How to start virtualisation in small business office

Hi Experts,

We are a small business organisation having about 100 users.
I want to implemet private cloud in my office. Could you please suggest how do it kick-off this project?

1. What are the main points to be noted before starting?
2. How can i utilise my existing server?
3. What are the min h/w requirements?
4. Interms of storage and network how do i plan so that no issues comes up in future.
5. What are the basic needs of storage and networking and what are the security measurements to be taken?

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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
1. Pick a vendor Microsoft or VMware?

*What is your budget?
*What hardware do you plan to use?
*Do you have a SAN, or plan to use local storage?
*What are some "hopes/wants" as far as features go you would like to have/use?
*How does your DR fit into your virtualization project?
*What about recovery of data/VM servers...what are SLAs for your environment?
*Is this more for desktop virtualization or server?

What servers does your business currently have and use.

2. Do your existing servers have enough CPU, Memory and Storage. If using VMware vSphere Hypervisor (ESXi) are they listed on the VMware HCL (Hardware Compatability Lists) here

Do they currently run Windows 2008 R2, you could add the Hyper-V role.

3. Servers that can run Windows 2008 R2 or VMware vSphere Hypervisor (ESXi) with CPU, Memory and Storage,.

4. Use good enterprise storage and networking components.

5. Do you want to use a Storage Area Network? Ensure good HP or Cisco networking, at least Gigabit ports for connection of servers.
Disclaimer: I'm a VMware guy, and while I acknowledge that other platforms exist, I don't believe any of them come close...

VMware has a special "Essentials" bundle, which gets you in the door quickly; I wouldn't recommend anything less than "Essentials Plus" so that you get the power of vMotion in your new setup. The bundle has licensing for three 2-socket servers, which is a best-practices starting point for N+1 availability. Ideally, you'd buy new systems for this purpose, but if you're "just dabbling," you can get away with off-lease or even build-your-own (as long as you abide by the HCL).

Shared storage--either through a SAN/NAS or one of the several VSAs--is necessary for vMotion, so put that on your shopping list.

My home setup has the power to handle a small office of several dozen users: going with off-lease systems netted me a pair of 8-core, 32GB Dell PE2950 III for $3K; my shared storage--an Iomega px6 w/6 x 2TB--cost me $1400, but I also got all the bits new, before the Thailand floods. A pair of NetGear switches were $1K, and the UPSes were $500. I've accumulated these things over time (~18 months), which is how I could afford them for home use.

Put all that together--along with minor adjustments to make sure you have three hosts, 4-6 NICs/host, sufficient RAM for guest requirements--with the $5K Essentials Plus, and you get a fullly functional, ready-to-play virtualization infrastructure--using VMware, the Granddaddy of them all--for under $20K. For some orgs, that's a huge investment, but the reality is that it's also the cost of one brand-new, fully loaded 2-socket server from Dell or HP.

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I don't really get all the hype with the "Cloud" thing. To me it is just another server sitting somewhere holding all the data or applications. It is just made more invisible in ways to make it seem different. I don't like when companies and software engineers hide structure behind gui's from us IT people. It is very annoying. Itunes is a good example. I had the opportunity to set up and Iomega Desktop Cloud this week. I theory, it seems like a good idea. But for an IT person it is too unfriendly and time consuming and bloated software. I perfer it lean and mean. Guess times are changing.
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