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Thin Client and Virtual Machines Thread, Virtual Server Setup in Technical; I'm thinking of changing my system from a CC3 system (1 DC, 1 CMIS server) and around 80-90 clients to ...
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    CheeseDog's Avatar
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    Virtual Server Setup

    I'm thinking of changing my system from a CC3 system (1 DC, 1 CMIS server) and around 80-90 clients to a Vanilla XP setup using Virtual Servers. Which will be MS 2003 or 2008 server

    DC is a 2Ghz dual Xeon with 2GB RAM
    CMIS is Xeon with 1GB RAM
    (Probably use these as a backup should the new server fail)

    The main attraction being able to backup/restore quickly and saving some space in an already cramped server room. Whilst introducing some redundancy. Plus the fact that I find the idea of virtual servers quite exciting at the moment for some reason,

    We currently don't even have RAID here. Caused a few issues when the system drive failed on the DC last year.

    (Purchased about 6 months before my time in the area and about 32 months before I worked for this establishment.)

    Just wondering If anyone else is currently using Virtual Servers and the setup and spec of machines you are running?

    I'll probably be up to around 120 clients can't see it going much higher than 150 once we change the system.

    Open to comments so please shoot me down in flames if this is a really bad idea. Very early stages here and probably a good 12 months away from doing this. Not commited to anything yet so this is more of a thinking out loud thread.

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    Yes, we're running everything except our 2 DC's virtually at the moment. Although our imminent new domain will be setup entirely virtually.
    We've got a mix of servers running various platforms, all of differing spec's.

    2X HP DL350 G5's running Vmware ESX connected to a san. This is seriously under utilised at the moment.
    Our main workhorses are a 2 dual core, dual cpu machines with 4-8 gig ram. One running VMware server, the other running microsoft virtual server.
    My preference is to use VMware server, although we will be moving to Hyper-V (if it evaluates well) for our 2008 rebuild.

    Spec wise, our current machines really are totally adequate. But that hasn't stopped us buying 7 dual xeon dual core 2.66 blades with 4 gig ram for our 2008 rebuild.

    Matt

    p.s. Check the FFS section, i'm about to rant in there about something related to this!

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    I think DmMcoy has everything on blades and vmware, he can probably tell you more.

    We have a test copy of our domain and SIMS server on vmware. We also run a three application servers as vms on a Dell PE860. Properly set up, they're indistinguishable from physical boxes to the end-user.

    I will say, get testing now with the free version of VMware Server so x months down the line you have a good working knowledge. The vmware forums are pretty good and so are the docs http://www.vmware.com/support/pubs/

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    Virtualisation without a SAN seems to be losing one of its benefits, especially for disaster recovery.

    You really want your virtual machines running on seperate storage from your server. That way if the server fails, you can failover or just plug the storage into another box.

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    I've had almost everything virtualized for two years now, started on ESX 2.5, currently on 3 waiting for easter holidays to move to 3.5.

    Servers were purchased in April 2005 so we missed out on dual cores as they didn't exist Also missed out on the 64 bit VST extensions so I can't use 64 bit VMs despite have 64 bit processors.

    Currently using:

    EMC CX300 Fibre channel SAN with 15 146GB Fibre channel drives.

    1 Dell 1850 (Backup Server) with PV132T LTO2 tape library
    Dell Blade Center with:
    6 1855 Blades, 4GB RAM, 2 3.0GHz Xeons.
    2 Brocade 3250 Silkworm Fibre channel switches.

    Supporting over 300 workstations now although peak use depends on the timetable. Usually no more than 150 sessions.

    Average cpu use is still low, memory is the area to invest in.

    For the software ESX should really be used with VirtualCenter to get the most out of it.

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    Thanks for the input guys. Did mean to thank you yesterday got carried away playing with VMWare server here and attempting to unjam a printer. (Which is still jammed due to some oik tearing the paper so I can't get at it easily. )

    Previously used MS Virtual PC but I can see that VMWare is a little better.

    On saying that I couldn't find an option like in VPC where you can drag files from the host mahine straight onto the virtual machine.

    Probably have a look at infrastructure next week. Didn't realise you could move servers on the fly before yesterday even more excited now.

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    You need to be very careful when migrating virtual machines, there are a number of limits with the Microsoft licensing. If you want to avoid buying the number of copies of windows, exchange etc as you might migrate the vm to then you need to stick within the time limits for how often a machine can be moved. Of course I stick to these very carefully despite paying MS thousands every year

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    Probably wouldn't be too much of an issue here can't see any apparent need to do so excluding a failure or maintenance.

    Just nice to know that option is available. Need to look at the options really as some of the features may be a tad overkill for a relativly small network compared to you High School bods.

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