Upgrading medium sized business - going virtual

Posted on 2011-10-03
Last Modified: 2012-05-12
So the numbers are the number of servers then the details behind them.  Any thoughts?  There are 2 data centers, one has about 15 people the other has about 25 and some remotes via VPN so about 55 users total.  Current 2003 infrastructure, all on 1u servers now.  How does this look and what would you change?

1.  DC2 - Basic domain controller server 08 std, maybe dual xeon, 12gb ram, 1TB raid 10
2.  VMBOX2 -  Beefy box, quad xeon, 26-30GB ram, 3TB raid 5
-exchange02 - MS Exchange 2010
-ISA exch - Server 2008 std, Microsoft ISA server
-Sql01 - Server 2008 std

3.  DC1 - Same as DC2
4.  Exchange01 - Same as DC2
-ISA - Server 2008 std, Microsoft ISA server
-SQL02 - Server 2008 std
-SBFileserv1 - Server 2008 std
-SBApp01 - Server 2008 std
Question by:rhwimmers
    LVL 10

    Expert Comment

    it looks pretty good right now.  I would put a SAN in each location and add a VMHOST for redundancy.  if you have a host go down, you can implement VMOTION so if a host goes down, the server will be moved to the new host.  ( You would have to implement VCenter, but it's worth it,  if you have ESXi there is a free version, but i can't remember the name of it)    if would also set up your LUNs on the SAN by performance.  For exmaple, create a LUN for SQL servers, anther LUN for Exchange data stores ETC.  This is all assuming you're using VMWARE.  if you're using Hyper-V i can make different recommendations.
    LVL 41

    Accepted Solution

    I would run everything on Windows 2008 R2 SP1. A domain controller only needs to be single core, single processor, 40 GB disk, and 1 GB RAM. If you run VMware you can virtualize the domain controllers and everything else. If you run Hyper-V I recommend you run at least 1 physical DC on old hardware if you want.

    How many processors does your VM host have? I am not sure if it is 1 quad core processor, or 4 quad core processors. If you have 4 processors, you have way too much CPU. In my experience with Hyper-V, all of my dual CPU servers have CPU utilization rates of < 30% - this is true for dual core Xeon 5300 processors with 16 GB RAM and dual quad core Xeon 5600 series with 144 GB RAM.

    Don't use RAID 5. If you are going to virtualize onto a VM host, use RAID 10 with 10K or 15K SAS drives, or invest in a SAN. RAID 5 is almost always the worst performing choice, and DISK IO is key when virtualizing.

    A quad core CPU with 48 GB RAM and a good disk subsystem can easily handle Exchange, SQL, file, application server, ISA, and DC VMs for your 55 users (unless you are running a large database like a hedge fund).
    LVL 1

    Author Comment

    Yeah my thoughts were to use free esxi for virtualization.  If I were to go one VM box, one physical box for a DC, and a SAN, what recommendations for a SAN and any idea on cost?
    LVL 21

    Expert Comment

    We did a SAN because of multiple hosts, so I'm not sure on this but... With a single host why not use cheaper NAS or DAS?  The main advantage of a SAN is connecting multiple hosts to it and they be expensive.
    LVL 41

    Expert Comment

    If you are going to stay smallish, a single server with 10K SAS drives (not SATA) in RAID 10 makes more sense than a SAN. The free VMware product doesn't really let you do backups, but you can if you use Hyper-V.
    LVL 1

    Author Comment

    Whats the best way to have failover between the two VM boxes?  So backup for exchange and sql...  I use DFS right now for fileshares and redirected mydocs, that seems to work pretty well even though I think MS doesn't recommend using DFS for DR purposes for some reason...

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