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Hardware Thread, Storage Box in Technical; Ok, so, in that case, virtualisation is well outside our budget for another 2 years. *sigh* I'll give up in ...
  1. #16

    localzuk's Avatar
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    Ok, so, in that case, virtualisation is well outside our budget for another 2 years. *sigh* I'll give up in that case

  2. #17

    teejay's Avatar
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    Don't give up, there is always a way round it! Do you already have the servers you were going to use as virtualisation hosts? If not, what about speccing up a server with direct attached storage which will be cheaper. Yes you lose the live motion side of it but that's not really important on small scale Virtualisation projects.
    Can you give us an idea of how many servers you are looking to virtualise and what kit you already have that you are thinking of re-using and what your total budget would be?

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    Quote Originally Posted by localzuk View Post
    Ok, so, in that case, virtualisation is well outside our budget for another 2 years. *sigh* I'll give up in that case
    You can run VMs on a mirror, I do at home, but you need to keep expectations of throughput somewhere sensible. It will be ok for sustained read, but even with a fibre array with 10 drives full random read barely breaks into single MB/s digits. If it's consolidating servers with low I/O then it will probably be fine, large numbers of disk images and snapshots will be where issues start to become apparent. File servers do not vitualise well, especially with Mac clients, although that said both of mine are virtual (having split the Mac files to another VM yesterday to reduce the load).

  4. #19

    localzuk's Avatar
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    We have roughly 10 servers at the moment. They do:

    AD/DNS/DHCP
    DNS/FILE SERVER (This will not be virtualised, as it would be silly to do so)
    ISA
    SQL SERVER/SIMS
    Terminal Servers (32bit) (3 of) - this is a grey area, not decided whether or not to virtualise or not
    IAS
    Website
    Internal Intranet
    Ghost/Jabber/other little things

    These are currently running on 7 HP DL360G5's (4 of which are dual quad core 2.8Ghz, 3 are dual dual core xeon 2.4Ghz - 3 have 16GB RAM, the rest have 8GB - none are utilising it all yet, as they were updated when we had some spare cash), all with dual 146GB SAS disks. We also have the 2 F-S servers mentioned earlier (dual dual core 2.2Ghz opterons, 2GB ram each, and dual 160GB SATA disks).

    Some of the tasks above (website, intranet, IAS, main AD) are all virtualised on a VMWare box with 8GB RAM already - this has been like this for about a year and a half.

    We will not be buying any more servers for 2 years.

  5. #20
    Duke's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by localzuk View Post
    Ok, so, in that case, virtualisation is well outside our budget for another 2 years. *sigh* I'll give up in that case
    Virtualisation still isn't really cheap if you want to do it all properly. There's nothing wrong with what you were proposing, but it depends on what kind of SLA you want to have. One of the main reasons I'm looking at virtualisation is to improve our level of failover and redundancy. With a mirrored SAN and Fault Tolerance from VMware I know I could theoretically get close to zero unplanned downtime. I've had quotes to do less than that which ranged from £20k to £120k!

    I'm sure the Fujitsu boxes would do the job, but Butuz is right - will it be a long term solution that will support the growth, expansion, performance and uptime you need? If you've only got a couple of £k to work with then you'll struggle to get a redundant solution, but it's plenty for proof of concept and development if you need to persuade anyone higher up that it's a worthy project.

    I did a proof of concept using two Dell PCs running Xen (the trial that gives you HA) and our NetApp SAN (I could just as easily have used the Sun S7000 Simulator) and went from a potential downtime of days for a complete critical server failure to it coming back up in 1m45s. If you need to persuade a management team on this, tell them it's not whether they can afford to do it, it's whether they can afford not to...

    Cheers,
    Chris

  6. #21

    localzuk's Avatar
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    As I've said - 2 years is our timeframe for buying any new servers. So, in 2 years time we'd be looking at a budget of about £15k in total for new servers...

  7. #22

    teejay's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by localzuk View Post
    We have roughly 10 servers at the moment. They do:

    AD/DNS/DHCP
    DNS/FILE SERVER (This will not be virtualised, as it would be silly to do so)
    ISA
    SQL SERVER/SIMS
    Terminal Servers (32bit) (3 of) - this is a grey area, not decided whether or not to virtualise or not
    IAS
    Website
    Internal Intranet
    Ghost/Jabber/other little things

    These are currently running on 7 HP DL360G5's (4 of which are dual quad core 2.8Ghz, 3 are dual dual core xeon 2.4Ghz - 3 have 16GB RAM, the rest have 8GB - none are utilising it all yet, as they were updated when we had some spare cash), all with dual 146GB SAS disks. We also have the 2 F-S servers mentioned earlier (dual dual core 2.2Ghz opterons, 2GB ram each, and dual 160GB SATA disks).

    Some of the tasks above (website, intranet, IAS, main AD) are all virtualised on a VMWare box with 8GB RAM already - this has been like this for about a year and a half.

    We will not be buying any more servers for 2 years.
    Right,
    Terminal Servers, SQL Servers and SIMS it's not recommended to virtualise them. However, what we're doing is virtualising them as single servers on there own machines to aid with DR, as you can then just take a backup of the VM files.
    All your web stuff could be virtualised onto one of your existing servers no problem. Maybe get some extra hard drives for a couple of your DL360's and start moving stuff across onto those if you need extra storage space for the images and see how it goes.
    Really wouldn't bother faffing about with iSCSI unless you can afford the decent boxes. You've got good enough kit there to virtualise quite a bit with your existing kit.

  8. #23
    Duke's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by teejay View Post
    Terminal Servers, SQL Servers and SIMS it's not recommended to virtualise them.
    For what it's worth, I believe Capita are now supporting SIMS in a virtual environment, and the old adage of not virtualising SQL and Exchange apparently doesn't apply too much any more as long as you've got hardware virtualisation support on the CPUs and decent IOPS from your storage. Just a thought if it's going to free up any more hardware for you to play with.

    Cheers,
    Chris

  9. #24
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    Ah I can see where your problem is now - you've already invested heavily in server infrastructure so it becomes more difficult for you to present your case.

    My situation is the same as yours nearly - 10 servers all doing separate things (inc 3 terminal servers). Where I have extra leverage is because 5 of the servers are older than the internet itself - out of warranty (thus are costing us ££ per year to warrant), and under perform. In my case - 10 servers virtualised down to 4 physical servers (2 new, 2 existing) with a 7110 san is going to provide big increases in performance, reliability, redundancy - and big reductions in yearly warranty costs and electricity. It'sa win win. there is no reason why not to (apart from initial cost, speculate to accumulate).

    From what I can see - benefits to you in virtualisation are going to come more from reliability, redundancy, increased uptime, etc rather than performance. I think you also have room to consolidate and get rid of some of the older non quad core servers, thus saving some electricity and support costs.

    You have to present the benefits to SMT - fault tolerance is the main one, currently if a physical server goes down, all services on it are down until it can be repaired (few hours, through to over a week) - is this acceptable? To us it was not. With virtualisation, if a physical server dies, so what - another physical server will take the strain. ifnact two could fail at teh same time and it still wouldnt be much of a problem No downtime apart from 2 or 3 minutes while the VM reboots. This is a key benefit with massive inpact for all teaching learning and administration, and one that if your SMT understand, probably will want to look at finding extra money for a decent SAN.

    The worst thing you could do would be to implement an poor/unreliable/non redundant SAN - and then have it all go pear shaped - you will have a seriously hard time convincing SMT that virtualisation is a good idea when all your VMs are down

    As for what to virtualise - yes you can virtualise SIMS, yes you can virtualise terminal servers, yes you can virtualise DC's. you just have to ensure that you have the approprate hardware and storage system specified so that you do not take any performance hit.

    Butuz
    Last edited by Butuz; 12th May 2009 at 04:32 PM.

  10. #25

    teejay's Avatar
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    @Butuz
    One question, what happens if your 7110 goes down? Unlikely, but it is a single point of failure and would have a bigger impact than one server failing.

    What I was trying to get across before is that there are some advantages to doing virtualisation within his current infrstructure, as there are still benefits when just running with direct attached storage as you have the abstraction layer between the hardware and the O/S so that machines can easily be moved. A lot of his web infrastructure can happiliy sit on one of his existing servers no problem, especially the linux based stuff. A server could then be kept with up to date images to bring online if required due to a failure.

  11. #26
    Butuz's Avatar
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    yes all my member servers would go down....

    I have made SMT aware that a single 7110 would be a single point of failure and given a cost option for dual mirrored. At the end of the day it's up to them - they hold the purse strings, they decide how valuable uptime / data protection is. Should have a decision tomorrow.

    At the worst, I'll be sure to regularly take copies of the VM images onto another box, will also be doing normal backup exec 11 backups of the VMs for now. Ultimately I would put a wager on the 7110 being more reliable when set up with raid 6 than any of my current local storage.

    Our biggest and most likely single point of failure currently is actually the air con. If that goes down the server room will gain approx 20 degrees within an hour - and all servers will shut down to protect themselves = whole network down.

    Butuz
    Last edited by Butuz; 12th May 2009 at 06:05 PM.

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    Worth speccing an environmental monitor in your solution then! If you are on APC UPS's you can get the SNMP management card with an environmental monitor built into it. Works a treat, we've gone with those and now the servers shutdown gracefully well before they reach critical temperature, plus I get an email to my Blackberry.

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    Quote Originally Posted by teejay View Post
    Worth speccing an environmental monitor in your solution then! If you are on APC UPS's you can get the SNMP management card with an environmental monitor built into it. Works a treat, we've gone with those and now the servers shutdown gracefully well before they reach critical temperature, plus I get an email to my Blackberry.
    One thing to note is power management and RAID status really are quite a pain in ESXi, due to the lack of service console or missing CIM agents.

    I'll be sticking with ESX for now. I assume Xen is ok as it's got the usual linux console too.

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    We are using Proxmox for our Virtualisatio which provides a nice front end to openVZ and KVM.

    For storage can I suggest you look at openfiler. Support iscsi targets, SMB, AD integration, snapshots etc. I even use it at home

    We can not afford commercial NAS or SAN/NAS but even if we could the two products listed above compete very favourably and openfiler can provide commercial support if required.

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