Yes, loads are. SIMS will work with any unmodified copy of Windows, so basically hardware virtualization solution - so vmware, virtualbox, virtual pc, hyper-v, parallels, xen, kvm....
In fact, you could pre-prepare a bunch of virtual machine files ready to go for various platforms, and use them for troubleshooting. Normally, you can't muck around with the hardware / installation over the phone, but if you could FTP them a whole new virtual server and drop a backup onto it, the support options become so much better. But you would lose the £1000 per day install fee.
I think with virtual, you could at least look at increasing RAM quickly on the fly, look at disk usage, worst case have to turn off some of the other VMs if it seems they are at fault. I'd rather favour supporting the new tech and learning to troubleshoot it, than deterring us from using it.
I'm sure there are plenty of people rushing ahead and don't know what they are doing, trying to save cash, but then i'd prefer a guide that lists things to check, minimum resources to allocate, recommendations on setup, as we used to get for single physical machines.
The problem is guys, Capita is a software company, they have to draw the line somewhere, otherwise they'll have to limit what SIMS can run on. They've just made it clear and stated that if you go down the virtual route, just be aware instead of having say, 5 things that could go wrong, you have 10, BUT, you do have says 3 extra features.
(Personally restoring a whole server is a bit extreme cause a SIMS upgrade "failed")
PS: @vikpaw - that would be a licensing nightmare. Capita can't build a image using Academic license, they would have to use enterprise (or whatever it's called) which is much more then £30, so each person who bought it would have to pay £££.
Last edited by matt40k; 20th June 2012 at 02:44 PM.
Make sure it's well resourced and you should be fine.
I'd have thought they could build on whatever we were licensed to, but ignore that, it was just an idea. We could do that amongst ourselves if we wanted. I was just trying to show how easy it is to start again / troubleshoot.
A whole server restore for upgrade failure, is effectively what the snapshot does, and i've used it countless times. It's a great big UNDO button that is awesome.
Running on VMware for the last few years with no support issues at all, Capita confirmed via Email they had no issue with running it virtualized.
We know that SIMS works well in a properly configured virtual environment. We have however had around 10 schools that have complained bitterly that SIMS is failing to run properly in their environment and there is an expectation that we will be able to resolve the problems. As much as we would like to, we just do not have the knowledge of the individual set-ups and an expert is required to balance the systems.
Matt is correct in stating that we are making a positive statement that we will support SIMS on these environments but we cannot resolve issues that are down to how the environment has been set up.
Yes been running SIMS virtualised here for yonks.
Basically the rules for speccing hardware are exactly the same for virtualised as they are for a normal SIMS server.
1. RAM. 8-32GB depending on how big your establishment is.
2. CPUs either 4 fast cores or 8 slower ones. I run 4 fast cores and occasionally hit 100% CPU use but it's rare and not really a bottleneck.
3. HDDs/Raid. Exactly the same consideration as on a physical server, you need lots of read AND write I/O, so don't use the usual Raid 5 (awful write I/O), use either Raid 10 or RAID 50 or even SSDs.
I Use Raid 50 with 5 groups of 3 disks and get some really nice performance out of that whilst still being highly available. The graph below is performance data from inside the VM.
I wouldnt run SIMS any other way.
Last edited by AButters; 21st June 2012 at 09:45 AM.
PhilNeal (21st June 2012)
We moved to a Hyper V environment a few year back, with no problems.
I p2v'd mine offline (live boot clone software) and it worked great. I did have to remove the old network card from the new virtual sims server but that was it.
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