Dell PowerEdge™ R710 rack server on the bare metal and then install the
ubuntu server 10.04 LTS
suse enterprise linux
Please suggest me as this server is going to be a producation server.Thanks in advance.
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Question by:D_wathi
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38 Comments
 
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Expert Comment

by:coolsport00
ID: 35715702
Yep, that is exactly right. You install ESXi directly on your host, then create your Ubuntu server as a VM.

Let me know if you have any other questions.

~coolsport00
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LVL 125
ID: 35715705
that is correct.

what is your question?
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LVL 40

Expert Comment

by:coolsport00
ID: 35715707
The ESXi Instal Guide, and VM Adm Guide in the Guides and Papers tab here:
http://www.vmware.com/support/pubs/vs_pages/vsp_pubs_esxi41_i_vc41.html, can further help you, as well.

~coolsport00
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LVL 125
ID: 35715716
All the documents are located here

http://www.vmware.com/support/pubs/vs_pages/vsp_pubs_esxi41_i_vc41.html

I would recommend the reading the following documernts

Getting Started with ESXi

http://www.vmware.com/pdf/vsphere4/r41/vsp_41_esxi_i_get_start.pdf

ESXi Installable and vCenter Server Setup Guide

http://www.vmware.com/pdf/vsphere4/r41/vsp_41_esxi_i_vc_setup_guide.pdf

Any further questions or don't under stand please ask.

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Author Comment

by:D_wathi
ID: 35715719
Thank you very much for the reply, Iam afraid for the only one reason as going with free edition of VMware's vSphere Hypervisor (ESXi) by any chance will it put me in trouble as i will not get support for the product also iam new to VM ware product for now we cannot afford to purchase the commerical product ,
my final doubt or request is can i go for the VMware's vSphere Hypervisor (ESXi), free edition for the production server.
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LVL 125
ID: 35715720
If you've not already downloaded VMware's vSphere Hypervisor (ESXi)

the download link is here

VMware vSphere Hypervisor is the new name for ESXi.

The free download is available from here

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

you need to register to download for free.

The latest versions is ESX 4.1 U1


Here are the documents

http://www.vmware.com/support/pubs/vs_pages/vsp_pubs_esxi41_i_vc41.html

Getting Started Guide

http://www.vmware.com/pdf/vsphere4/r41/vsp_41_esxi_i_get_start.pdf

Please make sure you server is on the Hardware Compatibility List

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

http://www.vmware.com/resources/compatibility/search.php

http://partnerweb.vmware.com/comp_guide2/search.php

and you use a 64 bit server and enable Intel Virtualisation Tecnology also called Intel-VT.

compare the differences between ESX and ESXi (the replacement for ESX)

http://www.vmware.com/products/vsphere/esxi-and-esx/compare.html

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LVL 125
ID: 35715726
As you have access to Expert Exchange you can ask as many questions as you like and obtain Professional Quality VMware Support with any issue you may have, there are many VMware Experts here to advise you of your issues.

I probably answer your question that VMware's Support Desk!
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LVL 125
ID: 35715729
and probably answer your question faster than VMware's Support Desk, for just an EE monthly subscription!
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LVL 40

Expert Comment

by:coolsport00
ID: 35715734
Well, vSphere Essentials kit is only $600US. You could potentially get that; but vSphere Hypervisor is certainly a viable alternative. And, though you don't have 'official' tech support, you do have the Guides, and as mentioned above, us here on EE :)

I certainly understand your concerns though...

~coolsport00
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LVL 125
ID: 35715735
The free product is exactly the same software as the commercial version. up to 6 Core Processor Support, unlimited (320) Virtual Machines per server. You just don't get the additional features, vMotion, HA and DRS which are available in the licensed versions.

Remember Support and Subscription is usually extra, on-top of licensed products with VMware.

You may have issues with Backups, with the free version.
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LVL 125
ID: 35715741
Please post another question about Virtual Machine Backups (if that interests you!) because that is out of scope of this question.
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LVL 125
ID: 35715744
Well you've done the correct thing, you've purchased a server on the Hardware Compatibility List, which is thr mistake of most, setting out on the VMware project. So tick in the box there, and second tick in the box, you've come to EE for Good Professional Advice.
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LVL 40

Expert Comment

by:coolsport00
ID: 35715751
What is the specific concern you have "D_wathi" with vSphere Hypervisor 'version'?

~coolsport00
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LVL 125
ID: 35715754
@coolsport00: "it's free!"
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Author Comment

by:D_wathi
ID: 35715757
Sir, Thank you so much, please tell me shall i go for the VMware's vSphere Hypervisor (ESXi) free edition for my production server,
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LVL 125
ID: 35715759
Yes, there is no issue with the FREE version it's the SAME as the Licensed Version.

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LVL 40

Expert Comment

by:coolsport00
ID: 35715761
Absolutely...nothing wrong with doing so. If you have need to back up data WITHIN your VM, just implement that as you would with any physical implementation. If you have need to back up your whole VM, we can provide further assistance with that if you have need for that info. Just post another EE question and we'll be here to further assist. :)

~coolsport00
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LVL 125
ID: 35715763
How is the free VMware vSphere Hypervisor different than paid editions of VMware vSphere? How can I upgrade?

    VMware vSphere Hypervisor is available at no cost in order to help companies of all sizes experience the basic benefits of virtualization. Granting free access to vSphere’s basic hypervisor functionality enables IT professionals to become familiar with the technology and prove its value in their own companies.

    VMware vSphere Hypervisor can be seamlessly upgraded to more advanced editions of vSphere. Simply upgrade the free license to the desired upgraded vSphere license to take advantage of advanced vSphere functionally including centralized management, live migration of virtual machines, automatic load balancing, business continuity, power management, and back up and restore capabilities for virtual machines. VMware vSphere is available in multiple editions including two kits specifically designed for small businesses. A reason for moving to a paid kit or edition is that you could take advantage of the vSphere management server, called VMware vCenter Server, to enable centralized management.

Source:

http://www.vmware.com/products/vsphere-hypervisor/faq.html
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LVL 125
ID: 35715766
The important thing for you, if you don't need the Advanced Functionaility of VMware vSphere Hypervisor oin the licensed version, don't purchase it and save your money, and stick with the free version. Many user the free version in production with no issues.

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Author Comment

by:D_wathi
ID: 35715787
Thank you very much, Iam impressed with two great experts supporting me, i will go for the VMware's vSphere Hypervisor free edition install on the bare metal and then install the virtual machines on top of this, finally before closing this question please suggest me which hardware raid should i go for because iam first installing the VMware's vSphere Hypervisor and then OS, as of now my raid is raid6 shall i leave it as it is or should i change to raid5. Please help me in this.
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Expert Comment

by:coolsport00
ID: 35715791
And, as mentioned above, that is indeed to beautify of vSphere Hypervisor...it's ease of upgrade. In a small shop, you probably have absolutely no need for any advanced features (vMotion, HA, etc.). But, as your company grows, and you feel like you may need a more highly available infrastructure with redundancy & failover, 'upgrading' to to do is nothing more than a license change. And that's it. Some feel 'pressure' like they *have* to buy elevated versions of ESXi, when in reality (at least for small org's), they really don't. The 1 true nicety about the purchased version is central management if you have multiple hosts, as well as some functions you get with the central mgmt tool, vCenter Server - cloning, migration, template creation, etc. But again, let me just reiterate what has already been said, vSphere Hypervisor is fine. And, if you have only 1 host you're gonig to have in production for a while, you have no real need to purchase anything really.

~coolsport00
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LVL 125
ID: 35715794
RAID 10 if you want top read and write performance for your virtual machine datastore, or RAID 5 if you cannot afford to sacrifice space.

Just make sure the RAID array you make for installing is less than 2TB - 512 bytes, because that is the maximum size that VMware can support.
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LVL 40

Expert Comment

by:coolsport00
ID: 35715795
If possible, I suggest splitting your storage - install ESXi either on a USB or small sized RAID1 storage, and then have a separate RAID (5 would be fine) for your datastore storage for VMs and data. Separation between the hypervisor install and datastore storage is certainly what I recommend.

~coolsport00
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LVL 40

Expert Comment

by:coolsport00
ID: 35715797
Though RAID10 would give best performance, I think for your implementationi is overkill due to what you plan on implementing, and would lose 1 disk of storage. On the flip side, if you plan on implementing high I/O VMs, you wouldn't have to worry about changing your RAID in the future.

~coolsport00
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Author Comment

by:D_wathi
ID: 35715817
Sir, In my case i have 300GB *6 SAS HDD,

1.shall i go for raid 1 of using 2 hdd and install the VMware's vSphere Hypervisor free edtion.
2. raid 5 using 04 hdd for the VMs and data .
Please suggest me the best raid practice for installing the VMware's vSphere Hypervisor. Thanks once again.
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Accepted Solution

by:
coolsport00 earned 1000 total points
ID: 35715842
You could certainly use that scenario. You would have a datastore on your RAID1, which is fine for like a testing environment. Then you could have the remainder for your main datastore. When you add your 2nd RAID5 as a datastore, I would add it with a block size of 4MB so you dont run into issues for virtual disk size configuration, if you're needing something larger than 512GB.

Another option is to get a 2GB USB stick and install ESXi on it, then create 2 RAID5s for your storage. I would also create a b/u of your USB ESXi install for failover, just in case, though I have yet to see anyone post on here that their USB-installed ESXi bombed out on them :) But, better safe than sorry.

So, those are my suggestions for you.

Regards,
~coolsport00
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LVL 125

Assisted Solution

by:Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2) earned 1000 total points
ID: 35715857
I actually would recommend the USB installation, as coolsport00 suggests, this would save you two disks of storage.
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Author Comment

by:D_wathi
ID: 35715883
Sir, Thanks for the reply, i thinking to do as per the below please correct me if anything worng

1. First boot the dell server using OpenManage installation utility DVD and configure the raid, i,e 2 RAID5s.( with the block size of 4MB)

2. install the ESXI on the 2 or 4GB USB stick.

Request you to please help.
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LVL 40

Expert Comment

by:coolsport00
ID: 35715902
Yep. That's what I suggest :) Although, you just create the RAID. You configure the block size of your 2 datastores when you add them with the vSphere Client. After you build up your ESXi server (install it on the USB stick), you go to: http://IPofESXiHost and download the vSphere Client to your workstation and install that. Then, open it and log into your ESXi host (enter the IP of host, root, then root pwd). Once logged in, go to the Configuration tab -> Storage. Click on the Add Storage link and a wizard will appear. During the wizard to add your storage (2 RAIDs), you can modify the block size there.

Best of luck "D_wathi" :)

~coolsport00
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LVL 125
ID: 35715957
Use good quality USB sticks, HP or Sandisk or similar, not cheap ones.

and if you want to make a backup after installation, turn off server, remove USB and then insert into a workstation and use Winimage to backup.
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Author Comment

by:D_wathi
ID: 35715972
Sir, Thanks for the reply,  i was thinking should give the block size of 4MB while configuring the raid from the OpenManage installation utility DVD but from your previous post i understood like the below

1.First boot the dell server with the OpenManage installation utility DVD and configure the 2 RAID5s.
2. and then install the ESXi server on to the USB stick .
3. go to: http://IPofESXiHost and download the vSphere Client to your workstation and install that.
4.Then, open it and log into your ESXi host.
5.go to the Configuration tab -> Storage. Click on the Add Storage link and a wizard will appear. During the wizard to add your storage (2 RAIDs), you can modify the block size there.

Is the above order is correct please suggest if wrong then please correct me.
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LVL 125
ID: 35716004
yes, that's correct, when formatting the datastore within ESX, you specify the block for the datastore

see here for sizing guide

• 1MB block size – 256GB maximum file size
• 2MB block size – 512GB maximum file size
• 4MB block size – 1024GB maximum file size
• 8MB block size – 2048GB maximum file size
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LVL 40

Expert Comment

by:coolsport00
ID: 35716040
Yes, you dont & can't configure block size during RAID creation in the BIOS. Block size is done via ESXi/vSphere Client..

~coolsport00
0
 

Author Comment

by:D_wathi
ID: 35716065
Sir, finally before closing this post two doubts

1. How to do the "create a b/u of your USB ESXi install for failover"
2. Is there any specific reason for 4MB block size

Please help
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LVL 40

Expert Comment

by:coolsport00
ID: 35716076
1. Sorry...that question is outside the scope of this post, and really should be asked in other thread.
2. No, unless you need a virtual disk size for any of your VMs larger than 512GB. If you make your block size smaller, then later decide you need a larger virtual disk size for your VMs, you would then need to move your VMs off your datastore, remove your datastore (which deletes any data/VMs on it), then re-add your datastore with the appropriate block size. If you feel you would never have a virtual disk size for your VMs greater than 256GB (1MB block size, which is the default), then no need to make any block size changes.

~coolsport00
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Author Comment

by:D_wathi
ID: 35716122
Sir, Thank you very much.
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LVL 40

Expert Comment

by:coolsport00
ID: 35716140
Glad to assist.

~coolsport00
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LVL 125
ID: 35716143
No problems. Good Luck on your journey, into VMware.
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