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Thin Client and Virtual Machines Thread, Vmware Hosts compatibility with new generation of Kit in Technical; Hi I have a question regarding the future expansion of our VMware infrastrucuture at our school. We currently have 2 ...
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    Vmware Hosts compatibility with new generation of Kit

    Hi I have a question regarding the future expansion of our VMware infrastrucuture at our school.

    We currently have 2 ESXi Hosts (HP DL380G5) which have embedded ESXi on the server. These are connected to NAS storage for their data stores.

    The backend will be improved and this will happen by replacing the NAS with a SAN, upgrade our esxi hosts to full ESX server rather than ESXi and introduce a 3rd host.

    Question I have is currently we have 2 HP DL380G5 hosts, I am undecided whether I purchase an identical host as the other 2 so adding a 3rd DL380G5 or could I go with the latest HP DL380 G6 server which works out more cost effective as I want to ensure there is no compatibility issues when using the advanced feautures of VMware such as DRS and Vmotion.

    We currently have the VSphere 4 standard agreement but will look at upgrading this to either Advanced or enterprise plus.

    Does anyone know what issues can happen when using a slight variant of host, If I introduced a 3rd host which has a faster processor and slight different architecture than the other 2. Could I run into problems when using features like Vmotion or can vmotion work fine with different variants of ESX hosts? I am getting mixed information from the suppliers I am talking to about this and I am struggling to find any VMware specific whitepapers on this subject.

    From other peoples experiences would I be better advised going for an identical 3rd host as the other 2 to ensure there are no issues with the advanced features of VMware?

    Any advice on this or access to VMware specific whitepapers would be most appreciated.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ranj View Post
    Does anyone know what issues can happen when using a slight variant of host, If I introduced a 3rd host which has a faster processor and slight different architecture than the other 2. Could I run into problems when using features like Vmotion or can vmotion work fine with different variants of ESX hosts? I am getting mixed information from the suppliers I am talking to about this and I am struggling to find any VMware specific whitepapers on this subject.

    From other peoples experiences would I be better advised going for an identical 3rd host as the other 2 to ensure there are no issues with the advanced features of VMware?
    The main problem with VMware host compatable problems are the CPUs. You've really got to match Intel with Intel and AMD with AMD. Ontop of that you then have CPU features that have to be set the same on hosts for vMotion between two hosts in order to work, hyperthreading (off), no execute etc all have to be set the same on all hosts. Instruction sets between CPUs also have to match. You also have to keep in mind what relaxations of requirements works and what is supported, plus how that affects your SNS contract.

    http://communities.vmware.com/servle...patibility.pdf

    vMotion is the cornerstone to DRS, so you need to be 100% sure.
    vMotion is advanced level and DRS is ENT+ on vSphere. ENT+ =
    Last edited by Theblacksheep; 5th July 2009 at 11:48 AM.

  3. 2 Thanks to Theblacksheep:

    meastaugh1 (5th July 2009), ranj (5th July 2009)

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    Theblacksheep is correct. You must have a match regarding vendor CPU.. so match intel with intel or AMD with AMD. Otherwise you cannot VMotion between hosts. Its not necesary to have a match between CPU.. for example you can have a AMD 8216 on one box and a AMD8214 on another one. For this to work you must enable EVC.
    Make sure to check the compatibility matrix to use with EVC.

    hxxp://kb.vmware.com/selfservice/microsites/search.do?language=en_US&cmd=displayKC&externalId= 1003212

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    Just to try and help clear the confusion (or cause more). What is important is the features supported by the CPU. If you are going to use vMotion both CPU's must support the exact same feature set. If you have two intel processors and one supports SSE4 and the other doesn't then you can't use vMotion, for instance. (note SSE4 is not a requirement for vMotion, just an example of a processor feature).

    The reason for this is simple - if a program is using a feature of one processor (say running an SSE4 instruction) when it vMotioned, it still needs to be able to finish running it's instructions.

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