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Hardware Thread, New Server Spec in Technical; I know this has been discussed many times but thought I would ask again anyway. I am putting a bid ...
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    New Server Spec

    I know this has been discussed many times but thought I would ask again anyway.

    I am putting a bid in for funds for a new server but want to try down the virtualisation road with maybe san and consolodate.

    Currently I have

    1 Dual XEON 2.4Ghz rack 4Gb ram for my exchange server
    1 Xeon 2.0Ghz with 2Gb Ram for Sims
    1 Xeon 2.Ghz with 2Gb Ram for storage (sata and running out of space)
    1 Tiny ML110 which I use for Sophos and WSUS.

    What I was thinking was that I could buy a powerful server which I would eventually run 3 Hyper V-s on in the next 12 months or so but buy a SAN when my next years budget comes out.

    Not sure about the spec I want though to run Hyper V and such hungry software, Sims is not hammered here as we are a small school.

    Any advice would be greatly appreciated, not looking at buying for 6 months so flexible advice would be great

    Many Thanks

    Simon

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    As usual the you can run things like this on anything pritty much but you want to have a powerful a beast as possible. getting that san at the time of install will give you a much cleaner job so if you can, do it.

    you can get a pritty desent virtualised eviroment up and running for between £25,000~£35,000 depending on your choices of hardware and HyperVisor.

    for the lower end of that you could get a couple of HP DL380's with 2xQuad-Core CPU's, about 20GB ram, a couple of small HDD's mirrored for redunacy, 2 quad port gigabit nics and 2 fibre-channel cards (for connecting to a san) (that uses up you PCI-e ports)
    you'll also get 2x san switches (again redunacy)
    an MSA2000 with 12x 450GB 15k RPM HDD's (giving you about 4TB when RAID setup)
    you might also squeeze VMware ESX3.5 in for that.
    you would also want to look at getting a pro to install that initally as SAN's can be tricky buggers if you haven't used them before

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    localzuk's Avatar
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    The spec of that seems way over the top for what the OP wants.

    Personally I'd go with a HP DL380G5 with 16GB RAM and a couple of small SATA discs in RAID 1 for the hypervisor install to go on. Also, add a couple of nice chunky network cards with extra network ports (bringing the total to 10). 1 for each VM, 1 for management and 6 for connecting to an iSCSI SAN.

    On the SAN side, I would go for an iSCSI SAN instead of a fibre SAN, as the cost difference is significant and in a small school you don't have a massive amount of demand to justify such expense.

    Something like the Overland SnapServer 520 or 650, with an extra network card (bringing total to 6 ports).

    Should come to around £10k - £15k altogether. (Also, a seperate switch for the ports that the iSCSI SAN connect to would be a good idea).

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    Quote Originally Posted by DAckroyd View Post
    As usual the you can run things like this on anything pritty much but you want to have a powerful a beast as possible. getting that san at the time of install will give you a much cleaner job so if you can, do it.

    you can get a pritty desent virtualised eviroment up and running for between £25,000~£35,000 depending on your choices of hardware and HyperVisor.

    for the lower end of that you could get a couple of HP DL380's with 2xQuad-Core CPU's, about 20GB ram, a couple of small HDD's mirrored for redunacy, 2 quad port gigabit nics and 2 fibre-channel cards (for connecting to a san) (that uses up you PCI-e ports)
    you'll also get 2x san switches (again redunacy)
    an MSA2000 with 12x 450GB 15k RPM HDD's (giving you about 4TB when RAID setup)
    you might also squeeze VMware ESX3.5 in for that.
    you would also want to look at getting a pro to install that initally as SAN's can be tricky buggers if you haven't used them before
    Thanks for the reply, I was thinking of something alot cheaper

    Our storage is less than half a terrabyte at present and I can't see it increasing much in the present.

    Not sure about the Hyper-V stuff so aplogies for the silly question, will the running hyper-V files stay on the servers and the SAN just used for data storage or do they have the hyper-v servers on them?

    Oh and I want a pedestal rather than a rack

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    It's always worth looking at something abit more than what you need currently as you'll almost certainly want to take most servers across (or use it to develop new servers) when you see how well it works.

    A SAN will be your main cost when purchasing the kit and it will also be the hardest thing to change easliy. when dealing with VM-Servers you can add a new physical box or change phyical boxes with relitive ease so long as your server images are stored on the SAN/Shared storage and not the local hosts.

    I have started a wiki on this site that should hopefully cover the essentials for virtualisation - can anyone with virtualisation expirence (or good spelling) edit this page to help make it "The Ultimate Schools Virtualisation Guide"

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    Hi,

    no expert in virtualisation but I do know there are some limitations on doing this with exchange server. Have a look here for some more info about that.

    I have been thinking along similar lines as you however I do not personally think that virtualisation is the ultimate answer. Don't forget that by doing what you propose you would end up with a single point of failure for your whole system as you would have only one physical server. One blown motherboard or faulty cpu and thats the whole system down until it is fixed.

    I would say that a similar setup to what you have already is more sensible and gives you more redundancy. 2 well specced servers running your services plus a large san for storage.

    I think virtualisation has its place, for example it is great for testing new operating systems or trying out new software etc... But surely a server powerfull enough to run the virtualisation software plus 3 installations of win 2008 (I assume) plus the software services (exchange/antivirus/wsus etc...) should be capable of running one installation of windows 2008 plus all the software services ? Also don't forget you have to license each installation of windows 2008, sometimes per processor !

    Richard

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    For your exchange server I take it you will be running Exchange Server 2007?

    If so then I would have more than 4Gb of RAM, I would put a min of 8GB.

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    Theblacksheep's Avatar
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    There are several tools for sizing exchange 2007 equipment.... MS do a few articles on this. Memory, cpus and storage depends on your users and workloads.

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    FN-GM's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by IanT View Post
    For your exchange server I take it you will be running Exchange Server 2007?

    If so then I would have more than 4Gb of RAM, I would put a min of 8GB.
    i would disagree. Our exchange server handles hundreds of users and has 4GB ram in and doesn't use all that.

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    If you'r going to virtualise you would really want to go over a minimum of 2 servers for redundancy, HP dl380's 16Gb Ram and 2x146gb Hdd's ideally you would want and really the Qlogic iSCSI HBA + 4 port nic Cards in each server.

    I would get maybe 3x servers, forget virtualising and put your storage on a SAN/NAS combined device like the Sun StorageTek 7110 2Tb version You can use your old servers once migrated with the free vmware hypervisor to put a few test Os's on and maybe some low used production servers, like a 2nd DC or AV management server.

    It is good to seperate out roles, but in your size of environment impractical. I'm currently struggling with the costs of doing some virtualisation and the licensing kills it if you want reasonabl performance and some HA features

    Skr

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    1) Always go for more than 1 server when virtualising and have redundant links in place to your network and to your SAN (and the SAN should be dual controllered or similar)

    2) Licening with windows server 2008 is very cheap when virtualising: standard edition comes with 1 physical licence and 1 VM, (per host)
    enterprise edition comes with 1 physical and 4 VM's, (Per host)
    Datacenter edition comes with 1 physical and UNLIMITED VM's, (Per CPU)

    3)Exchange 2007 uses alot less resouces than 2003 and other previous versions of exchange (also in a virtualised enviroment you can easily split exchange roles between servers if you so wish to increase preformance where nessersary (normally only required for thousands of accounts or if you wants your external face of exchange seperate for security reasons)

    4) if you aren't completely sure what you want to get, have a few companies come in and give you an assessment (as you're in the north I know a good company that may be local to you - I'll try and work out how to PM you their details)

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