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Solution needed for in-house virtualized testing environment

Right now, our development team have been using the corporate laptops (heavily over-utilized and under powered) to run things like JAVA and Eclipse upon through a number of VirtualBox VDIs presented from the remote AppDev team. The plan will be to convert said VirtualBox VDIs into VMware VMDKs and have these presented to the development team either by SSH or RDP (depending on the VM's operating system) and be run from within the ESXi clustered environment. There will also be a "behind the scenes" site-to-site VPN tunnel to the external host site (data repository) strictly for downloading and committing modified code within the VMDKs. Since the developers can be on or off-site at any time, they will need to have a way to access the dedicated development environment and make their changes there rather than dealing with the corporate laptops.

So... I have been given a task to come up with a in-house virtualized proof of concept and development/testing platform. Some preliminary virtual machine requirements: Windows 7 or RHEL 5.x, 8 to 16 GB of vRAM, 25 to 100 GB VMDKs. The current budgeted allotment for said project is $50k USD -- and this includes ALL hardware, software (excluding Windows and RHEL software/licenses), VMware licenses, etc.

Strict Requirements:
   - Solution MUST be in-house. No external hosting is allowed for ANY part of the solution.
   - HP Proliant or Dell PowerEdge hardware platform cluster (minimum 3 servers)
   - iSCSI SAN Environment using either EMC, NetApp or Equallogic platforms (the VMDKs will be stored here)
   - VPN endpoint must be accessible by both Linux (RHEL) and Windows OS environments (i.e. Cisco AnyConnect, Juniper SSL VPN, etc)
   - Host cluster platform must be running VMware ESXi and configured for vMotion and DRS.

If you were given this task, how would you implement it?
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE Fellow)VMware and Virtualization Consultant
Fellow 2018
Expert of the Year 2017

Commented:
I think your biggest issue here could be the downloading of the 25GB to 100GB VMDKs?

do you mean they want to take away the VMs for laptop usage, and then import later?
Michael WorshamCloud/Infrastructure Solutions Architect

Author

Commented:
Corporate wants to consolidate the operating systems on all of the laptops and also remove local or domain-level administrative rights to the users. Currently the laptops are running a slew of either Windows XP, Vista or Windows 7. All of the developers are running VirtualBox on the them (running an additional slew of operating systems, depending on the project requirements) and most of them are at 95%+ full. The lorg-term thing corporate wants is to turn the laptops back into regular systems strictly used for e-mail and Microsoft Office use (i.e. Word, Excel, etc) and all project related development should be done elsewhere, thus through RDP, VNC or combination of each to a virtualized environment.

As for the actual VirtualBox VDIs, I will do all the conversions on an external system and them import them into the ESXi environment. Corporate just doesn't want to allow the developers/users to run VMware Workstation or VirtualBox on their laptops any more.
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE Fellow)VMware and Virtualization Consultant
Fellow 2018
Expert of the Year 2017

Commented:
based on a $50k budget, if you want VMotion and DRS, the vSphere Acceleration Kit which includes vCenter Server to perform the DRS is $17k per CPU. At three cpus per server, your budget is gone on VMware Licenses, and that excludes VMware Support.

I think you may want to look at the features you require.
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE Fellow)VMware and Virtualization Consultant
Fellow 2018
Expert of the Year 2017

Commented:
you state strictly downloading and committing VMDKs?

I was referrung to this?
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE Fellow)VMware and Virtualization Consultant
Fellow 2018
Expert of the Year 2017

Commented:
sorry, $17k buys you VMware licenses for 6 processors, so youve got 25k for hardware.
Michael WorshamCloud/Infrastructure Solutions Architect

Author

Commented:
I forgot to mention the maximum number of developers on this project that will actually be using the environment is around five and most of the VDIs are averaging to be around 30GB each (Windows 7 x64 environments, needing at least 8GB of vRAM each). The number of Windows SAs is one and the number of RHEL/Linux SAs is around three. The program manager just wants the environment to be at least scalable if we do need to add more developers, testers, DBAs and SAs to support the project requirements.
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE Fellow)VMware and Virtualization Consultant
Fellow 2018
Expert of the Year 2017

Commented:
vmdks!
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE Fellow)VMware and Virtualization Consultant
Fellow 2018
Expert of the Year 2017

Commented:
We ve already completed development environments using Citrix XenApp, published vSphere
client with granular access to vSphere Development farms.

Citrix clients available for Linux, Mac, Windows, iPad if you must, access securely via SSL VPN, two factor authentication, RSA.

Standard VMware vSphere 5.0, HP or Dell Servers correctly specified, for number of VMs, cpu, memory, and HP P2000 iSCSI SAN, with 15k SAS storage to meet requirements.
Michael WorshamCloud/Infrastructure Solutions Architect

Author

Commented:
Since VMware vMotion nor DRS isn't really needed as this is a development environment and after talking to the powers-that-be above me, it seems we are going to change to a different route and look at adding expandability at a later time. So here's the modified time line and the possible 'want' list.

One year plan:

 - Cisco ASA 5510 (Rack mounted)
 - Dual Managed 24 Port 10/100/1000 Switches
 - VMware vSphere Enterprise
 - Single HP Proliant or Dell PowerEdge Server (2 CPUs, 32 GB Ram, 2x500 GB Hot-Swap SAS 10k/15k [RAID-1 Configuration]), running Windows 2K8 R2 for vCenter
 - Single Dell PowerVault MD 3220i or EMC VNXe 3100, Configured for 5TB RAID-5 or RAID-6

 - Single HP Proliant or Dell PowerEdge Server (128 GB Ram, 2x500 GB Hot-Swap SAS 10k/15k [RAID-1 Configuration]), running VMware ESXi 4.x

or

 - HP BladeSystem c3000 Enclosure or Dell PowerEdge M100e Blade Enclosure
 - HP BL465c G7 or Dell PowerEdge M610 (128 GB Ram, 2x500 GB Hot-Swap SAS 10k/15k [RAID-1 Configuration]), running VMware ESXi 4.x


Three year plan:

  + One year plan baseline plus the following:
  - Additional HP Proliant or Dell PowerEdge Server or Blade (128 GB Ram, 2x500 GB Hot-Swap SAS 10k/15k [RAID-1 Configuration]), running VMware ESXi 4.x
  - Additional 1TB SAS 10k/15k Hot-Swap Drives for SAN
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE Fellow)VMware and Virtualization Consultant
Fellow 2018
Expert of the Year 2017

Commented:
There is no need for a physical server for vCenter, it could be a virtual server, and 32GB of RAM for a vCenter SQL database is a little over the top, 4GB or 8GB, or you could use the new Virtual Appliance!

RAID 1 configurations should be avoided performance on a two disk RAID 1 will be poor. RAID 10 with at least 4 disks, 6 or 8 disks much better, or your second EE question will be why is our performance of virtual machines poor. Dont bother with local disks for servers, and stuff them in the SAN.

RAID 10 for SAN.

Remember ESXi 4.1 can be installed to SD card or USB flash card whicj is highly recommended, save your expensive disk for VM storage.

Also purchasing Enterprise for A Single Server is a waste of money, why not use FREE!
Michael WorshamCloud/Infrastructure Solutions Architect

Author

Commented:
This is for a government project, so the term 'free' doesn't work in their books.
VMware and Virtualization Consultant
Fellow 2018
Expert of the Year 2017
Commented:
Im just thinking when youve got the system correct, you can apply the correct licensing.

Enterprise does also allow you to purchase VMware Support.