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Advice on cost friendly plan to virtualize servers

Posted on 2011-09-23
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I currently have 11 old PE 2650/2850/1750 servers that need to be replaced.  What they were doesn't seem important because the previous person seemed to just throw more hardware at an issue instead of fixing the issue so the utilization of each is very low.  What I am expecting to have at the end for VM is

1 DC, 1 Exchange 2010, 2 SQL 2008, 2 Application Servers, 1 File Server, 1 AV/WSUS, 2 Terminal Servers (20 users).  All 2008 R2.

The current equipment is using about 450GB of hard drive outside of the OS partitions so I don't need more than a couple TB of storage which seems to make SAN/NAS not the best options.

Is a small server with a 4core Xeon enough, or does it need to hyper thread to get 8 threads, or even dual processors.  Or do I need multiple servers.

How much RAM do I need.

Free vSpere or Hyper-V, or vSphere Essentials.  Then after that, how do I back all of this up.  I do have 6 2TB USB drives I use for backup now.

I can use any idea at this point.
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Question by:remmett70
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE) earned 500 total points
ID: 36589082
If you use FREE VMware vSphere your options are rather limited with Backup. Please see my Article, which details it.

VMware ESX/ESXi Backup Guide

A Dual Processor, Quad Core Xeon should suffice, with a 2TB, and enough memory to support your VMs.

With the Free version of ESXi 5.0 you are limited to 1 CPU and 32GB RAM only!

USB Backup is possible but very slow.

Hyper-V is also an option and free.

vSphere Essentials for very little money is a better option, which will license you for 2 CPUs, and 32GB RAM per Processor, and you be able to access the API for Backup.
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by:jojo_OR
ID: 36589084
The questions is, do you have the money for redundancy.  Will you have storage located on a lower end SAN?  Will you want two VM servers for local redundancy.  Do you want offsite redundancy?  How many total users do you have?  How many mailboxes, what type of database, what type of applications etc.  Most vendors will have their tech sales rep on had to help size your setup.  You'll need to figure out if you want in terms of design and business need.
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ID: 36589116
If each R2 Server is Given at least 4GB, that's approx 40GB of RAM required, so FREE ESXi 5.0 maynot give you enough RAM. You could consider FREE ESXi 4.1 (no vRAM limit)
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by:remmett70
ID: 36589338
@hanccocka, I have read that 6-8GB ram per VM is a decent guideline for sizing?

getting servers with over 6GB without going to the top models seems to be an issue.  Might be better off going with 3 single Xeon Servers with 16-24GB.  and dropping to Enterprise vs Datacenter.

Does Hyper-V have any better backup options?

@jojo I would like redundancy (not HA) though, and eventually some DR capability.  That is more than likely cost prohibitive at the present time.   Only about 50 users, very low utilization across to board on all servers.  11 servers and 450 GB or data storage used, including a weeks worth of SQL backups and Exchange backups.

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LVL 118
ID: 36589365
We actually usually work on 6-8GB per Core. Memory is often the bottleneck, not the CPUs.

Hyper-V has less backup options, as a later comer in the market.

Backup Exec and Replication will give you DR, you can use it to Replicate VMs every 15 minutes if you like to another ESX server.

Essentials would give you licensing for three servers.
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NAS Cloud Backup Strategies

This article explains backup scenarios when using network storage. We review the so-called “3-2-1 strategy” and summarize the methods you can use to send NAS data to the cloud

 
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by:remmett70
ID: 36589428
I already own Backup Exec, Is there just an agent to add to backup vsphere.

Kind of annoying or seems like a racket.  The processors will handle the load, but the RAM is low, to get the ram up need to add more processors, which then go under utilized.
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LVL 118
ID: 36589505
Unless you use ESXi 4.1 for Free.

If you use Backup Exec, with an Agent in the VM, it's slow, and not the most effecient way of backup.
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by:remmett70
ID: 36590044
thank you for the input.  wonder what our vendor will recommend.  I will have a better idea on their configuration.  
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ID: 36590058
No problems.
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Expert Comment

by:kevinhsieh
ID: 36590364
Given the number of VMs, Windows Datacenter for a single CPU host is the most cost effective way to go to license Windows. A quad core should be fine. You can put 48 or 96 GB of RAM in there with a single processor configuration. You would still need to work out storage.
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