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File and Print server on VM

Posted on 2013-06-17
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Last Modified: 2013-08-11
Hello Experts,

  I am in a situation where I need to put a plan on paper and convenience higher management for virtualizing a physical FNP server to VM.

 We have one physical FNP Server which has a 2 Local Disk and it has been connected to storage lun;s for its File Datastore. We already have a DR Plan like below.

1. In case if the Prodcution server , Server1 goes down due to H/W Failure or Corrupt OS , then Fire Up the standby DR Server , Server 2

2. Disconnect the luns from server 1 and connect them server2 and make the server online

 Now ,

 I have to convenience higher management for virtualizing  this FNP so that there will be HA for this FNP and reduce this manual lun switch over.

Can anyone highlight some points which I can put infornt my management ?

Thanks,

-Prashant Girennavar.
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Question by:Prashant Girennavar
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by:Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2) earned 996 total points
ID: 39255426
Why not use Failover Clustering, and there would be no need to manully switch over the LUNs.

How large is the file server disks?

I would not recommend virtualising the disks, but still use the SAN LUNs and present the LUNs as RAW (RDM) to the Virtual Machine.

So it would seem Failover Clustering versus HA ?

The onyl advantage I see, if you were going to be virtualising more servers in the long term, also DR (recovery of your servers) is easier.
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by:coolsport00
coolsport00 earned 1004 total points
ID: 39256072
Well, you don't really get away from extra hardware at the DR location because you either have a server that is a 'clone' of the source File Server, or you have a phys server at the DR site that runs ESXi. But, IMO, running ESXi is better because you have opportunity to utilize the ESXi Host for more than just recovering your File Server. You could potentially replicate other critical VMs to the DR (ESXi) Host for recovery if needed.

I guess the potential downside to virtualizing your FS is the need to get storage at your DR. You don't necessarily need identical SAN storage at your DR though...a DAS could work. You just need storage to 'get you by' until your main site is back online.

Another 'plus' to virtualizing your FS is portability. Moving a VM & it's associated files is much more convenient than toting a physical box. Also, with virtualization, you increase ROI by using the DR phys host for hosting more than 1 server for recovery. In addition, power/cooling costs are decreased because you only have 1 (or min of 2 for HA purposes) phys host at your DR site that has potential to house multiple VMs (servers) on it.

So, there are a few "pluses" for your mgmt.

Hope that helps.

Regards,
~coolsport00
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Expert Comment

by:VirastaR
ID: 39256133
Hi,

Check this

New Ways to Enable High Availability for File Shares
http://windowsitpro.com/windows-server-2012/new-ways-enable-high-availability-file-shares

Hope that helps :)
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by:Prashant Girennavar
ID: 39278526
So , does this mean to move our FNP to VM is a bad IDEA , Since it will not serve much of our purpose?

Basically the whole idea is to avoid the stand by server and manual work of switching the luns? So , that is not possible even if we use VM right?

-Prashant Girennavar.
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by:coolsport00
ID: 39278548
Well, the most accurate answer is "it depends" :)

What are your explicit goals, short & long term? I mean, the upfront cap cost could be more than what you're willing to spend at the moment. If you plan to incorporate other services (servers) in your DR Plan, then it's more about choosing when is best to invest in a good sound DR Plan.

Regards,
~coolsport00
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ID: 39278561
I would recommend a large file server to be from a NAS!
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Expert Comment

by:compdigit44
ID: 39278695
Regardless if your file server is physical or virtual, have you though about using a Windows domain based DFS file share structure?

http://blogs.technet.com/b/josebda/archive/2009/03/10/the-basics-of-the-windows-server-2008-distributed-file-system-dfs.aspx
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by:Prashant Girennavar
ID: 39280321
Hanccocka,

How does it help to put large file server from a NAS ?

-Prashant Girennavar
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by:Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2) earned 996 total points
ID: 39280476
Because they are designed for that purpose of file sharing.

VMware vSphere has a limit of 2TB for a virtual disk, you need to provide an OS to perform the sharing.

NetApp Filers which have a CIFs function can provide SAN Snapshotting which helps users with Restoring Previous Versions, very large file servers in our experience are bad candidates for virtualisation.
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by:coolsport00
coolsport00 earned 1004 total points
ID: 39281026
Slight correction (and he knows this as he hinted to it in his 1st comment) to @hanccocka's post - vSphere has a limit of 64TB *IF* you use a physical RDM to your VM (not virtual disk; and, if you use virtual disks..the limit is still technically 64TB if you use up to 32 extents, otherwise a standard VMDK is 2TB)

If you virtualize your FPS and incorporate NAS with NFS, you can connect your VM to a NFS mount and as @hanccocka suggests, not have that 2TB storage limit. It is a viable option.

But, I go also go back to my last comment - you have alternatives here, but it just depends on what $$ your org is willing to fork out up front, because regardless of what you do, there will be cost involved. The NAS route would be a bit cheaper, but for DR you still need something on the "remote" side.

Just list your goals, list the options, the cost of those options, then determine what is right for you....or if anything is right at the moment. (maybe an option would be viable in a yr?)

Regards,
~coolsport00
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Author Comment

by:Prashant Girennavar
ID: 39289310
Thanks all for your valuable comments.

I wanted to know about some more things here.

As I said we have some SAN Luns directly attached (Dell Commpellent )to the physical server. Now if we plan to covert this physical server to virtual server , Can we attach this LUNS as drives to the virtaul machine? If Yes,in case if that virtaul machine goes down , then data will be safe ? Since OS will be in different storage.

After the rebuild of new VM , Can I use the same LUN for my data ?

Please let me know about this? Since I am unsure :)

Thanks,

-Prashant Girennavar.
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by:Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2) earned 996 total points
ID: 39289368
Yes, using RDM (RAW LUNs)

see here
http://www.vmadmin.co.uk/vmware/35-esxserver/58-rdmvmre

we still don't do large file shares with virtualisation!

we let the NAS (NetApp filers do the work of CIFs shares)
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coolsport00 earned 1004 total points
ID: 39289813
Yes, you can; just "move" the LUNs from the 'Storage Group' they're currently in to the Storage Group your Hosts are in within your SAN mgmt interface. Rescan your ESXi Host Storage Adapters then add the LUNs to your P2V'd VM as an RDM.

~coolsport00
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Author Comment

by:Prashant Girennavar
ID: 39348145
Will be closing this question soon after migrating the FNP SErver :)
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