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Thin Client and Virtual Machines Thread, Virtualistion questions in Technical; I had planned to look into the options for virtualising our server next year, but now the server is failing ...
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    sparkeh's Avatar
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    Virtualistion questions

    I had planned to look into the options for virtualising our server next year, but now the server is failing (without being able to be fixed) and I need to bring it forward somewhat. However without putting the research in I am feeling very under-prepared so some advice would be much appreciated.

    The new plan is to get a new server, run a hypervisor, virtualise the old server (Win 2003) and run it on the new. Then I will get 2008 up and running and migrate to that.

    First up, which hypervisor? I have looked at Hyper-v, ESX and XenServer.

    As I understand it, Hyper-v needs 2008 to be installed, which ties up a licence which I would otherwise use to run our new server in the future, but then I believe that it uses 2008's drivers so could offer greater compatibility. XenServer seems to offer a lot more for free though. What are other people running and why did you choose it?

    Next is how to virtualise the current server. If I went with ESX then I could use VMWare vCenter Converter. How do I virtualise for the other offerings?

    I am sure there are more questions to come

    Any help is very much appreciated.

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    tmcd35's Avatar
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    Which Hypervisor? There are more answers to this question than their are hypervisors. It's almost a Mac vs PC debate....

    If you're buying a Windows Server license anyway then Hyper-V is as good as anything - comes free with Windows. If your hardware is compatible then ESXi is a very good and stable system - highly recommended, just check your hardware first. Then there is Xen. Not used it myself. I alway get the feeling it's more Linuxy, others will tell you that you'll never see the Linux host with good management software. Who knows, its an option!

    Personally I'm tredding down the Hyper-V route purley on the basis that it comes with Windows as standard!

    Microsoft have a very good physical-to-vhd convertor that will convert live running systems. Just used it for the first time today. IMHO it works better then VMWare Convertor (which I found hit and miss in the past).

    Again don't know what Xen's offering in but there pretty much as to be a freebie equivalant.

    In the past I've fallen back on make Ghost/Clonezilla images of the physical hard drive and then imaging the virtual machine in the normal way.

    Beware with all physical-virtual solution you will have to do a repair install of Windows to get it working again. Also try to avoid doing physical-virtual on a DC unless you have to, it can cause problems (though I have successfully done this in the past).

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    sparkeh (27th October 2009)

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    sparkeh's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sparkeh View Post
    Next is how to virtualise the current server. If I went with ESX then I could use VMWare vCenter Converter. How do I virtualise for the
    Ok i have found XenConvert now which looks good.

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    sparkeh's Avatar
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    Thanks
    Yeah its a DC, I didn't realise that meant extra issues.

    My first thought was to go with Hyper-v but then I find it quite annoying that I need to use a licence to install 2008 just to run the hypervisor, ideally I will run 2008 virtually in the future meaning another licence.

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    From my experience, ESXi v4 works a dream.
    Have tried Citrix Xenserver and although it has more features in the free version I didn't get on with it that well as there are some limitations which for us were a show stopper. The main problems were network link aggregation limited to 2 nics, which wasn't so good for connecting to our SAN, the conversion software for P2V just didn't work with most of our servers, the graphics drivers aren't very good, plus a complete pain to run a linux which isn't one of their limited selection of supported versions.
    There are quite a few people who have run XenServer on this forum who are very happy with it, so it may just be our unique circumstances.
    Haven't played with Hyper-V, specs just doesn't do what we need it to do.

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    sparkeh (27th October 2009)

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    teejay's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sparkeh View Post
    Thanks
    Yeah its a DC, I didn't realise that meant extra issues.

    My first thought was to go with Hyper-v but then I find it quite annoying that I need to use a licence to install 2008 just to run the hypervisor, ideally I will run 2008 virtually in the future meaning another licence.
    VMWare converts DC's no problem, have done a few over summer and had no problems at all.

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    sparkeh (27th October 2009)

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    sparkeh's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by teejay View Post
    plus a complete pain to run a linux which isn't one of their limited selection of supported versions.
    Hmm yeah good point, I would like to move FOG onto the server as well. Although I do see that there is a download to add linux guest support.

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    teejay's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sparkeh View Post
    Ok i have found XenConvert now which looks good.
    Apart from -
    You can only convert one hdd at a time and doesn't allow you to queue up conversion jobs.
    Tried for 5 days to get server to convert, using the VMWare tools I spent a day playing and then queued up 9 servers over a weekend and came in Monday morning with them all done.
    Last edited by teejay; 27th October 2009 at 12:18 PM.

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    teejay's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sparkeh View Post
    Hmm yeah good point, I would like to move FOG onto the server as well. Although I do see that there is a download to add linux guest support.
    Yes, but you need Xen support compiled into the kernel before you convert. I gave up with trying to get our Ubuntu servers to work with this. A fresh install of Debian using the XenServer linux guest support stuff did work well though.

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    sparkeh's Avatar
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    With Hyper-v, I know that you have to have 2008 installed, can you launch Hyper-v on its own, so 2008 isn't using up resources, or does it have to be running?

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    ahuxham's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sparkeh View Post
    With Hyper-v, I know that you have to have 2008 installed, can you launch Hyper-v on its own, so 2008 isn't using up resources, or does it have to be running?
    Well

    Did you know Windows Server 2008 Hyper-V edition is free? More a bare-metal Hypervisor in itself, using less resources, you configure the server via Hyper-V powershell extensions. Very good, and it being free as well is very attractive.

    ESXi 4 is a dream as well, however vSphere to manage/control is not cheap.

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    sparkeh (27th October 2009)

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    Quote Originally Posted by ahuxham View Post
    Well

    Did you know Windows Server 2008 Hyper-V edition is free? More a bare-metal Hypervisor in itself, using less resources, you configure the server via Hyper-V powershell extensions. Very good, and it being free as well is very attractive.
    Right...ok now I am confused again.

    Free? Doesn't it come with your purchase of 2008?
    I have been reading the MS documentation on hyper-v and the installation instructions tell you that you can install the 'server core' to have a minimal installation to run hyper-v or through a full server installation. Therefore I assumed that you had to have 2008 running.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ahuxham View Post
    Did you know Windows Server 2008 Hyper-V edition is free? More a bare-metal Hypervisor in itself, using less resources, you configure the server via Hyper-V powershell extensions. Very good, and it being free as well is very attractive.
    Ahhhh! I see now, theres a standalone version!

    Thanks I get it now

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    tmcd35's Avatar
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    Yes there is a free stand-alone(ish) version of Hyper-V. And yes it also comes with 2008 server as standard.

    One thing to do is check your Windows Licences

    2008r2 standard = 1 physical server + 1VM server
    2008r2 enterprise = 1 physical server + 4VM servers
    2008r2 datacenter = 1 physical server + unlimited VM servers.

    Datacenter is licensed per physical processor in the server (in most cases you need 2 copies per server). Even so Datacenter is a real steel for education. I just paid £180 per copy!

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    sparkeh: linky?



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