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Thin Client and Virtual Machines Thread, VM's where to start in Technical; Currently we don't use any virtualization but as we 'should' soon be receiving funds to overhaul our network and so ...
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    cookie_monster's Avatar
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    VM's where to start

    Currently we don't use any virtualization but as we 'should' soon be receiving funds to overhaul our network and so virtualization is something that we're thinking about.

    I'm not quite sure where to start or which products to look at. We currently have some Citrix kit so i might take a look at XenServer but of course VMWare and Hyper-V are also options.

    As always budget is a factor so the lower cost the better. What are peoples opinions of the different products on offer, anyone used more than one? Also is anyone using the free versions on their networks and what are the drawbacks of the free versions?

    Our current setup has about 7 servers all of them run server 2003 and a couple of them are Citrix boxes. We also have a Sun Storage 7110 SAN device that i imagine can be used for storing virtual disks.

    What other details should i be taking into consideration while thinking about this direction.

    Any thoughts appreciated.

    Cheers.

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    dhicks's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cookie_monster View Post
    Also is anyone using the free versions on their networks
    Yes, all our servers run Xen on top of CentOS. Installation consisted of ticking "virtualisation" on the install CD's options menu.

    and what are the drawbacks of the free versions?
    No one believes you when you tell them you don't actually have to spend stacks of time and/or money setting up a virtualised system.

    --
    David Hicks

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    Butuz's Avatar
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    Was going to be going VMWare but after Citrix XEN was made free - its impossible to ignore.

    So going XEN here - will describe in more detail for you after I've finished the housework

    Butuz

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    cookie_monster's Avatar
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    No one believes you when you tell them you don't actually have to spend stacks of time and/or money setting up a virtualised system
    I've just become used to non GPL 'free' versions of products missing certain features that you can't do without. I might take a look at CentOS. Are you using this to virtualize windows servers?


    I'll be interested to hear about Citrix XEN as well cheers Butuz

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    Theblacksheep's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cookie_monster View Post
    what are the drawbacks of the free versions?
    Hyper-v (free/non-free):
    - Requires ENT or DATA licences for advanced features
    - Needs SCVMM (not free) for cluster features.
    - Poor P2V (not restricted to free version)
    - No live migration
    - No native nic teaming
    - No memory overcommit
    - No page consolidation
    - Isos create copied instances
    - Limited linux OS support
    - Limited linux features supprot
    - No cluster file system (one VM per lun)
    - Snapshots not deleted until VMs reboot
    - No DRS
    - Large install size
    - Requres normal windows updates even for features that are not used (ie7)
    - No VM restart priority on crash



    ESXi-free
    - Requires VCenter server for cluster management
    - Requires Vcenter agent on host for cluster management
    - HA requires Vi3 standard licence
    - Live migrate requires Vi3 Enterprise licence
    - DRS requires Vi3 Enterprise licence


    Citrix Server Enterprise-Free
    - No HA
    - No DRS
    - No Page sharing
    - No 802.1Q trunking



    If you have the cash for hardware and software: VMware Enterpise. Hands down.

    If your on a budget Xen-server-enterpsie with sen-server-enterprise-essentials.
    Last edited by Theblacksheep; 4th April 2009 at 04:02 PM.

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    matt40k's Avatar
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    Xen has a lot better performance then VMware. However, most of the Xen development was done by Redhat, who, lets face it are going to drop (if they haven't already) since Citrix took over.

    Similiar thing happened with MySQL\Redhat.

    I think Sun Virtualbox looks interesting... hands up who uses there software currently?
    (Note they make OpenOffice, MySQL, Java...)

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    Theblacksheep's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by matt40k View Post
    Xen has a lot better performance then VMware.
    For VDI its a good 20% faster at the moment.

    Not seen anything for servers which suggest it has better performance.

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    matt40k's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Theblacksheep View Post
    For VDI its a good 20% faster at the moment.

    Not seen anything for servers which suggest it has better performance.
    Might want to look out side of the VMware family then

    Plus if you use the extra to get better hardware. Only time I've seen VMware win is when you get VMware approved hardware (ESX ?) and lets face it, you're talk SAN, fibre channel and major money.

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    Theblacksheep's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by matt40k View Post
    Only time I've seen VMware win is when you get VMware approved hardware
    Something generally works better when it uses the proper approved hardware

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    matt40k's Avatar
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    ... and I don't like the idea of pay for a little sticker saying it's approved. I'll pay for proper hardware that's fully supported and save my money for extra RAM

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    Quote Originally Posted by matt40k View Post
    ... save my money for extra RAM
    Well you can never have too much ram!

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    torledo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Theblacksheep View Post
    For VDI its a good 20% faster at the moment.

    Not seen anything for servers which suggest it has better performance.
    that vdi boost is assuming your using xendesktop WITH xenserver, which kind of means you have to buy into citrix ? ofcourse that entails signifcant licensing costs if your not already a xenapp shop,

    vmware can also be used with xendesktop instead of xenserver for vdi [useful if you have an existing vmware infrastructure] i just don't know whether it's as well documented [by citrix atleast] but playing nice with vmware or being able to utilize vmware in a vdi solution is essential as it's a defacto industry standard for virtualization of servers where people do have money to spend and need all those enterprise features, and are consolidating down from dozens or hundreds of servers. there's a lot of money invested in vmware infrastructure and training. And even if you don't have a vmware investment, vmware is still a compelling choice for a greenfield site because of it's market leadership.

    my own personal view is that there are more options and there is going to be more development with vmware on the vdi side of things, not only vmware's own product but integration with third parties. there's a lot going on with stuff like teradici that could give vmware a competitive edge by 2010. Sure citrix got some cool stuff with the acquisition of ardence and ofcourse they have a headstart with ICA but the fact that vmware are working to integrate features so that technologies from third parties can integrate and utilise vmware on the server side makes it a potentially more compelling offering than xenserver in my view.

    expect vmware to be competing against citrix/xen in regards to embedded client hypervisors....another potential big thing for 2010.

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    torledo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by matt40k View Post
    Xen has a lot better performance then VMware. However, most of the Xen development was done by Redhat, who, lets face it are going to drop (if they haven't already) since Citrix took over.

    Similiar thing happened with MySQL\Redhat.

    I think Sun Virtualbox looks interesting... hands up who uses there software currently?
    (Note they make OpenOffice, MySQL, Java...)
    care to substantiate that first comment ? seems a bit of a generalisation.

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    Theblacksheep's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by torledo View Post
    my own personal view is that there are more options and there is going to be more development with vmware on the vdi side of things, not only vmware's own product but integration with third parties. there's a lot going on with stuff like teradici that could give vmware a competitive edge by 2010.

    expect vmware to be competing against citrix/xen in regards to embedded client hypervisors....another potential big thing for 2010.
    It's going to be interesting to see how view is developed and how that links in with its client side hypervisor, enabling powerfull 'offline' VMs.

    NxTops Client Side Hypervisor is meant to be released nowish (they did speak about this being free for 5 clients too), theres a race with the companies to get this out this year.... although VT on cpu requirement will limit its use on most PCs for now.
    Last edited by Theblacksheep; 4th April 2009 at 05:48 PM.

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    dhicks's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cookie_monster View Post
    Are you using this to virtualize windows servers?
    Yes, we have our domain controller, print server and applications server all running as Windows VMs under Xen. We licensed two machines for Windows Server 2008 Enterprise edition, so we can run four copies of Windows on one machine and mirror them to the other machine. We've had a few problems with the application server crashing, but I get the impression that's more to do with the applications involved than the fact that it's running as a VM - the DC and print servers have been running fine for months on end.

    This is, of course, server-side virtualisation only, for virtual desktops delivered to desktop machines you're probably looking at something you have to pay for. It's a good point about the GPL version of Xen in RedHat / CentOS / other distributions being replaced by something else. However, all server-orientated Linux distributions will still be shipping with an integrated VM system of some kind, so the general advice is still download your favourite distribution, tick "install VM system" during install, done.

    --
    David Hicks
    Last edited by dhicks; 4th April 2009 at 07:21 PM.

  16. Thanks to dhicks from:

    torledo (4th April 2009)

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