You use a SAN.
I've heard of VMware before but not really thought of the idea of giving it a go until now. The thought of clearing all the servers out & virtualising it sounds good to me!
I am novice, can someone explain the basic principle. I understand you have 1 main server, & you can run endless virtual ones from it? How is it possible to store so much data, where is it stored?
You use a SAN.
you basic premise is spot on, you build a fairly high spec server, install O/S and SP's drivers etc then install vmware or MS virtual server and then you can add any number of servers inside flat files, which can then me moved around etc.
the data is stored in virtual hard drives, which increases the size of the virtual machine or you can use networked drives etc.
your best bet (picture paints a thousand words) download and install and play about, you will soon get the hang of it.
At its most complex you can virtualise current physical servers and install something like esx and manage the lot via a web browser.
A properly-configured Linux server as the host OS will use less resources than Windows and lead to better VMWare guest OS performance.
Whats good about virtual machines is how independent the services become from the hardware. So for isnance if you had 2 servers now and one went down u'd be stuck, with virtual machines you'd move the file to another server, fire it up and your server would be ready to go.
Obviously ESX (plus SAN) would be the best "money-no-object" option
I can't lay my hands on figures at the moment but it goes without saying that possibility of running a host operating system (eg Linux) without a wasteful GUI, antivirus software, automatic reboots after updates without warning, and being able to scale it down to the bare minimum will be a great advantage to running virtual machines. Linux also has it's support of many suitable filesystems on its side whereas Windows has ...... FAT or NTFS
I may be looking at server virtualization in the future, would the best course of action be to build a big server up with a beefy processor, or two, add lots of RAM and masive hard drive space.
Probably 2 x dual or quad core xeons, 4Gb Ram and 1Tb hard drive space, would that be good enough for about 4 servers, maybe 6?
dezt, might be worth getting 2 servers so you have some rudundcy. Best suggestion is get 2 of the servers ict-direct are doing. You'll also need to get some serious backup sorted out, as if your hdd fails in a server you might stand to lose upto 4 servers!.
dezt (31st January 2008)
A couple of people are talking about using beefy processors. Before you do look at what virtual hosts you want to be running.
For example I'm looking at virtualizing a fair few servers and I know that several of them are running applications that are in effect file servers and use very little processing power. The random access time of the RAM, HDD and network bandwidth are more important.
As with all school ICT, it comes down to budgets and if you're going to use a SAN to host the virtual harddrives.
MS also provide a whitepaper detailing the trade offs about running your DCs in a virtual environment.
can either VMWare or Virtual Server be run on Windows 2008 yet?
Does anyone know if there is going to be any price difference between Server 2008 with Hyper-V and Server 2008 withOUT Hyper-V? I believe they have different SKUs so I'm guessing there will be. Also since we're talking about using possibly more than 4Gb RAM you can use Server 2008 x64 STD to with upto 32Gb.
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