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Virtualizing Servers

Hi,

I current have several servers and would like to bring this down to 2 or 3 servers to save power costs and of course management.

I have spec'd out some Dell 720's with dual processors, 16GB Ram and SAS 15K hard disks in RAID 1 using PERC controllers.

Question is which virtualization software should i use for this pupose? I am planning to put no more then two virtual servers on each box but on some would like to use one virtual server and keep the other free just in case i need to move a container from one to the other for either load balancing or redundancy.

Not knowing much about virtualization i am a little unsure on how it works.  I would like to keep some capacity on each box for redundancy or another OS.

Also, it would be nice if the Virtualization software is either free or low cost.

Please help!
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tmaster100
Asked:
tmaster100
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1 Solution
 
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
Both are free.

Type 1 Bare Metal Hypervisors

VMware vSphere Hypervisor (ESXi)
https://www.vmware.com/tryvmware/index.php?p=free-esxi&lp=1

Microsoft Hyper-V Server 2008 R2 with Service Pack 1 (SP1)
http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/evalcenter/dd776191.aspx

You may want to look at RAID 5 or RAID 10 for better performance. Also you may require more total memory, depends on what memory is required in your virtual machines.

Here are some of my EE Articles you may want to read....

VMware ESX/ESXi Backup Guide

How to Backup an ESXi installation on an USB Flash Drive or SD card, for security or redundancy.

HOW TO: Improve the transfer rate of a Physical to Virtual (P2V), Virtual to Virtual Conversion (V2V) using VMware vCenter Converter Standalone 5.0

HOW TO: Enable Jumbo Frames on a VMware vSphere Hypervisor (ESXi 5.0) host server using the VMware vSphere Client

HOW TO: Suppress Configuration Issues and Warnings Alert displayed in Summary status for ESXi 4.1 U2 or ESXi 5.0 after enabling SSH or ESXi Shell

HOW TO: Suppress Configuration Issues and Warnings Alerts after enabling vSphere HA in a VMware vSphere Cluster

HOW TO: Add Local Storage (e.g. a SATA disk) as a Raw Disk Mapping (RDM) or Mapped RAW LUN to a virtual machine hosted on ESXi

HOW TO: Add an iSCSI Software Adaptor and Create an iSCSI Multipath Network in VMware vSphere Hypervisor ESXi 4.1

HOW TO: Add an iSCSI Software Adaptor and Create an iSCSI Multipath Network in VMware vSphere Hypervisor ESXi 5.0

HOW TO: Tutorial Video - Install VMware Tools for Linux on a VMware Linux virtual machine

HOW TO: Clone or Copy a virtual machine in VMware vSphere Hypervisor ESX/ESXi 4.x or ESXi 5.0

HOW TO: Add and Connect a USB Device to a Virtual Machine, hosted on VMware vSphere Hypervisor ESX 4.1 ESXi 4.1, ESXi 5.0

HOW TO: VMware Snapshots :- Be Patient

HOW TO:  Performance Monitor vSphere 4.x or 5.0

HOW TO:  VCP 5

HOW TO:  Resize a VMware (VMDK) Virtual Disk

HOW TO:  P2V, V2V for FREE - VMware vCenter Converter Standalone 5.0


HOW TO: Suppress Configuration Issues and Warnings Alerts after enabling vSphere HA in a VMware vSphere Cluster with only a single datastore

HOW TO: Use Dell OpenManage Server Administrator to Create and Manage a Virtual Disk (RAID Array) on a Dell PowerEdge Server with VMware vSphere 5.0, ESXi 5.0 installed.
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zunder1990Commented:
vmware esxi has a free edition. They have the largest market share.
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tmaster100Author Commented:
Can i ask what the downside is on the Free version? Can you still backup and restore containers easily onto other physical boxes?
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zunder1990Commented:
In the free version you cant do a online/live move, you would have to shut down the VM to move it. Take a look at http://www.vmware.com/products/datacenter-virtualization/vsphere/pricing.html and look for the VMware vSphere Essentials Plus Kit. Price wise it is not that bad.
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:

Can i ask what the downside is on the Free version? Can you still backup and restore containers easily onto other physical boxes?

The free version is limited to 32GB per server, and you do not get all the advanced features that you could if you purchase a license.

Backup and Restore to physical boxes, Backups can be done easily on any version. See my EE Artciles which explains this in detail.
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tmaster100Author Commented:
Great, thankyou.  

I will download vmware and read the docs you have provided and sample the product first hand.

Cheers.
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tmaster100Author Commented:
Hi,

My company has decided to purchase Windows Server 2008 Enterprise which allows 4 VM's to be installed, or in layman's terms, 4 instances of Windows 2008 Server with a single Enterprise licence, this will work out perfect.

Now i understand the VMWare only supports a max of 3 VE's using Essentials Plus, not 4 as required.

I also understand Hyper-V comes with Windows Server 2008 Enterprise and allows you to setup a copy of Server 2008, change it's role to a Hypervisor and then install another 4 copies of Windows 2008 Server on VE's sitting ontop of the Hypervisor.

Is this correct?

If so, will i need any other software with Hyper-V to manage two boxes running 8 VM's between them?

I know VMWare uses vCentre but surely Microsoft has a similar product availible to manage all from one location?
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
if you are using Windows 2008 Enterprise you can add the Hyper-V role.

Then you can create an host Virtual machines on that server.

If you want to manage Hyper-V hosts centrally you would use Microsoft System Center 2012.
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tmaster100Author Commented:
Thanks but it's awfully overpriced. With two physical boxes, each with 2 physical processors nd 4 VM's each the price is nearing $8K to $10K just for a pretty screen!
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
To manage two host servers it's probably overkill, because you can mange two servers using Hyper-V Manager.
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tmaster100Author Commented:
Thanks for that, just noticed that it supports Windows 7 only. We have only Windows XP so i guess that goes out the door.

I also noticed that Hyper-V only supports 64bit guest OS's. No good. Seems like a back and forward direction at every turn.

Perhaps my only other option is to use VMWare vSphere Essentials. It's licencing will cover up to 3 servers (3 hosts, 6 CPU's) and will provide vCentre to install on one of the guest OS's and allow me to connect to it via the vSphere Client on an XP box?? Essentials is also quite cheap.

I am running the vSphere Hypervisor (free) and the client works fine on XP.
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
Yes, VMware vSphere Essentials has far great support for many new and legacy older OSes.

Client works on many platforms, but will be End of Life, with switch to Web Client, after vSphere 5.1.
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