Virtualization planning advice.

Posted on 2013-01-12
Last Modified: 2016-11-23
We are getting ready to purchase a setup for virtualizing our servers. I’m looking for suggestions/recommendations on performance.
We have 5 servers in service and are planning to add 3 new ones once we have the Virtual boxes running. In total counting future expansion I’m trying to plan for 10 to 12 servers and 4 Windows 7 machines. All of the servers will run Windows 2008 Standard.
1.      DC, WSUS
2.      email server (not exchange) lowest IOPs at 8
3.      3 or 4 SQL databases that will run on the rest of the servers which are just standard application and file servers. Some are considered Tier 1 apps. 1 SQL db is somewhat large but the rest are small.
The Dpack results ranged anywhere from 8 to 25 IOPs per server. 5 servers at the 95% were 111 IOPs . Dell tells me the Eqaulogic PS4100E will work with 800ish IOPs.

Proposed equipment
2x Dell 620 servers: 2x E-2620 2.00 GHZ 6 core 15MB cache, 96GB memory, 2x 146GB 15k drives.

2x 6424 Switches

1 Equallogic PS4100E with 12x 1TB drives. Gives over 6TB of space (We have 1.3TB of space used across the 5 servers)

V5 Essential Plus kit.

My concerns are with the storage array. Can you expect the same IOPs out of these servers in the virtual world? I’m estimating that we should be around 300 IOPs with all the planned servers running.
Would this give us room for the small percentage of times when a server does peak out? 300 of 800 kind of worries me when some of those servers peaked much higher than 800 in DPacks. (During database backups and backups.). I will be planning backups and scans to run at different times.
My other options would be a PS6100e with 24x 1TB 7k drives or PS4100x with 12x 900GB 10k drives. Of course price is the main driver for the decision. The 4100x is most expensive followed by the 6100e and then the 4100e.  I know there are other solutions out there but we are pretty much restricted to Dell.

From other posts I have read and what I’m seeing from the Dpacks I feel like it’s safe to say we will see the 20 to 50 IOPs per server. If that’s the case can you make the argument that 800 IOPs / 50 per VM would net 16 VM running and would be max for this array?  
I’ve also seen a lot of discussion about not using 7k drives for VMs because they would limit performance. If arrays are all about the IOPs/spindles does it really matter what drives are in it as long as you know the IOPs you’re getting out of it? Our current 2950s are using 10k and some 15k drives.

Any advice or opinions are welcomed. I’m just trying to get outside information (non vender).
Thanks for the help
Question by:John Kovack
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LVL 42

Accepted Solution

kevinhsieh earned 333 total points
ID: 38771347
I have run a lot more than you on a PS400E which has 14 SATA drives, so the IOPS are slightly more than what you have in a PS4100E. I was running maybe 30+ VMs maybe including Exchange. If you run in RAID 10 you will get the best performance. The only other recommended RAID level for 1 TB drives is RAID 6. IOPS during backups don't matter if they are outside of production windows.

If you are using VMware your servers don't need any local disk - only SD cards or USB to boot VMware. That will save some money on local disk plus power.

You can't transfer OEM licenses. If you need new licenses, look at Windows Datacenter. If you buy a Windows Datacenter license for each physical server, you will be licensed for an unlimited number of Windows Server 2012 VMs or earlier versions of Windows Server. You would need to have full licenses for the desktop OS VMs as they are not covered under the visualization rights of Windows Server.

Author Comment

by:John Kovack
ID: 38773029
That's a good thought on the disk drives. I'm going to explore those options.

I looked at the datacenter licensing but not sure if we are going to get approved for the extra costs. It's double what we expected to spend. I think it's the way to go if you can spend the money on it.

Thanks for the input.
LVL 42

Assisted Solution

kevinhsieh earned 333 total points
ID: 38773064
You need to license the hardware for every VM that runs on it, even when in failover. The why I see it, you are already there in terms going to Datacenter. Each Windows Standard licence covers two VMs. Since you are planning to have 10-12 server instances running, and they might all run on a single host, you need 5-6 Windows Standard licenses per host, or 10-12 Windows Standard and 8 Windows Desktop licenses in total to license all VMs in your cluster. Compare that to 2 Windows Datacenter licenses and 8 Windows Desktop licenses. If you can run Windows Server instead of Windows Desktop, those VMs are free under Windows Datacenter, so your Microsoft licensing cost is further reduced by the 8 Desktop licenses.
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LVL 27

Assisted Solution

Steve earned 167 total points
ID: 38805398
Each Windows Standard licence covers two VMs.
No it doesnt. one license is for the host, one for a VM. you cannot run 2 VMs on that license.


Standard: 1 Physical + 1 VM
Enterprise: 1 Physical + 4 VMs
Datacentre: 1 Physical + as many VMs as the CPU will handle
LVL 42

Expert Comment

ID: 38806210
@totallytonto, the visualization rights changed with Windows 2012. The information I gave is correct for what you can buy today, which is Windows Server 2012. Windows Server Enterprise can't even be purchased anymore. A license of Windows Server 2012 standard covers two operating system environments, which is either the physical server plus two VMs if the host is only managing the VMs, or the host plus one VM if the host is performing other functions such as application, file, directory services, etc.

Author Comment

by:John Kovack
ID: 38809529
Would you consider the PS6100 overkill for 15 VMs? The pricing for the PS6100e is very close to the price they gave us for the PS4100e.
LVL 42

Expert Comment

ID: 38810717
You can get a PS6100E with 24 drives for a similar price as a 4100E with 12 drives? Go for more drives because your performance will be better. If you have more capacity for snapshots, that is even better.

Author Comment

by:John Kovack
ID: 38810992
$4k difference in price, but more capacity and IOPs. I'm guessing they just added cost to double the amount of drives and giving the chasis away for same price. I'm sure they got some cushion in the pricing for them.
LVL 42

Expert Comment

ID: 38811230
So you doubled IOPS and possibly doubled capacity for 4K. Take it. You will chew through capacity faster than you think you should.

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