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Need advices on going virtualization

Posted on 2013-01-20
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Last Modified: 2013-02-06
Currently we only have 1 physical windows server running SBS  2008 + exchange. I am planning to go with vmware esxi. 2 sas mirror drive for esxi + 4 sas drives raid 5 for vmfs.
how about business continuity and disaster recovery?

We also have another office with multiple servers, 2 DCs and application servers, also thinking to go with visualization... Can I also go with the same setup as the 1st office or I need to plan some thing different?
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Question by:okamon
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2) earned 400 total points
ID: 38799410
why waste 2 SAS drives for ESXi installation, when these are just used to boot the OS.

I would recommend installation to USB flash drive or SD card, which has been supported since 2004.

then use all six SAS disks in RAID 10 for execellent read and write performance, or if storage versus performance is important use RAID6.

Make sure you have got good backups, and purchase a server with RAID, dual power supplies. If you want to avoid host failure you would need a second server.
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by:Lee W, MVP
ID: 38799732
Honestly, I'll be surprised if VMWare doesn't find some way to do this, but right now, as I understand it, they can't - certainly not for free...

Have you looked into Hyper-V instead of ESXi?  Specifically because in Server 2012, Hyper-V Replica can provide GREAT disaster recovery features.  I STRONGLY suggest you look into this before settling on a virtualization solution.
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Author Comment

by:okamon
ID: 38802792
thanks. what is the backup software recommended for vmware? what happened if the host died? you mentioned to get 2nd server, is that for vmotion?

Is the Hyper-V has to run on top of windows OS?
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by:Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2) earned 400 total points
ID: 38802856
if you have a second VMware ESX host, you can Migrate VMs between them.

See my EE Articles


VMware ESX/ESXi Backup Guide


HOW TO: "Live Migrate" VMware Virtual Machines between ESX/ESXi hosts and/or datastores for FREE without licenses for vMotion or Storage vMotion

Hyper-V is Microsoft's Bare Metal Hypervisor, it's part of the Windows Server OS.
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by:Lee W, MVP
ID: 38803738
Hyper-V is a role in Server 2008 and 2012 and it also has a free version you can download.  However, if you're buying Windows server licenses these days, it doesn't make sense to use the "free" version since Microsoft allows you to install Windows and the Hyper-V role and then install VMs on that install.  (Windows provides the management interface - VMWare, as I understand it - doesn't have ANY management capabilities when at the terminal for the hardware it's installed on.

Both are Type 1 Hypervisors.

Server 2012 can also do Live Migrations and storage migrations without the need to power down the VMs - the feature I'm talking about acts like a near live backup and can replicate the ENTIRE VM (or optionally ALL VMs) from one server to another either locally or thousands of miles away (or anywhere in between).  In one example, a business in New York "activated" their replicated servers that were sitting in Texas during the storm this past October.  The business lost NO MORE than 5 minutes of data and with 5 or so servers, had everything running hundreds of miles away in 30 minutes and users where able to continue working remotely (those who had power).  I don't believe (without using potentially expensive third party software) their implementation would have even been possible if they were using VMWare.  (I am sure VMWare is working on something like that because they'd be idiots if they weren't but to date, I know of no equivalent capabilities - certain not as easily).
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LVL 119
ID: 38803779
VMware has Site Recovery Manager, and VMware Replica!
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Expert Comment

by:Lee W, MVP
ID: 38804104
Thank you - good to know... do you have any specs on it?  Cost?
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Author Comment

by:okamon
ID: 38858203
hanccocka, you mentioned I just need a USB portable drive or a  SD card for the esxi OS instead of using raid drive.... it will not have any impact on the performance? And secondly, what happen if some one unplug it by mistake?
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LVL 119
ID: 38858473
the storage medium (sd card or usbh flash drive) is only used to boot the ESXi server, if it's removed the ESXi os will continue to function. (although it's not designed to be removed!)
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Author Comment

by:okamon
ID: 38861506
thanks, but I don't understand how can you run the esxi os without usb? the esxi os is installed on the usb.... the raid drives only used to store vm. Really dont get it how can you run without the os drive. Like in windows, if I install os on disk 1, all data on disk2. if I remove the disk1 while the the computer is on, for sure the computer is going to crash.. unless the os is cashed somewhere?
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LVL 119
ID: 38861531
ESXi goes memory resident! it does not readvand write to disk much, its very small compared to Windoze!

see my profile for experiments we did removing the usb flash drive! there is a video!

try it! but its not designed to be removed
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