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Hardware Thread, New Server - Help in Technical; I'm in the process of begging for cach for a new server to run our Sims on aswell as a ...
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    New Server - Help

    I'm in the process of begging for cach for a new server to run our Sims on aswell as a couple more things (Pegasus Opera being one)

    I have 3 big(well they are physically) servers at present, an exchange server, a SQL server and a file server, I am hoping to upgrade 1 a year for 3 years.

    I have a little ML110 server running a couple of Hyper-V servers (non AD) at present and I was thinking maybe I should get a server powerful enough to run a couple of Hyper-V's, one with Sims on and the other with the File system on, then next year look at buying a nice big storage server to hold all the kiddies files.

    I read in PC Pro the other week about how he had set up a server with 6 disks (I think) 3 sets of mirrors, the first 2 with the Hyper OS an the other 2 mirrors holding seperate Hyper-V's. You reckon this is a good setup?

    Its difficult because there is no guarantee I will get the money next year but I also would like to plan a little.

    Any advice would be great.

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    Duke's Avatar
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    Any idea what your budgets are, and do you have any other concerns you can take care of at the same time like consolidation, failover and improved uptime? I only ask because you could take the virtualisation a step further, get some shared storage and turn most of those physical servers into Hyper-V (or VMware or Xen) hosts. That way you could failover between your servers and have less wasted resources while also making future upgrades easier?

    If you just want to keep things simple and can't get the budget for any shared storage then a single server is probably fine and splitting up the disks is a good idea. Are you tied to Hyper-V for any particular reason? If not then you could get a server running ESXi (the free version if you don't need failover/Vmotion just yet) from an SD card then all the internal disk storage can be used for running virtual machines. You could split this up as RAID 1, RAID 10 or RAID 6 depending on what performance you needed from the disks. If you're virtualising Exchange and SQL then you'll need something that'll give you enough IOPS.

    Cheers,
    Chris

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    Thanks for the reply. I only have £4k to start with so I was thinking maybe getting a server with 4 discs to start with and just running SQL on it and use the old server as a dedicated backup device.

    I am a M$ whore tbh, I know it works and I like it alot, also I am a bit of a HP whore too.

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    Citrix XenServer Citrix Systems Products -- XenServer XenServer is another option and it is also free.

    One approach to persuade SLT to part with more cash is to use the “green” angle. Something like, “server consolidation using virtualisation technology is a green solution and will reduce help to reduce our carbon footprint.”

    Virtualisation is the definitely the way forward.

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    I'm running Xenserver for 4 debian VMs (built from the pre-made debian templates that shipped with Xenserver). They will sometimes lock or crash in unison, probably about every 3 or 4 weeks, normally when I attempt a shell login on one of them. Since I upgraded from version 5 to 5.5 (with all hotfixes) I've lost the ability to reliably export backups which now fail with checksum errors about an hour into the process.

    I'm hoping version 6 will rectify things, but to be honest even if it did, I'm still tempted to defect to something else. If you are looking for virtualisation on the cheap (or free) then VMware seems to have much more community support even though the feature set isn't quite as impressive as Xenserver.

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    Duke's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by morganw View Post
    [...] VMware seems to have much more community support even though the feature set isn't quite as impressive as Xenserver.
    I think the paid for version of VMware ESX/ESXi probably has the biggest feature set, but in free versions Xen definitely beats free ESXi.

    £4k will buy you a decent server and there's nothing wrong with sticking with MS. I'd say give ESXi and Xen a try (for free) as they are really nice and after the initial investment it'll make your future upgrades and expansion cheaper.

    If you do go with a single server and just use it for Windows in some form, check the Microsoft Technet documentation (be it for SQL installs or Hyper-V) as it should provide information on the best disk layout to get the required reliability and IOPS.

    Chris

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    well for 2K I got quite a powerful server.

    2x Dual Xeon Cores E5420
    8GB Ram (expanding to 32GB soon)
    4x 500 GB HDD (Set in RAID 10 config so that they are mirrored stripe)
    2x redundant PSU
    2x redundant NICs
    Win Server 2k8 R2
    300 CALs.

    Does the job nicely for us as we also run 2 VM's, one for file storage, one as a print server, and we have a seperate (but attached) ISA server also, all in the same cost!

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    HP and ESXi all the way!

    I'm afraid I'll have to add my vote for Proliant servers and ESXi (if it needs to be free) too. If you could stretch to purchasing some shared storage, then all the better.

    I appreciate that ESXi doesnt have the largest feature set of all of the virtualisation hosting platforms, but imo it cant be beaten on reliability and ease of use. We are currently running 8 HP blades with a HP SAN and aside from a minor bug in the SAN, we have had ESX running solidly for a year with no problems at all.

    Mike

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