CPU and Hard Drive recommendations on a New VMWare Server

   I am going to build a new VMware server that will host10-15 Virtual machines (one SBS2011, several Windows 2008R2/2012 Servers, a few Windows 7 or Windows 10 when it comes out).
  In the past, I have been buying 600GB 16K SAS (I might add that I have had a bad experience with enterprise SATA drives in terms of performance) and put them on RAID 1 or 10 depending on the space requirements.

 A 600GB SAS 15K Drive costs $350 when ordered with DELL servers.
 (1) Has SAS become more affordable?
 (2) What brand would you recommend?
 (3) To generate the disk space of more than 2TB (to house all these VMs), do you suggest that I get qty. 10 of 512MB SSDs or get qty. 4 of 1TB SSDs and put them on RAID 10? Or since SSDs are faster than SAS, RAID 5 is a viable configuration? Of course  I would prefer RAID 5 to save $ on # of disks required.

 (3) When I checked DELL R Series Rack Servers, there are so many CPUs to choose from. Cores: 4 core to 8 core    Speed:  from E5-2603 v3 1.6GHz,15M Cache,6.40GT/s QPI,No Turbo,No HT,6C/6T all the way up to E5-2698 v3 2.3GHz,40M Cache,9.60GT/s QPI,Turbo,HT,16C/32T for $3,200 more.
Since I am getting 64GB RAM and fast SSDs (compared to 15K SAS HDs), I can just pick lower end CPUs with 4 core or more?

Thanks for your input in advance.
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
I would opt for higher CPU cycles, than cores.

We purchase Dell R720 with 10 Core, 3GHz CPUs, e.g. E5-2690 v2, these are rather old, so I would opt for 10 Core.

But what is the total number of VMs, 4 or 6 core will suffice, if your VM count is low, CPU is not often the bottleneck, memory is, so ensure you have plenty of host memory.

I would use SAS 15k disks, in RAID 6. (or RAID 10 if you require top performance)

RAID 5 should not be used, in the enterprise.


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Neil RussellTechnical Development LeadCommented:
Agree with Andrew.  We standardised on R720's moved on to R730's now with 2 x 10 core 2.6Ghz and 128GB Ram.
As to Disks As already stated Avoid RAID 5.

Are you going along the Single host route? No redundancy?
Serious consideration should be given to dual hosts and maybe something like an MD3620i powervault for the storage.  (10GB ISCSI connection to both hosts)

No idea what your budget is but you are talking about 15 VMs and it looks like a whole companies infrastructure.  A single host with internal storage is a BIG single point of failure.
sgleeAuthor Commented:
I already have a VMware box (4 yrs old) and I am trying to get another one in case there is a catastophic failure on existing one.
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
Makes sense to have at least two!

and our your VMs on share storage, because then you do not need storage in hosts!
sgleeAuthor Commented:
I do not quite understand what you were trying to convey "our your VMs on share storage, ..".

Also as to type of HD is concerned between SSD and 15K SAS, you do not see a whole a kit of benefits of going with SSD despite they have come down in prices?
sgleeAuthor Commented:
I am thinking about getting 6 x 600GB 15k SAS drives on RAID 10 and 2 x 4TB Enterprise SATA 6.0Gb/s 3.5" drives on RAID 1 on the same DELL H710 Controller.
I will put mission critical VMs on SAS RAID and non-mission critical VMs on SATA RAID.
What do you think?
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
Because VMware Admins, think stuff a server with SSDs and it will be fast!

I would not use SATA disks! (unless you have a means to put caching SSDs before them!)

SATA disks, 7,200rpm perform poorly.
Neil RussellTechnical Development LeadCommented:
What kind of budget do you have? Are you limited?
sgleeAuthor Commented:
  The reason for two SATAs on RAID 1 is to store non-essential stuff like Copy of Software CDs and DVDs. Pictures and Videos that are not frequently accessed by users, but they like to keep.
  I wish I could store them in SAS drives, but I can only have total 8 x  3.5" HDs in DELL PowerEdge R530. But I need more storage than what 4 x 600GB SAS can provide.
So I am thinking about getting two of Enterprise SATAs to keep non-essential stuff thru a VM.

 I like to stay under 12K including Server hardware,  software, VMware License ... etc.
 I wish I could go with SSD HDs this time, but they are still very expensive compared to SAS and SATA.
sgleeAuthor Commented:
I guess I could go with all 8 x 600GB SAS and get Network Attached Storage (NAS) to store non-essentials files and folders, but then I would like to do it all in one box instead of having to deal with two separate hardware.
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
If it's just scratch storage, and not for VMs.

Would it not  be better to store this on a SATA based NAS providing Windows Shares ?

VMs requirement management, and Windows Updates! and an OS license!
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