Getting into Virtualization

Christian_Agard used Ask the Experts™
I would like to create a virtualize machine and move some old servers onto it, then get rid of the old boxes.

I've been reading about VMWare, HyperV, VirtualBox
What is the best way to start of with Virtualization?

What types of servers are best virtualize (Mail Servers, Software Firewalls, Domain Controllers, or is it better just to do application and storage servers?
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Gary CaseRetired
Most Valuable Expert 2013
Top Expert 2009

You can virtualize any server functions you want;  but to do this you should use a bare metal hypervisor, not one that runs under an OS's control.    Hyper-V or VMware ESXi are your best options for this.   I'd suggest you focus your learning on one of these -- both are very good, although ESXi probably has the best suite of management tools.
Top Expert 2010
Virtualbox is a Type 2 hypervisor (installs on top of an OS), not Type 1 (installs on top of server/host hardware) and as such, leads to slightly more resource overhead and minimizes resources for consolidation and potentially affects performance (slightly).

As @garycase suggests, test out a Type 1 solution like Hyper-V and vSphere (ESXi). Hyper-V is gaining ground but still leaps & bounds behind vSphere IMO. I am partial to vSphere and suggest attempting that solution. For a small shop, either Hyper-V or vSphere is fine really.

For vSphere, I suggest before starting, you 1st have at least 1 Host to test on. Make sure that Host meets compat req's (see Compat Guide: I would then suggest reading up on the solution first (not really just jump into it; know a little about what you're getting into). For vSphere, here is the link to the docs: I suggest first reading their "Basics Guide" (from longer have it in 5.1...not sure why). It's a good 'beginners" understanding of their solution, how it interacts with components, and overview how it works:; from there maybe move on to the Install & Setup Guide, then VM Admin Guide, then Server & Host Mgmt Guide. The remaining Guides are then more for a little more advanced configuration - Storage, Networking, Resource Mgmt, Availability, & Security Guides. Read those as you have questions about those pieces of functionality.

As for the types of apps/servers you can virtualize.......well...any to be honest. The only hit/miss server type I've seen have issues is Terminal Services and it not performing too well for one reason or another. That is about the only server type I've never virtualized so can't provide much more detail (there have been EE posts here about it over the yrs).

Anyway, that should get you going :)

Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE Fellow)VMware and Virtualization Consultant
Fellow 2018
Expert of the Year 2017

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