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General Chat Thread, What do you reckon in General; I'm starting to think at replacing my aging file servers. At the moment I've got 4 DL380 G5's and 2 ...
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    glennda's Avatar
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    What do you reckon

    I'm starting to think at replacing my aging file servers. At the moment I've got 4 DL380 G5's and 2 DL380 G4's which are slowly getting full.

    I don't have the capacity in my current virtual infrastructure (HDD wise) to accomadate these file servers and not sure if the existing san will cope with the load (MSA 2012FC) as it currently hosts Sims Server, 2 exchange servers (soon to be a third) which are all I/O intensive in themselves plus the various other servers it hosts.

    So The options i'm contemplating at the moment are. (although up for other suggestions)

    1. Get a couple more hosts and a 2nd san purely for the File servers (needs to be around 6tb) Probably look at 2 of the Dl160's something like this and a san (which one is another debate). This solution is probably 12-15k roughly)

    2. Get 3/4 Hosts with enough storage to each hold all of the data and setup DFS replication using some dl380/385's and cluster the lot?

    what do people think?

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    FN-GM's Avatar
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    I was in the same situation as you a few months back. I went for option 1 and virtualised the file servers. I did it that way for the following reasons:

    1. Virtual so more redundancy
    2. No more servers taking rack space
    3. No additional servers using more electric
    4. No additional servers producing heat.
    5. Easier to migrate the virtual machine to new hardware when that time comes.

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    glennda's Avatar
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    I know virtual may be easier to migrate in the future - but as to points 2,3,4 i don't think they will apply as i'm going to have to but extra kit anyway and using the cluster the redunancy is also there.

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    FN-GM's Avatar
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    Money wise I think 3 & 4 would count. If you go virtual it will cost the school less as it's less physical servers to power plus the aircon doesn't work as hard to cool the server room so you save money there.

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    glennda's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FN-GM View Post
    Money wise I think 3 & 4 would count. If you go virtual it will cost the school less as it's less physical servers to power plus the aircon doesn't work as hard to cool the server room so you save money there.
    but its either 2 beefier servers plus a san vs 3/4 less powered servers? which having looked at the specs doesn't equate to much over a year

    i'm after whats going to be better performance wise rather then cost - as the power differences are minimal.

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    Assuming you are using ESXi, would VMware's vSphere Storage Appliance be an option?

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    nephilim's Avatar
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    Power savings may not be much in the year, but think long term, in 5 years could you have saves 5 months worth of electricity in comparison!!!

    I did that in my old place...I worked out that 1 beefy server running 4 VMs, saved roughly 3 weeks worth of equivalent electricity every 6 months, so over 5 years, that is 30 weeks of saved electricity in comparison. Add to this shutdownertron for your IT rooms, and get the kids to religiously switch the monitors off at the end of the class or when not using the machines, you would be surprised at how much money you will save the school.

    I made IT the most energy efficient dept in my old school.

    I am all about saving money (be it for work or for home!!)

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    glennda's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Arthur View Post
    Assuming you are using ESXi, would VMware's vSphere Storage Appliance be an option?
    I use linux kvm rather then vmware - its better

    as for power it worked out around a week a year... Already have all the machines shutting down if nobody is logged in for 15 mins even during the day which has saved a hell of a lot of money in power.

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    nephilim's Avatar
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    go to them with the green idea....hell if it helps make a big thing for the newsletter...say how the IT is going green etc. All schools love green stuff that they can publicise!!

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    glennda's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nephilim View Post
    go to them with the green idea....hell if it helps make a big thing for the newsletter...say how the IT is going green etc. All schools love green stuff that they can publicise!!
    Done that already - where published as a green school within our la for having a large it provision (900odd clients) yet cutting electric bills. The school has just currently had a 1.4m building project carried out and is just about to have the main blocks boilers replaced. these look something like this but alot older! and we had three. Every time you turn a hot water tap on it started two of those boilers.

    Rather then pushing the green idea which i have already done!

    What do people think will perform better? Vm's each serving there own shares (each hosting 4 student shares (2 data, 2 profile different years) and 2 staff shares (1 data, 1 profile)) which means they will have periods of time when they are not used much vs a cluster of machines all serving all the data meaning the perm load is separated across the hosts.

    We average around 700 clients used every lesson.

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    nephilim's Avatar
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    VMs would work better provided you have a good backup and snapshot system (which means if one fails, less than an hour to fully restore compared to cluster which could take days)

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    glennda's Avatar
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    We do people recommend with regards to San's then?

    As mentioned above i've currently got an MSA2012fc which is currently connected to the first cluster and i don't want to use for File serving. And looking for something for those File Servers (probs around 5/6TB) which will be host data directly from vm's running on most probably 2 Dl160 G6's.

    I've heard ISCSI is cheaper but would need additional switching (to keep seperate) and also Network Cards (probablly 10gb? or would 4 1gb's be ok?) Whereas if i did FC i could go directly from san to host (if san has 2 fc ports like current) saving the need for expensive fiber channel switching?

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    SYNACK's Avatar
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    You could go for a SAS based one, nice and quick with 3GB/s per channel over two links to each host and way cheaper than FC as it does not require switching. We have one made by IBM and it kills the equivilent iSCSI one on performance.

    I think hp was doing a deal over there where if you brought one of their SANs you could get 1 or two servers free with it which could help make it cheaper.

    Speed wise I'd go SAN as your going to be bound by IO and SANs are really quick, usually faster than DAS across multiple servers unless your spending lots on the local RAID cards and lots of fast disks.

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