Choosing the correct vSphere version for Remote Office

Dear VMware Experts,

I am at the final steps of implementing a new vSphere Infrastructure.

With reference to the attached drawing please note the following:

I have a Server Room with 2 Servers(one cpu per server) and one Storage.
The vSphere Essentials Plus Kit version seems fine for my needs and size - drawing: Server 1, Server 2 and SAN

On the Second floor of the building I have an “independent” Windows 2012 server for the
users of this floor. Moreover it is not under the same domain and it has a .local domain
(this server has a small 10GB SQL DB and is used also as a small file server) – drawing: Server 3

I am planning buying a second -same size- server on a remote location for replicating the
files of the Server 3 – drawing: this is Server 4

Since I am implementing a vSphere Scenario for Server 1,2 I would like also to include Servers 3 and 4
for better management and flexibility. Using Hyper-V for Server 3 and 4 is not preferred since I will
end up managing 2 different virtual platforms.

Kindly advise:
1) the version of vsphere that fit my needs
2) any addition that you recommend to the above mentioned design  

Infrastructure.pdf

Thanks,
Mamelas
mamelasAsked:
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
vSphere Essentials Plus Kit

This will give you vMotion, VMware HA (High Availability), which allows all the VMs to be re-started if a host fails, three licenses for hosts, and Replication.

On the Second floor of the building I have an “independent” Windows 2012 server for the
users of this floor. Moreover it is not under the same domain and it has a .local domain
(this server has a small 10GB SQL DB and is used also as a small file server) – drawing: Server 3

Why not vitualise (P2V Server 3) server could be virtualised, and hosted on your VMware vSphere infrastructure.

and then re-deploy Server 3 to Remote Location, install ESXi.

You have three licenses of  ESXi, and then use VMware Replication to replicate Servers from 1 & 2 to Remote Location 3.

Is replication for Disaster Recovery ?
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DeltaMNCommented:
I'd suggest by starting with converting your physical server (server 3) to a virtual to temporarily run on host 1 or 2.   Then your essentials plus kit includes I believe 6 cores, so you can install ESX and license it under the one vCenter server, migrate the server 3 (now vmdk) to run locally on that host and that should take care of your local site.

As for your remote site,  do you have a dedicated wan Link to this site?  or IPsec VPN connection?

The VMware Essentials kit (not the plus version) will get you a vCenter license for around 500$ to manage this remote office and setup appropriate virtual machines.   I've done it exactly like that but my remote site was a DR so I had the VMware SRM licensing to replicate my servers etc.
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mamelasAuthor Commented:
Dear Experts,

Apologies for the confusion I made.

I have the following requirements:
1) the Server 3 and Server 4 should be independent from the rest infrastructure
(meaning that the Data should be only on Server 3 and Server 4)

2) Server 3 and Server 4 will be connected together via Secure VPN

3) Server’s 3 Data should be replicated to Server 4.
Therefore the Remote Office is actually a DR Site (but only between Server 3 and Server 4)

4) Server 3 and Server 4 should be ready for future VMware Cloud Hosting
therefore that’s why I need a virtual infrastructure between them

The Following Scenarios are for Server 3 and Server 4:

Scenario 1:
- Buy Essentials' Kit Plus for both Servers'
- Install ESXi for each Server
- Create an Open Filer VM for each Server
- Install inside a Windows 2012 VM for each Server
- Install vCenter to Server 3 for managing both Servers

In this case the Question is...
would be possible to buy Essentials' Kit which is cheaper
and enable some way the replication feature?

or Scenario 2:
- Convert Server 3 to Open Filer NAS
- Attach Server 3 which is now Open Filer NAS to the vCenter of Server 1
- Install a VM inside Open Filer NAS (Server 3)
- Buy a vSphere Standard license only for Server 4

In this case the Question is...
How will I manage the Server 4 and how I enable replication?
Will I have any impact on the I/O since Server's 3 NIC will be 1GBit)?

or Scenario 3:
- Install VMware Workstation 11 on both Servers'
- Create one VM on each Server
- Replicate the Data using a Third Party software (such a Veeam)
- If I am correct, the VMs' from Workstation are compatible and ready
  to be attached to a vSphere enviroment and therefore to a vSphere
  cloud provider

*Are the above scenarios applicable?
*If yes which of 3 you suggest?
*Do you recommend another one?

*Could you also specify what is the “VMware SRM licensing” since Essentials’ Kit Plus supports replication compared to Essentials’ Kit that supports only vSphere Hypervisor (attached comparison) Essentials-Comparison.pdf.

Thank you so much!
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
I would not recommend the use of Openfiler, as a NAS, it's slow outdated, the last version was 2.99, which was four years ago. (April 2011).

There are many better alternatives, which have been developed in the last four years.

Do you not have a SAN ? and this is the reason for Openfiler ?

Do you need a SAN ?

Do you need VMware HA ?

Do you need vMotion ?

It's not suitable for Production, are you building a Business solution or Lab to play with?

The same comments for VMware Workstation 11, it's a Desktop tool.

I would also use the vCenter Appliance, and keep it virtual, not physical.

So I would scrap Scenario 1: , 2: and 3: and re-think.

I would recommend a fully virtual solution, e.g. ESXi on Server 3, and Server 4, and VMware Replication between them which is included with Essentials Plus.

BUT, you need to think about how many hosts, because Essentials Plus, is only licensed for 3 Servers, so that's only Server 1, Server 2, and Server X at the remote location.

and then host all your Guest Servers - virtually as VMs.
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mamelasAuthor Commented:
Dear Andrew,

This is a Production Enviroment.

I have 2 Servers only - Server 3 and Server 4
Each Server has 2x2TB hdds' Mirrored.

The files hosted on these Servers are important but "light weight"
and each Server will have MAX 2VM's.

I am not planning buying SAN since I would need one for each Server and that would
increase the total cost.

Q1) Therefore could you recommend me a stable Virtual SAN for production Environment?

Maybe vMotion and HA are not required given that I will use Virtual SAN but I need for
sure the replication feature.
Q2) Will I get it form VMware or from a 3rp Party Software?
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
This is what I was suggesting, that unless, you require vMotion, VMware HA, there is no requirement for a SAN, or these features, and you could just use VMware vSphere Essentials.

Q1. A SAN is required for vMotion or VMware HA, so the question is, do you require these features ?

and do you know what they do ?

Q2. not applicable at present.

What is your budget ?

I'm a little confused, you only have Server 3 and Server 4 ?

what do these do, will these remain physical or virtual?

what servers are they?

what will the 2 VMs do ?

Why do you not virtualise the server on the second floor ?

free-up a server, and hosting this as a virtual server, on Server 1 and Server 2 with NO SAN.

using VMware vSphere Essentials.

this spare server can then go to DR site, and you can then use Veeam backup and Replication to replicate to DR site if enough bandwidth.
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mamelasAuthor Commented:
Dear Andrew,

I will try to make thinks more clear.

Server 1, Server 2 and SAN will have 6VMs'
with various roles such as Exchange, SQL
File Sharing etc..
For the above equipment I will need the vMotio n and High Availability. This is actually Company's Server Room

I am planning in the future of creating a DR Site
on a Cloud Provider for these 6VMs'

Currently I also have Server 3 on the second floor that belongs to a different Company and thus is separated from Server 1,2 and the SAN

This Server has a network application and is also used for file sharing and it is working fine as a physical Win2012 Server.

What I Need:
1) A DR site (so I should buy Server 4)
2) Replication between Server 3 and Server 4
3) A platform that will allow Server 3 or 4 to run   in any given time to a Cloud Provider (thus I prefer ALSO using vSphere for these two Servers)

So why am I messing you with Server 1, 2 and SAN?
I was wondering if there is any licensing that would allow me to run 2 Different vShpere implementations in order to avoid buying vshpere twice
 
If there is no such licensing then for Server 1,2 and SAN I need for sure the Essentials Plus.

For Server 3 and 4:
I don't need  neither vMotion nor HA. I need for sure replication (and the Essentials Plus on VMwares site refers the "word" replication while the Essetials is not.

Fibally if it is possible to install directly on the Server 3 the ESXi, and then the vCenter and the  VM then I do not also need NAS for both Server 3 and 4...
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
vSphere Essentials or Essentials Plus is limited to 3 Hosts ESXi servers, it's s starter edition.

(this cannot be upgraded or added to).

if you require more than 3 (e,.g. 4)  servers, and you want to manage them all with the same vCenter Server, you will need to purchase

vSphere Standard per ESXi Server, and vCenter Server Standard.

So you need to make a decision now, and plan ahead, are you going to have 3 or 4 ESXi hosts.

This can all be managed with vCenter Server, and vSphere Standard, with correct licenses.
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mamelasAuthor Commented:
OK this Scenario it is understood.
Buy vSphere Standard for every Server and manage them from vCenter.
The remote server 4 would be possible to add it and manage it from vCenter being connected with VPN?

Assuming now that I have only Server 3 and 4.
In this scenario I need a vSphere version that supports replication for these two Servers.
Which vSphere version will cover these?
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
OK this Scenario it is understood.
Buy vSphere Standard for every Server and manage them from vCenter.
The remote server 4 would be possible to add it and manage it from vCenter being connected with VPN?

Yes, but the caveat, here is the BANDWIDTH between the connections, which will also dictate, how well replication will work as well.

Server 3 and Server 4 will both need to have a version of ESXi, both vSphere Standard or vSphere Essentials Plus, will suffice here.

You may want to compare costs as to which is cheapest, but remember, Essentials Plus CANNOT be upgraded, or added to!

and there are other third party products, which DO NOT require VMware vSphere, which can also do replication between physical servers.

e.g. Double Take
http://www.visionsolutions.com/

This could offer a much cheaper solution, as no VMware vSphere required for Server 3 or Server 4.
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mamelasAuthor Commented:
As per my previous post Servers 3 and 4 should be virtual in order to be ready to be transferred  at any given time to a Cloud Hosting Provider.

Adding server limitations  on Kit versions  are noted compared to other versions.

Please clarify one last thing.
For replication do I need a 3rd party software or not?
If not which VMware versions include replication?
For example the Essentials kit version which is the cheaper one supports replication
1) by itself
2)by using 3rd party software ?
3) not supported at all?
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
If you require Server 3 and Server 4 to be virtual, you will need VMware vSphere as hosts, and the Server 3 and Server 4 as VMs.

Essentials Plus or Standard includes the Replication feature, no additional software required.
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mamelasAuthor Commented:
As always willing to help and provide till the end all the requested answers.Thank you Andrew!
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
No problems,.
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