VMWare Newbie!

Posted on 2011-09-06
Last Modified: 2012-05-12

i am looking at putting together an esx solution for a test environment to run upto 10 virtual machines, ranging from exchange 2010, Domain controllers, sql, and fileservers.

i am aware of the Vmware technologies out there but dont know where to start with hardware, its only for a test environment so was thinking..

to begin with..
ESXi 5 - 2 x HP DL160 Xeon Quad Core (X5550) 2.66GHz, 12gb RAM

what about storage? looking at running openfiler but on what hardware?

any reccomendation?
has to be low budget!!

thanks in advance
Question by:supporthl
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LVL 122
ID: 36491450
I would not recommend Openfiler or FreeNAS both are slow, both are out of date, they are behind what is currently being done with

1. Oracle Solaris Express 11
2. OpenIndiana
3.  Nexenta Community Edition

The above technologies will allow you to create NFS or iSCSI on ZFS technology which is faster than what Openfiler offers.

What budget do you have for storage?
LVL 122
ID: 36491464
Are you also purchasing Licenses for ESXi 5 and vCenter?

Because you only need shared storage for features like vMotion, HA and DRS, and you will also need a vCenter licenses to use vMotion, HA and DRS.
LVL 122
ID: 36491481
You could also use the storage on HP DL160 to create a Nexenta Community Edition NAS, and present NFS and iSCSI back to the ESXi 5.0 servers, if this is on a budget.

This is a common solution called All-In-One-Box!
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LVL 56

Expert Comment

ID: 36491608
I don't like the DL100 series but certainly cheaper than the 300 series, are you short of space or can you afford the room for 2U servers rather than 1U ones? The price difference is minimal and you can get more disks in the larger ones.

For a test environment (and for low IOPS production) I'd use iSCSI based virtualized shared storage using the disk bays on the physical hosts that you have to buy anyway. Options include stormagic at about $2K, HP LeftHand for about $10K and the one that you can have bundled in with VMware.

I guess you're going to get away with servers with just 1 CPU each considering the MS licensing costs (assuming you're running Windows VMs there) but limiting number of CPUs in the box may not be relevant for test since you may use MSDN licensing. You can get away with one CPU in a single box for just 10 VMs, 8GB and even 16GB DIMMs are becoming affordable so there's no need for dual CPUs just to double the RAM available any more.
LVL 42

Expert Comment

ID: 36491610
The DL160s are excellent servers for this, I'd recommend SD cards for the OS install.  For shared storage I would download a trial version of the Storage VSA appliance initially to try out and use as trial version.  This will give you vMotion, HA, DRS, etc..  

You will need more memory for the servers, windows 2008R2 really needs 4GB at a min. so I would put at least 32GB in each one and memory is cheap


Author Comment

ID: 36491614
thanks for the swift response.

we are looking to create a fully working vmware lab and are looking to use vMotion, High Availabity and DRS.

looking to spend approx £3k on hardware in total.  so a possibility of using 3 x DL160, 2 with ESXi5 and one with Nexenta and raided storage..

LVL 122
ID: 36491652
and are you purchasing Licenses for ESXi 5.0?

If you are wanting to try and create a Lab, on the cheap, why not try the HP ProLiant MicroServer, ESXi 5.0 tested, 8GB RAM Fully Loaded £104 (with £100 cashback).

You can build a lab very cheaply, with many ESXi 5.0 Servers, and the same servers for use as Shared Storage. We now have 20 of these servers in our Lab, low power at 40 Watts each! (fully loaded).
LVL 56

Expert Comment

ID: 36491672
Is the £100 cashback still on offer for the ProLiant MicroServer?
LVL 122
ID: 36491679
Yes, Extended again until September 2011 (I think it will be Extended until the end of the Year, with the number of boxes in the Channel!).

Author Comment

ID: 36491689
eventually yes, looking at purchaseing vcenter etc

yes i have seen them are they worth it?

we will be looking at eventually implementing esx into a production environment so hence the questions regarding DL series servers.

what are you using to manage the storage nexenta?
LVL 56

Expert Comment

ID: 36491710
I posted that before seeing you recommend it just to nudge them away from the 100 series :)
LVL 122

Accepted Solution

Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2) earned 500 total points
ID: 36491749
Are they worth it?,

£84 for a 4 bay hot plug chassis SATA 3 chassis, with 1GB RAM, Motherboard, 1.3GHz processor, and 250GB hard drive - YES!

Well we've got 20 units, all with 8GB RAM, Dual Core 1.3GHz, additional NIC, using NFS hosted on ZFS - using Oracle Solaris 11 Express, but it's your choice if you want to use OpenIndiana and Nexenta Community Editions, we just use full Solaris 11, because we are Sparc addicts.

We also use the same MicroServers as storage servers, because these are LOW POWER, 40 Watt devices, we are using them with SATA 3 SSD, and OCZ Revodrives (SDD), for our ESXi 5.0, VMware View 5.0, vCloud Director Labs. We need more grunt in the farm, we just add another MicroServer.

We've shutdown all our DL385/DL585, and FC SAN in the Lab, because it was costing us too much in electricity. (including Air Con, to keep the damn thing cool!).

Offer Extended, here's the Claim Form

Author Comment

ID: 36491775
hanccocka thank you all your assistance!

defo worth looking at the microservers, thank you! could get quite a few with my budget! haha

LVL 122
ID: 36491778
Well, if you are going to run on Evaluation Mode or Free, until you get licenses, after 60 days, HA, vMotion, DRS will stop working, and you'll not really get the benefits of shared storage, other than to host the VMs. (but vMotion, HA, DRS will not function).
LVL 56

Expert Comment

ID: 36492201
Multiple short posts next time rather than thinking about it for a while.

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