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    localzuk's Avatar
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    Servers for virtualisation?

    So, I currently have a plan to upgrade some slightly older servers in our rack with extra CPUs and RAM. These servers run Intel E5620 processors.

    To do the upgrade (ie. an extra processor each, plus more ram, bringing them up to 28GB RAM each) it will cost us around £5k.

    However, @jamesfed just highlighted the HP DL165 G7, which has Opteron processors, and doesn't cost much at all.

    Buying 3 of these with 2 x Opteron 6234 processors and 32GB RAM each would set us back around £7.5k.

    So, the question is - which do I go for? I'm finding it difficult to find any reviews of that processor, but the fact that it has lots of cores makes it jump out as 'good for virtualisation' to me.

    The current servers are Dell R610s running 4GB RAM each with a single E5620 processor, they were put in by the exiting managed service provider to fill a gap they were leaving.

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    FN-GM's Avatar
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    I would probably say get new. They are a better spec, more warrenty and newer. You can then use or sell the old ones.

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    Mr.Ben's Avatar
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    I'd buy new - the 24 cores the 2 Opterons give you could mean some room for expansion as well as replacing your existing machines.

    Note- you'll have to buy Datacentre edition if your using Hyper-V - Enterprise has a 4 VM limit

    Use one of the older servers to run SCCM/DPM to back up the guest machines instead, sell on any you don't need or use.
    Last edited by Mr.Ben; 15th March 2012 at 12:39 PM. Reason: Bristolian Spelling

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    Several things to think about here... Huge hosts are great, but they bigger they are the more important services they have on them. I've purchased some second user servers and then added san storage for not a lot, it's cheap, failure on one node is acceptable , parts are cheap and its all very flexible.

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    Buy new - not only do you get more processing cores/power, it's likely to be better Watts per processing power, so you'll be reducing energy costs (for the number of equivalent machines), which is part of the wonder of virtualisation Also, your RAM is likely to be DDR3 in the new isn't it? Should be noticibly quicker. If you can afford, go bigger on RAM... you can easily overprovision CPU (most boxes for most of the time use a fraction of a single core, but you're limitting yourself with 32GB RAM (say ~16 Windows server 2008 instances at max per box... you've got 24 CPU cores...). I'd be tempted to get 2 of the servers, at least doubling the RAM, and try to combine RAM/CPUs from the R610s to give you a backup virtual box (how many R610s do you have?).

    I'd also agree with the above regarding SAN, but seem to remember something from your previous posts regarding getting one... as above, the beastly host solution only really makes sense if you can switch machines between the 2 (doesn't have to be in HA, unless your virtualisation platform that you've chosen includes that), otherwise you need beastly storage in both and some way of syncing the machines between the 2

    Cheers

    Will
    Last edited by Willott; 15th March 2012 at 12:36 PM.

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    localzuk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by strawberry View Post
    Several things to think about here... Huge hosts are great, but they bigger they are the more important services they have on them. I've purchased some second user servers and then added san storage for not a lot, it's cheap, failure on one node is acceptable , parts are cheap and its all very flexible.
    They would be part of a solution with shared storage on a MD1000 device, which would be connected to another server running Windows Storage Server, so this isn't a problem.

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    localzuk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Willott View Post
    Buy new - not only do you get more processing cores/power, it's likely to be better Watts per processing power, so you'll be reducing energy costs (for the number of equivalent machines), which is part of the wonder of virtualisation Also, your RAM is likely to be DDR3 in the new isn't it? Should be noticibly quicker. If you can afford, go bigger on RAM... you can easily overprovision CPU (most boxes for most of the time use a fraction of a single core, but you're limitting yourself with 32GB RAM (say ~16 Windows server 2008 instances at max per box... you've got 24 CPU cores...). I'd be tempted to get 2 of the servers, at least doubling the RAM, and try to combine RAM/CPUs from the R610s to give you a backup virtual box (how many R610s do you have?).

    I'd also agree with the above regarding SAN, but seem to remember something from your previous posts regarding getting one... as above, the beastly host solution only really makes sense if you can switch machines between the 2 (doesn't have to be in HA, unless your virtualisation platform that you've chosen includes that), otherwise you need beastly storage in both and some way of syncing the machines between the 2

    Cheers

    Will
    We have 3 R610s, each with 4GB RAM, each with a single CPU. Interesting idea to go with 2 servers, with a bit more RAM and one of those as a backup. That might work ok, and reduce the price by £2.5k.

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    Having used them the DL165 G7s are great - one thing to watch out for are they only have a B110i RAID (no RAID5) - adding in a P410 uses up the low profile expansion slot leaving just 1 16x slot.
    As far as I understand the B110i isn't supported on VMWare/XenServer at the moment so you would need that aditional P410 if you want to run either of those two (if using local disks to boot off).

    Other than that they are great bits of kit Consume very little power - dual socket with support for 384GB RAM.

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    localzuk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jamesfed View Post
    Having used them the DL165 G7s are great - one thing to watch out for are they only have a B110i RAID (no RAID5) - adding in a P410 uses up the low profile expansion slot leaving just 1 16x slot.
    As far as I understand the B110i isn't supported on VMWare/XenServer at the moment so you would need that aditional P410 if you want to run either of those two (if using local disks to boot off).

    Other than that they are great bits of kit Consume very little power - dual socket with support for 384GB RAM.
    We'd be running HyperV, so that shouldn't be an issue. We don't want RAID5, as they're dumb machines really.

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    glennda's Avatar
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    Personally rather then 3 Opterons I would go for 2 with Extra Ram shared between each host.

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    localzuk's Avatar
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    Looking at RAM prices, I've just spotted that a 2GB module is £60 and a 4GB module is £70 and 8GB modules are £110... So, change those specs to 64GB per machine!

    2 of them, with 2 CPUs and 64GB RAM, plus 2 hard disks in RAID 1 would be around £5k.
    Last edited by localzuk; 15th March 2012 at 01:30 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by localzuk View Post
    Looking at RAM prices, I've just spotted that a 2GB module is £60 and a 4GB module is £70 and 8GB modules are £110... So, change those specs to 64GB per machine!

    2 of them, with 2 CPUs and 64GB RAM, plus 2 hard disks in RAID 1 would be around £5k.
    This is where I mention Gen8 being 2 months away

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    localzuk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jamesfed View Post
    This is where I mention Gen8 being 2 months away
    That'd likely lead to a price increase though...

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    Quote Originally Posted by localzuk View Post
    That'd likely lead to a price increase though...
    and a possible drop in G7

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    localzuk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jamesfed View Post
    and a possible drop in G7
    Nah, going by previous generations, they just basically disappear quite quickly and their prices stay about the same.

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