We're planning to use the free version of ESXi 5. We're a SMB with about 60 active employees with 4 servers consisting of a Domain/File/Print, Exchange 2003, SQL 2007/SharePoint 2010 and a Web server that we'll be P2V'ing and later upgrading Exchange to 2010.
We bought two Dell PowerEdge T610 Servers each with a 3.47GHz Xeon CPU, 32GB RAM and two 600GB 15K SAS Drives in RAID 1 to store the virtual machine files. And, we're also getting a QNAP NAS for iSCSI storage for server data files.
For performance purposes, it was recommended that we use a flash drive to install VMware, but I'm having my doubts and using it in a production environment. We wanted to use SDHC cards but the servers came with a USB internal port instead of a CF reader. So, I purchased a 4GB SanDisk Cruiser for each server.
I was able to install and configure the first server without a problem. The second one, however, got stuck on the VMware boot process after the second reboot. Since it's a new configuration, I'm re-installing everything again on the second server.
I'm worried about the flash boot drives failing in the future. If there is a way to make an exact backup of the internal flash drive to a second one externally, then I might not be so concerned. I'd like to make one for each server but not sure if that's possible.
Or, would we be better off not using flash drives for VMware and just using the RAID 1 volume? I'm thinking there might not be as much of a performance hit for our smaller environment.
I'm looking for some advice before we jump ship and commit to a virtual environment. Thanks in advance!