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Thin Client and Virtual Machines Thread, Anyone using vSphere for their servers in a school? in Technical; Hi all, I work for a large high school and will soon be implementing a virtual server environment. I am ...
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    Awx
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    Anyone using vSphere for their servers in a school?

    Hi all,

    I work for a large high school and will soon be implementing a virtual server environment. I am favouring Vmware vSphere at the moment and was wondering if there were many other schools out there using vSphere? And, if so, are you happy with it?

    If anybody is using other hypervisors, ie, Citrix Xen Server or Hyper-V, it would be great to know your opinion of these systems too as I need to do a comparison of all and the pro's and cons of each.

    Thanks for taking the time to read and your input


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    Been using vsphere 4.0 for the last 3 years, not had any issues of note. Just make sure your all sorted for backing up the VMs and you get the relevant agents setup for the likes of powerchute, hardware monitoring agents for the hosts etc.

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    denon101's Avatar
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    We are using vsphere 5.0 since February, again not had an issue. I have to agree with making sure your backup strategy is good. One thing if you are using vsphere 5.0 we needed an extra physical server to put our LTO 5 drive in as vsphere 5.0 does not work with an internal LTO 5 drive in one of the Esxi hosts. Other than that niggle it has been one of the best investments we have made.

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    We use vsphere 5 and have been doing so for about a year. It has been faultless.

    You need to be sure how many servers you are ever likely to use. VMware has strange licensing and if you go past 3 physical hosts (or I think they go by physical processor sockets) the cost of the license goes through the roof. You also need good storage (not just large capacity).

    We run a network of 1600 users, 3 physical hosts (each with 62GB RAM) and 20 odd VMs. The datastore is a 12TB IBM SAN. It runs like a dream. The failover is great. When one server has a problem, all of the VMs transfer live to the other hosts and no downtime is experienced.

    I carried out extensive research and testing and found that Veeam Backup and Recovery is best when it comes to backing up your virtual estate. I managed to restore an entire 500GB VM in less than 10 minutes.
    Last edited by Gardinho; 9th October 2012 at 07:46 AM.

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    Currently got 4 vSphere 5.1 standard hosts with vCenter standard 5.1, very happy with it. Would highly recommend it, the only reason i can imagine anyone would go for something else over vmware is cost, it's certainly the quickest most polished and feature full hyper visor out there. Though obviously the initial cost is quite a big stopping point for a lot of schools, especially if you envisage the need to push higher up the licensing tree.

    Like the above guy i think i'd recommend veeam for backing them up, personally I'm using backup exec but I'm not overly happy with that (though it does work perfectly for VM backups, it's some other aspects I'm not happy with)
    Last edited by mrbios; 9th October 2012 at 07:58 AM.

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    vSphere here and extremely happy with it. We looked at Xen and it wasn't quite as well featured or polished. IMO it's one of those areas where quality is absolutely not negotiable.

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    Awx
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    Thanks for your responses everyone - much appreciated

    Our school is looking to gain ICT mark status in the near future. Does anyone else have this status at all as it would be really useful to talk to other techies to get some advice about it.

    Thanks again

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    Quote Originally Posted by Awx View Post
    Thanks for your responses everyone - much appreciated

    Our school is looking to gain ICT mark status in the near future. Does anyone else have this status at all as it would be really useful to talk to other techies to get some advice about it.

    Thanks again
    By ICT Status do you mean specialism? Or like M$ training academy? I thought they scrapped the specialist schools funding?

    In terms of Virtualization VMware it is the best all round product out in the market place. In comparison to Hyper-V it outshines it in most areas.

    VMware supports Currently link 670 different OS's whereas Hyper-V is less then 50 (I believe).

    In terms of the licensing a 3 node cluster (Max 6 Physical CPU's) with a VCenter Server is the essentials package which comes in at circa 410 RRP and VMware vSphere Essentials Bundle includes:
    VMFS (Virtual Machine File System)
    8-way Virtual SMP
    VMware Hypervisor
    VMware vStorage Thin Provisioning
    VMware Update Manager
    VMware vStorage APIs
    vMware vCenter Server for Essentials

    With 5.1 this can have unlimited amounts of RAM (VMware ditched the "Ram Tax" in 5.1).

    VMware vSphere Essentials Plus Kit is similar in the hardware allowances to the basic essentials package but includes more features but does cost a lot more. @ Circa 5500 RRP including 3 years 24 hour 7 days a week support (or 5100 for 3 years basic).
    As well as the features of the essentials package Essentials Plus also includes
    VMware vSphere Storage Appliance for Essentials Plus
    VMware Data Protection
    VMware High Availability (HA)
    VMware vMotion
    VMware vStorage APIs
    VMware Hot Add
    VMware vShield Zones
    VMware vShield Endpoint
    VMware Replication

    A full edition comparison is available below.
    Compare VMware vSphere Kits for Cloud Computing, Server and Data Center Virtualization

    Remember if you are happy to run 2 x VCenter servers and 2 seperate 3 node clusters there is no reason you cannot run 2 x the Essentials basic kits from what i understand but I will need to check that with the licensing guy - my VTSP only covered technical bits

  9. Thanks to glennda from:

    themightymrp (9th October 2012)

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    Oaktech's Avatar
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    yes... it just works, we set it up with only a cursory glance through the docs. Took us a little while to get the hang of setting the VM's up exactly as we wanted them and the network teaming required some thought but we have 8 vm's running successfully, we are currently manually backing up databases, and snapshotting, but we are literally right now setting up a freeNAS box to back up to via Veeam

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    At the office...

    We had ESX3.5 and then Migrated to XenServer.

    We still have a ESX vSpheer both ESXi and ESX for various things.

    And I run ESXi 4.x at home for 4 virtual machines.


    ESX vs XEN.... ESX hands Down!!

    TT

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    Main server is ESXi latest version with VSphere, the rest of our servers run KVM/Ovirt for virtualization.

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    Duke's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Awx View Post
    Thanks for your responses everyone - much appreciated

    Our school is looking to gain ICT mark status in the near future. Does anyone else have this status at all as it would be really useful to talk to other techies to get some advice about it.

    Thanks again
    We have the ICT Mark status and have been on vSphere for the last four years.

    Chris

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    Paid_Peanuts's Avatar
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    A very happy customer of VMware!
    We have been running VMware for 4 + years now using two IBM fibre SAN's with multiple ESX hosts. We have transitioned over the years from ESX3.5 to the latest vSphere ESXi 5 with no issues at all.

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    @Awx:

    Been using Xenserver here for the past 4 years with 20 VM's of different OS types, we are now on version 6.0.2 with HA, this has just recently been tested with an incident involving one of the hosts and no-one noticed the difference as the VM's from that host transfered to the other 2 hosts seemlessly.

    Now we have moved on to this version it also has the feature of scheduling snapshots throughout, from every hour to daily to weekly and all these can be collated and then backed up to a NAS ready to be imported back in if necessary. All this is free so no requirements for backup agents or third party backup software.

    Obviously it has many more features but this was one of the DRS ones which I thought I would mention.

    3 Hosts
    1 Sun 7110 SAN 4TB carved up into 2 partitions, Raid 5 for fast read and write and Raid 0 for fast read (Hopefully looking to purchase another for failover via mirroring)
    1 Hitachi SMS 6TB Data storage

    Total in cost 16k

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    We use vSphere 4.1 here and have done since the school was built in 2009. It's been faultless.

    Am currently looking at upgrading to 5.1, but will give it another couple of months to let others find any bugs.

    In terms of backing up I'd thoroughly recommend VEEAM too (with the caveat that it is pretty resource hungry when backing up so you either need a meaty server, or spread VEEAM's components over more than one which is pretty easy to do).

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