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Virtualizing 7 Servers with VMware

Posted on 2011-09-16
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I am looking at virtualizing an environment that includes 7 servers with VMware.
 4 PowerEdge 2900’s, 2 PowerEdge 1900’s, 1 ProLiant ML350
All 2900 = 16GB of RAM, 1900’s = 4GB of RAM, Proliant ML350 = 4GB of RAM
I am considering using VSA to accomplish this and using Dell Servers, possibly a r510 or r710. Currently we are not using more than 2TB of storage collectively. I am trying to figure out if I need to go with 2 or 3 servers. We want to be redundant but I want to keep the price down as low as possible so, a SAN is probably out of the question right now. What kind of specs should I go for in order to accomplish this task? I want it to work and work really well but I want to do so without breaking the bank. Is Essentials plus the best package to go with? I also would like to add that I do have 2 remote servers that I’m considering moving to the main location. This means I will also need a terminal server for those users to access those machines. The total number accessing the TS would be around 25 to 30 users. I’m open to any and all suggestions so please feel free to inquire.
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Question by:aando
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE) earned 500 total points
ID: 36551876
2 x Dell R510, with VSA will give you the redudancy with HA you need with vSphere Essentials Plus. This also licenses you for a third host in the future, should you wish to expand.

All VSA datastores have two levels of protection:

Network mirror between servers
Local RAID within each server

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LVL 118
ID: 36551937
You have a hard limit of 32GB of vRAM (total RAM you can allocate to Virtual Machines) with Essentials.

You may want to consider alternatives to VSA by

Starwind iSCSI
http://www.starwindsoftware.com/
(they also have a VSA product)

SANsymphony
http://www.datacore.com 

SvSAN - Virtual Storage Appliance
http://www.stormagic.com/SvSAN.php
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Author Comment

by:aando
ID: 36573498
What specs should I include on the r510's? Isn't the limit with the new Essentials Plus 192GB Vram?
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LVL 118
ID: 36573541
The figure quoted was per phsyical CPU/socket. up to Eight CPUs 6 x 32GB = 192GB

Check here

http://www.vmware.com/files/pdf/vsphere_pricing.pdf

So you first need to establish, the number of processor licenses you require.

As for specs, fast SAS 15k disks, additional network, a quad card, Dell Perc Controller, you'll need to work out how much storage and memory you require, what is currently being used in the physical environment.
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Author Comment

by:aando
ID: 36573665
So this just means that for every physical processor I can allocate 32GB of vRAM Correct? Sorry, I'm just trying to get this whole license deal figured out. For my setup which processors would you recommend?
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LVL 118
ID: 36573686
Yes, that's correct 32GB of vRAM per physical processor. Yes, the new licensing has confused us all!

Dual Processors Quad-core Intel® Xeon® should be fine.

It depends on your budget, and expansion plans for the future.
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Author Comment

by:aando
ID: 36574032
I am looking at doing a Raid 5 on the servers. Currently we are using 1.7TB on our servers. With the new servers do I need to setup as if we were going to run on one server? And then spec the other server just to mirror? I don't see us growing any more than 1TB over the next 3 yrs. My budget for the project is equal to or less than $40k.
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LVL 118
ID: 36574069
You would create a single RAID array datastore with all your disks. RAID 5 is okay, RAID 10 (minimum 4 disks) performs beter for read and write performance.

It's also advisable to install ESXi 5.0 on a usb flash drive or sd card, to separate OS from the datastore which is for your VMs.
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Author Closing Comment

by:aando
ID: 36576317
Great info thanks!
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