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Thin Client and Virtual Machines Thread, Server Virtualisation Project Proposal in Technical; VMWare ESXi here, using Sun S7000 storage. Dukes 7410 is the top of the range S7000 box, not that I'm ...
  1. #16

    teejay's Avatar
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    VMWare ESXi here, using Sun S7000 storage. Dukes 7410 is the top of the range S7000 box, not that I'm jealous or anything lol. We have a 7310, the next model down, which we use for all our network shares, roaming profiles and redirected My Docs etc and it handles the load very, very easily (1400 student secondary) and is a lot cheaper than the 7410. We run the virtualisation storage on 2x 7110's which are the base models of the S7000 series, again have absolutely no problems with their performance and in fact if we'd realised how good they perform would've integrated the virtualisation onto the 7310 tbh.

  2. #17
    Duke's Avatar
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    We definitely would have gone for a 7310 had it been around at the time, don't worry!

    A 7310 would handle what we needed fine, but we bought our 7410 a while ago and the 7310 wasn't even on the roadmap at the time. I wanted something properly scalable (the budget was there so I figured make the most of it) so I felt the 7410 would suit us better than a 7110 or 7210 looking at the long-term.

    Of course, I'm now equally jealous of the 6-core 7410 boxes that I missed out on...

    7410 hardware update, and analyzing the HyperTransport : Brendan Gregg

    Chris

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    To be fair the arguement that you have to pay extra to licence additional features on many of the other SANS's out there isnt quite as valid as it was a year or two ago. The Dell Equallogic & HP Lefthand P4000 series SAN's are extremely good and have pretty much all the features licenced out the box. I'd get some demo's on a number of solutions and see what best suits your needs as they each have key selling points, the SUN offers and array of functionality and protocol support, Equallogic argueably has a very easy to use front end, Lefthand have the hightly scalable network raid concept etc.

  4. #19

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    Hiya,

    Just another one to add to your list of hypervisor stuff if Linux KVM. This does require an good knowledge of Linux to get into but is still in early stages. We currently are running 14 VM's on one box in a production enviroment using this running on a DL380 G5 dual quad xeon and 64gb ram connected to a fibre channel Hp san (doesnt even use the full amount provided could add more servers onto it but don't need them!). we also have another host which (probly more realistic to alot of people on here) is the exactly the same server apart from 12gb ram and will quite happily run 6 vm's (3 file servers with aprox 150 users each, 1 dc and sims and fog) with plenty to play with spare.

    Toby

  5. #20

    SYNACK's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 36Degrees View Post
    The 2 virtual servers are much faster than the physical ones they replaced and as they were already licenced there were no costs involved, as there would have been for Hyper-V, etc.
    What were the costs, Hyper-V server is free just like ESXi.

    Hyper-V does have a legacy network adapter option that is supported by 2003 out of the box and you can use the default ones if you install the hyper-v client extensions in the VM.

  6. #21

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    Its free to a point, hyper v really benifits from having misocroft systems center and esxi free will only licence one physical processor and is feature limited.

  7. #22

    teejay's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tallwood_6 View Post
    Its free to a point, hyper v really benifits from having misocroft systems center and esxi free will only licence one physical processor and is feature limited.
    Erm, nope, Esxi free licence is not limited to one processor, you select the number of physical processors when downloading the licence and software. The limitation is 4 way virtual SMP. The main bits missing are high availability and backup. HA is not really needed in schools, if you have a hardware failure you can just mount the virtual server on another server and start it, so you have about 1-2 minutes downtime. Backup can be done using various scripts available.

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    Quote Originally Posted by teejay View Post
    Erm, nope, Esxi free licence is not limited to one processor, you select the number of physical processors when downloading the licence and software. The limitation is 4 way virtual SMP. The main bits missing are high availability and backup. HA is not really needed in schools, if you have a hardware failure you can just mount the virtual server on another server and start it, so you have about 1-2 minutes downtime. Backup can be done using various scripts available.
    I stand corrected. Depending on the edition you buy into though your also missing update manager, hot add, fault tolerance, vmotion, storage vmotion and vcenter support which are all important features in my book if your spending large amounts of money on a SAN and new hosts and hope to fully leverage the hardware. I appreciate this is a cost many may not be able to justify though.

  9. #24

    SYNACK's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tallwood_6 View Post
    I stand corrected. Depending on the edition you buy into though your also missing update manager, hot add, fault tolerance, vmotion, storage vmotion and vcenter support which are all important features in my book if your spending large amounts of money on a SAN and new hosts and hope to fully leverage the hardware. I appreciate this is a cost many may not be able to justify though.
    A lot of this you do get free with Hyper-V, live migration for 1-2 second failover, cluster support for multiple host boxes and a shared filesystem. It comes down to what kind of VM'ed OSs you are going to run and which product you think will fit your deployment best.

  10. #25

    teejay's Avatar
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    Well, we have been fully server virtualised since last September and partially server virtualised for over 2 years and I can honestly say that I've never required any of the extra features of ESX over ESXi. Yes if I was running 50+ servers in a 24/7/365 environment then I would need them, but that's not the environment you have in a school.
    We tested Hyper-V, Xen, ESXi and for us ESXi was by far the best, but you really need to sit down and test these products yourself and do some P2V testing of your current servers in a test environment to see which works best for you. Don't forget to try P2V on some of those linux servers etc if you have any :-)

  11. #26
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    ESX = ESXi

    ESX has NO* extra features over ESXi.

    ESX will most likely not exist in the next major version, with ESXi being the only choice. *They are the same hypervisor, ESX just has a full linux console for management and agents where ESXi does not, this allows the only minor feature difference, serial port passthrough one ESX.

    There is a *free* version of ESXi, but not ESX but they both have the same costs and licensing for their features.

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    The thing is... If you're really planning on virtualising heavily, what do you want to get out of it? I know several people are running the (free) ESXi for production use and are happy with it, but you're getting no automatic failover or redundancy. Pretty much our number one reason for virtualising is to maintain a high level of availability and improve disaster recovery. If you just have a couple of (free) ESXi boxes then all your eggs are in one basket and if that physical server falls over you've lost half your network with no way of bringing it back up automatically. On the flip side, if you have the paid-for version of ESX/ESXi and a cluster of hosts, VMware HA will bring VMs back up elsewhere if hardware fails, FT will do it with no downtime at all (some limitations though) and vMotion will let you migrate live hosts if you know you need to take hardware down.

    I'm not saying ESXi (free) can't be a valid solution, and I guess it's still easier to bring a VM back up manually if it's stored on a SAN than having to replace and restore a physical server, but would those of you in schools who 'depend' on IT feel comfortable having a single server failure take down 10 different servers and you have to be around to manually bring it all back up?

    Just a thought...
    Chris

  13. #28

    teejay's Avatar
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    Yep, it's not difficult to do Duke, just a few clicks :-) There are 3 of us here who can do it, plus we can get in remotely if required.
    When I was looking at this, I reviewed any incidents in the last 5 years where we'd had a server outage and not a single one would've been helped by using HA in the virtualisation software.

  14. Thanks to teejay from:

    Duke (17th May 2010)

  15. #29
    Duke's Avatar
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    Cool, I know you've got a really good setup over there so I figured you'd have it all managed!

    Quote Originally Posted by teejay View Post
    I reviewed any incidents in the last 5 years where we'd had a server outage and not a single one would've been helped by using HA in the virtualisation software.
    Good way of looking at it, it's very tempting to get into the idea of 'ooh, but I could have this, and it would do that, and it'd solve this potential problem' but that can quickly get quite expensive...

  16. #30
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    Personally I'm with Duke on this one, I've not even considered using the free version for production as I see one of the major virtualisation bonuses being the automatic failover and suchlike.

    HA \ FT is one I always get the wrong way round, running the 2nd copy in the background of the VM probably won't help in most cases as it's the app that crashes rather than the OS but automatic failover to another host should the current one pop it's clogs is vital imo.

    Auto patching sounds lovely and live migration again rather important. What gets me as always is the ripoff price for ongoing "support" which often seems to outgrow the initial purchase price Already have enough ongoing contracts without another one going in there!

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