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Thin Client and Virtual Machines Thread, ESXi v Citrix XenServer in Technical; I'm currently in the middle of looking at Virtualiastion options and I'm interested to know how other people are getting ...
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    tsky's Avatar
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    ESXi v Citrix XenServer

    I'm currently in the middle of looking at Virtualiastion options and I'm interested to know how other people are getting around management interface issues.

    I'm looking at deploying VMWare ESXi, but from what I've read you have to purchase the management interface on top of the free product to make it useable - am I right? If so, are there any free interfaces? If there aren't - what are people paying for managing systems?

    I've used Citrix Xenserver in industry and the interface was really nice, I believe there's a free version of the hypervisor and management console now too - has anyone deployed this in favour of VMWare?

    thoughts on this issue?
    I don't want to start rolling out demos and real systems over the next few weeks if I'm going to have to shift technologies.
    Just recently left indutry to come back to education so I've had my head in full paid products rather than cut-down versions.... currently reading like mad through vendor documentation!

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    Quote Originally Posted by tsky View Post
    I'm looking at deploying VMWare ESXi, but from what I've read you have to purchase the management interface on top of the free product to make it useable - am I right? If so, are there any free interfaces? If there aren't - what are people paying for managing systems?
    ESXi is usable and manageable as it is. You can manage individual hosts for free using the VMware Infrastructure Client. Here you can add VMs, networks, manage the datastore, snapshots, view consoles, check resource allocation, performance charts, users and permissions.

    You can also use scripts to do backups and quick (not live) migrate to other non managed or non-infrastructre hosts.

    You need Vi3 licences for the hosts and Vcenter Server for cluster services such as HA, DRS, Vmotion, VSMotion, 4way Vsmp and VCB.
    Last edited by Theblacksheep; 16th February 2009 at 03:21 PM.

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    tmcd35's Avatar
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    Xen itself is free

    Welcome to xen.org, home of the Xen hypervisor, the powerful open source industry standard for virtualization.

    But I've never found any good usable managment consoles for free. And this is part of what VirtualIron and Citrix XenServer apart from the free offering I bet.

    As with Xen, VMWare's ESX is available for free ESXi or at cost with more bells and whistles ESX/Virtual Infrastructure. I've done the VMWare VCP training and deployed ESX and must say I like the product a lot.

    However, despite my previous experience with ESX, I'm now seriously looking at M$ Hyper-V which is either a free download or free with Windows 2008 Server.

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    I've downloaded a copy of ESXi ready to test.. I don't need HA on the servers - I'm just going to reboot them if they croak (manually or using watch scripts)
    I'm putting it on a HA SAN underneath and will be scripting copies of systems between physical school sites.

    You can manage individual hosts for free using the VMware Infrastructure Client.
    That's the bit I was concerned about - in a lot of the literature I saw you had to purchase the Infrastructure Client ( VMWare site info ) from VMWare and do it on a per-processor or processing node basis.
    Obviously I don't want to be forking out cash for each processing node just to manage the whole thing.

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    Quote Originally Posted by tsky View Post
    That's the bit I was concerned about - in a lot of the literature I saw you had to purchase the Infrastructure Client ( VMWare site info ) from VMWare and do it on a per-processor or processing node basis.
    Obviously I don't want to be forking out cash for each processing node just to manage the whole thing.
    Infrastructure Client is free, you download it from the hosts IP address when its up. It can run in free mode or you can add licences later if you wish.

    V Infrastructure 3 (host) is per CPU, but you get 2 CPU licences with each one.


    Quote Originally Posted by tmcd35 View Post
    I'm now seriously looking at M$ Hyper-V which is either a free download or free with Windows 2008 Server.
    Several things put me off Hyper-v:

    * No memory overcommit (4gb allocated to a VM takes 4gb from the pool) BIG issue for me and HA.
    * No pagefile consolodation.
    * 2008 Ent or Data needed for some slightly advanced features.
    * It requires SCVMM for advanced management features.
    * It requires 2008R2 and SCVMM for CFS and more than 1 VM per lun.
    * It requires 2008R2 and SCVMM for live migration.
    * It requires SCVMM and SCOM for DRS (like feature).
    * It requires IE7 and other totally unrelated updates.

    * Nic teaming is not native, 3rd party drivers and setup required (*)
    * Only suse 10 linux is supported (and windows back to 2000)
    * No shared ISO storage, it makes a copy for each mounted iso.
    * No USB passthroughs.


    (*) For instance: ProLiant Network Teaming Software must be removed (uninstalled) prior to installing and enabling Hyper-V. There is no known method of uninstalling HP ProLiant Teaming software on machines running Windows Server 2008 Server Core.

    I've not played with Citrix (Xen) much so I cant comment but a few people here use it with little complaint.
    Last edited by Theblacksheep; 16th February 2009 at 06:17 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by tmcd35 View Post
    Xen itself is free
    Can second the recommendation for Xen.

    But I've never found any good usable managment consoles for free.
    I haven't, either - I just never seem to have to time to wade through all the documentation and websites to find something that can just tell me what is up, what resources are being used and what resources are free. At the moment I have my own SSH-based script that produces a simple one-page HTML report, but if anyone can recommend anything better it'd be nice.

    --
    David Hicks

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    But I've never found any good usable managment consoles for free.
    anyone tried this?

    Enomaly : Elastic Computing (Clarity to Cloud Computing): Home

    it supports libvert, so XEN, KVM Quemu work
    It was Sourceforge Project of the Month August last year.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Theblacksheep View Post
    Several things put me off Hyper-v:

    * No memory overcommit (4gb allocated to a VM takes 4gb from the pool) BIG issue for me and HA.
    * No pagefile consolodation.
    * 2008 Ent or Data needed for some slightly advanced features.
    * It requires SCVMM for advanced management features.
    * It requires 2008R2 and SCVMM for CFS and more than 1 VM per lun.
    * It requires 2008R2 and SCVMM for live migration.
    * It requires SCVMM and SCOM for DRS (like feature).
    * It requires IE7 and other totally unrelated updates.

    * Nic teaming is not native, 3rd party drivers and setup required.
    * Only suse 10 linux is supported (and windows back to 2000)
    * No shared ISO storage, it makes a copy for each mounted iso.
    * No USB passthroughs.
    It's funny, but the things that have put you off of Hyper-V are close on the reasons why I'm seriously looking at it over ESX!

    * I never commit more than 1/(no. virtual servers) of the resources available in any given Virtual Server any way - just in case of HA
    * Never released about pagefile - I'd be interested in seeing the performance hit
    * SCVMM requirement is similar to VMWares Virtual Center requirement for advanced featues
    * Does it really require SCVMM for CFS - interesting! I want more than 1 VM per LUN anyway!
    * VMWare require Virtual Centre and licenses for Live Migration
    * Cost of ESX + Virtual Center + Licenses vs Cost of SCVMM
    * Was planning on buying SCVMM anyway
    * Hyper-V free with Windows 2k8 Server.
    * Even with ESX/Xen I'd be buying Windows Datacenter to make sure I have enough licenses for the VM's I might want to run
    * Don't (currently) plan to have any Linux servers
    * Unless there's been an update since v3.5 ESX doesn't support USB pass through either. USB over LAN shared from a desktop is the current solution I believe.

    It boils down to cost -

    Citrix XenServer + Licences + Windows Datacenter vs
    ESX + Virtual Center + Licences + Windows Datacenter vs
    Windows Datacenter + SCVMM

    I think - to get live migration - the MS solution may just be the cheapest.

    But what's really making me look at Hyper-V this time?
    1) I'm not enough on Linux to look seriously at Xen
    2) I've some good existing hardware and I'm not sure it's 100% compatible with ESXi
    3) Hyper-V - Windows - Windows Drivers - I can use any hardware (almost)
    Last edited by tmcd35; 16th February 2009 at 06:09 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by tmcd35 View Post
    * Never released about pagefile - I'd be interested in seeing the performance hit
    * Does it really require SCVMM for CFS - interesting! I want more than 1 VM per LUN anyway!
    * Don't (currently) plan to have any Linux servers
    * Unless there's been an update since v3.5 ESX doesn't support USB pass through either. USB over LAN shared from a desktop is the current solution I believe.

    It boils down to cost -

    I think - to get live migration - the MS solution may just be the cheapest.

    Hyper-V - Windows - Windows Drivers - I can use any hardware (almost)
    Sorry, I thinks its actually 2008R2 for CFS, but a few new advanced features require VMM too.

    ESX usb passthrough for vm desktops linked with view/viewmanager.

    Live migration is with 2008R2 (maybe VMM too), quick migrate for now (can do on esxi or Vi3 w/o vmotion).

    Check if the hardware 3rd party nic team driver works with hyper-v.

    But yeah cost wise, hyper-v is cheaper than a VMware package esp if you plan to get datacenter and SCVMM... This depends on many things though.
    Last edited by Theblacksheep; 16th February 2009 at 06:45 PM.

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    I am considering Virtual Iron this year when we virtualise the network, suprised no one else has mentioned it.

    Has all the features of ESX like vmotion etc but is about half the cost...

    Needs host servers with hardware cpu virtualisation support so using something like a DL380 G4 is not compatible unlike with ESX / ESXi.

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    tmcd35's Avatar
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    @ssiruuk2:

    Virtual Iron is based on Xen. Like all versions of Xen (and Hyper-V) it requires Hardware Virtualisation support in order to run Windows based virtual machines.

    The reason I've never seriously looked at it, and likewise Citrix XenServer, is that Xen is Linux based and my personal Linux admin skills are not strong enough (IMHO) to support this in a production environment.

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    As I've mentioned before, I use XenServer. The management interface is great - you don't need to be a Linux whizz to do 99% of the tasks.

    XenServer Express (the free variant) gives you the full management console but you won't be able to do HA or live migration. I believe that there is also a 4GB limit. Upgrading to Enterprise is a simple case of inserting a license key.

    XenServer is a lot cheaper than ESX with comparable features (especially if you have quad processor hosts ).

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    I realise Virtual iron is based on Xen

    Just thought I'd mention it in case anyone found it useful as it seems like a good option.

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    Quote Originally Posted by tsky View Post
    I'm looking at deploying VMWare ESXi, but from what I've read you have to purchase the management interface on top of the free product to make it useable - am I right? If so, are there any free interfaces? If there aren't - what are people paying for managing systems?
    There are several 3rd party hypervisor management solutions available and the following two have a free version available for download. Check out:- ToutVirtual which works with ESXi/ESX, XenServer, Hyper-V. Veeam has a free solution for ESXi/ESX environments.

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    Quote Originally Posted by CyberNerd View Post
    anyone tried this?
    No, but I really, really intend to. Now that I've got our virtual servers mostly working it's time to sort them out properly so they don't take so long to sort out if there's a power cut or if a switch conks out.

    --
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