[Last Call] Learn how to a build a cloud-first strategyRegister Now

x
  • Status: Solved
  • Priority: Medium
  • Security: Public
  • Views: 933
  • Last Modified:

Server spec for VMware ESXi 4.1 host

I'm planning on upgrading my main network server from SBS2003 to SBS2011. I have ESXi Sphere Essentials but may upgrade to Essentials Plus for the backup and host failover functions.

SBS2003 is currently running as a VM on a VMware ESXi host along with 2 other Windows 2003 servers. The current server spec is a Dell 2900 with 16Gb RAM, dual quad core E5335 processors, and 4 x 300Gb SAS disks in RAID5 on a PERC5 controller. This server is around 4 years old but is quite serviceable.

I'm planning on introducing 3 more Windows servers (Server 2008 R2). This will give me 6 VMs in total to be hosted:
Small Business Server 2011 (Exchange, SharePoint)
Remote Desktop Services (2008 R2)
File and Print services 350Gb (Document management system in future possibly) (2008 R2)
Accounts Software (2008 R2)
Web Application server (JBoss, MySQL - 1Gb data) (2003)
Development Web Application server (JBoss, MySQL) (2003)
One of the 2008 R2 VMs will also serve as a backup active directory.

I'm considering using a separate storage array for the VMs and simply spec a 2nd server for processing and memory. I don't have a huge budget and anything I specify has to to be clearly justifiable i.e. why use SAS instead of near line drives. (I was thinking of using the existing SAS drives for the database side of things but could probably get away with near-line on another RAID channel for the other servers.)

I'm looking for suggestions for a good server spec for hosting the majority of the processing and memory requirements and also whether to keep the storage on the server or use a separate storage array. I also need to take into account backup storage which will increase the storage requirement significantly.
0
roddymatheson
Asked:
roddymatheson
  • 3
  • 2
  • 2
  • +1
2 Solutions
 
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
Make sure what ever you select is on the VMware HCL (Hardware Compatability Lists) here

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

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

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

If you will be using vMotion, DRS and HA, you will need shared storage in terms of a SAN or NAS.

If this feastures don't interest you, or if you don't have a requirement for them, a SAN/NAS is not needed.

A Dual Processor, Dual Core, will work nicely with at least 24GB of RAM, so Dell and HP servers are value for money.
0
 
roddymathesonAuthor Commented:
Thanks hanccocka, I'm favouring Dell at the moment but I'm not fussy as long as I get value for money.

I haven't decided on vMotion, DRS, HA yet, I'm in two minds over whether to go with it as the vSphere Essentials Plus kit adds an extra £2500 to the overall cost. Having said that, the DRS function should mean I won't have to purchase 3rd party backup software which is likely to be close to £2000 anyway once all the VMs are taken into account.

Once I get a few suggestions for processors, amount of RAM and storage set up, I'll check everything against the VMware HCL. Would you favour Intel over AMD? Intel seem to be be more powerful and lower TDP for same clock speed an cache against the AMD, but AMD are cheaper - false economy?

SBS server needs a fairly hefty spec by itself - 4 cores and 16Gb RAM is recommended.

0
 
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
We used to deploy lots of AMD servers, but we now favour Intel at present.

In the VMWare environment 1 vCPU = 1 Core (on the physical processor).

Don't get carried away allocating too many vCPU unless, really needed, allocating too many vSMP processors, can slow a Virtual Machine down. (because of the scheduling involved in vSMP).

Well you maybe going to be looking at a much larger server with at least 48GB RAM. Dual Processors with 6 Cores.
0
Free Backup Tool for VMware and Hyper-V

Restore full virtual machine or individual guest files from 19 common file systems directly from the backup file. Schedule VM backups with PowerShell scripts. Set desired time, lean back and let the script to notify you via email upon completion.  

 
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
Dell R610 and R710 are popular servers at present, with lots of grunt.
0
 
bgoeringCommented:
Just to toss in my 2 cents - I also favor Intel. Dell has good boxes, that is what I have in my Lab environment, however in production, development, qa, etc. we presently have IBM M2 and M3 from 3650 to 3950 models. I am about to convert the production environment to blades later this year and am looking hard at Cisco UCS blade systems to evaluate alongside with IBM H blades.

Whatever you do get as much Memory as you can afford - that is where most folks bump against a bottleneck running VMware. And as already mentioned, make sure whatever you get is on the HCL.

Good Luck
0
 
roddymathesonAuthor Commented:
Thanks guys, this is all helpful.

Assuming I go with Essentials Plus and make use of the High Availability function, I would store the the VMs on a separate storage server. Any caveats there? What should I avoid? What storage technology would be best value for me?

Dell storage servers seem to be very expensive compared to, say, Broadberry. Does VMware play well with Windows Storage Server 2008 or could I get away with a Qnap box set up as an iSCSI target?
0
 
bgoeringCommented:
The HCL is the place to go again for compatible storage servers. You must first decide do you want IP storage (NFS, iSCSI) or do you want Fiber Channel. FC is expensive - easiest would probably be a NAS NFS device so refer to the HCL for details. Any name brand (EMC, NetApp, Hitachi, HP. etc.) would be a good fit.
0
 
QlemoC++ DeveloperCommented:
This question has been classified as abandoned and is closed as part of the Cleanup Program. See the recommendation for more details.
0

Featured Post

Granular recovery for Microsoft Exchange

With Veeam Explorer for Microsoft Exchange you can choose the Exchange Servers and restore points you’re interested in, and Veeam Explorer will present the contents of those mailbox stores for browsing, searching and exporting.

  • 3
  • 2
  • 2
  • +1
Tackle projects and never again get stuck behind a technical roadblock.
Join Now