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ESXi Setup/Sizing Question

Hello,

I have a DL380 G7 server, with dual processors and 8 x 146 GB 15k drives.  The box has 32 GB of ram.

I'm looking to use this to host an Exchange 2010 server as well as some other virtual guests but not sure the best approach to take.  I don't know how many other guests will be on the box, but I'd say 5 beyond exchange of the lighter capacity like a DC.

I'm always concerned about performance and find it harder now with virtualization to find solid information on what will work.  The location has about 100 users.

Just looking for feedback on how others would setup a server with these requirements.

Thanks!
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mmicha
Asked:
mmicha
3 Solutions
 
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
with only 32gB of ram, this will be your limiting bottleneck and VMs.

I would create a single rAID 10 array, and install ESX 5.x on usb or flash drive.

so your exchange server will have approx 16gb ram, which leaves 16gb for the otherbvms
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newmathCommented:
I'm assuming you will not be using shared storage. Two things to watch out for with Exchange: 1. Make sure that the logical disk is aligned properly. You can find more information on disk alignment here (applicable to any VMWare environment): http://blogs.vmware.com/vsphere/2011/08/guest-os-partition-alignment.html

2. Consider the pros and cons of block size. Not sure if you're doing snaps, but the smaller the block size, the smaller the snaps will be with Exchange. With Exchange you'll want to leave the default 4096KB block size on the guest side. Not sure what sort of controller you may have, but consider giving the block size a lot of thought -- especially coupled with the recommendation to watch for proper disk alignment.

You're spot on about the max VM limit. I wouldn't put more than five VM's on that particular machine. You could add more RAM later and probably add more with those fast disks.
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mmichaAuthor Commented:
This would be done with SAS DAS...  No NAS/SAN type of disk configuration.
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newmathCommented:
In that case, I'd still consider my two points above. Hope that helps you. You should see pretty good performance with 8 15k spindles. If your controller supports it: go RAID50 instead of RAID10. RAID10 has excellent read performance, but Exchange in particular will perform a lot of writes. RAID50 gives you a good balance of performance v. storage offset.
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andyalderCommented:
Exchange performance will increase with more RAM and you should have plenty of free slots available unless your version of VMware is limiting you to 32GB (and I can't think of a version that limits you to 16GB per CPU). It'll actally cache more and so free up valuable disk IOPS for other VMs.
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