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Thin Client and Virtual Machines Thread, Server Virtualisation Project Proposal in Technical; I'm just about to start writing up a proposal for our server replacement programme next year (need to get in ...
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    gshaw's Avatar
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    Server Virtualisation Project Proposal

    I'm just about to start writing up a proposal for our server replacement programme next year (need to get in there early to plan for the funds!) and the main focus of it will be on virtualisation.

    Just wondering if anyone has some of the intro text that they'd be willing to share as I guess we've all wrote about the same things regarding power savings, DR and so on so seems silly to re-invent the wheel?

    I guess the following issues also need to come into play...

    - VMWare vs Hyper-V (licensing costs vs "free")
    - OS upgrade to Server 2008
    - storage, SAN consolidation and justifying the cost that goes with it, will it perform?
    - changes to backup solution, might need to change how we do things to suit VMs, Acronis looks better than Backup Exec at the moment but there might be more options?

    Any other advice for what helped get you the go-ahead for a project and any pitfalls to watch out for would be much appreciated

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    Duke's Avatar
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    Heh, do you want the long version or the short version? I get kinda verbose sometimes...

    Let me modify the docs a little to remove some references to our site and then I'll send you them. I should probably email you them rather than post them here for everyone, can you PM me your email address?

    Cheers,
    Chris

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    TechMonkey (14th May 2010)

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    nicholab's Avatar
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    VMWare vs Hyper-V (licensing costs vs "free") is and as clear cut as this to give you all the features you need with Hyper-V you may need to pay for extras form Citrix such as Hyper-V essentials.

    Also VMware have also change the licensing cost so you pay for the management engine.

    Also if you get a SAN that does file serving direct this can be quite useful.

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    TechMonkey's Avatar
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    Woah, I was just making a start on this as well & thinking of posting some questions!

    Just reading up on Hyper-V & trying to think of a way to set up a test install

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    Hyper-V is a bit limiting in some ways, had massive issues with network cards on 2003 server installs... it seems to like 2008 better, so I guess it's a little bit limiting in terms of OS hosted.

    I'm sure you already know this but I didn't rtfm and lost my horny with Hyper-V when it didn't support the NICs from 2003, didn't want to allocate it's own physical NIC

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    Duke's Avatar
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    Having played extensively with both Hyper-V, ESX/ESXi and Xen, I seriously consider you guys give ESXi a try as a priority. I found Xen the easiest to get into, VMware the most powerful and flexible tool, and Hyper-V comparatively a nightmare. I'm not saying it's a bad product and I'm not saying it's not worth using, but I found VMware to be so much better designed and more mature. ESXi is free, and if you want all the full features to play with you can get a full ESX trial with vCenter.

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    gshaw's Avatar
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    Already one step ahead there We have a test network with Core2Quad CPUs that were running HyperV and recently I reinstalled one of the boxes with ESXi... very impressed so far. I'm thinking of taking one of our Dual Core \ Dual CPU Opteron servers and putting ESXi on over the summer to handle low-load server apps e.g. Blackberry Express, print server and so on, which could then be easily migrated to the full ESX system if we go down that route.

    I want rid of Windows File Servers end of, had enough of updates, AV and so on with our DL380 NAS over the years so much prefer the idea of the SAN doing the same job with less overhead. In a way this kinda shows why I'm leaning towards VMware as why do the same issue again with managing Windows as a virtualisation base when ESX can do the same from a 16MB flash chip built into a G6 server?!

    The SAN is the area that gives me headaches, so far I've got EMC, NetApp and HP\Lefthand in the options list... each gonna be pricy and then iSCSI or fiber (probably the former due to price)

    Might have to change the backup system as well, is anyone using Acronis out there?

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    Why no Sun S7000 on your list of SANs?

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    Duke's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gshaw View Post
    [...] I'm leaning towards VMware as why do the same issue again with managing Windows as a virtualisation base when ESX can do the same from a 16MB flash chip built into a G6 server?!
    Hehe, exactly.

    Quote Originally Posted by nicholab View Post
    Why no Sun S7000 on your list of SANs?
    +100 on this one. We've got a 7410 and are very happy. If you can get it at the right price (Oracle are messing around with the educational price at the moment) then I'd very, very strongly recommend you look at the S7000 as your storage solution. It'll get rid of all your Windows file servers by doing CIFS, it'll be your virtualisation platform through NFS, and it'll offer low-latency block-level disk access through iSCSI. Management is great, and if you get the budget one day you can cluster the heads and get another for replication and a DR site.

    Chris

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    Sun 7110 here with 2 Xenserver hosts attached and running various VMs working extremely well for the amount of time we have to spend on it as we are also running a proof of concept on our CC4 new network which is currently at phase 3 (application building and testing) webman has been outstanding in this remit (big pat on the back for him) and my other part time technician Tallan has also been working well to take up the slack and allow myself and webman the time to crack on with the job at hand.

    All in all been a very fruitfull couple of months

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    We had a couple of old 'servers' (one was just a PC with Server 2003 on) that started getting a little temperamental. Consolodating into one server would have been a potential nightmare due to the apps they were running so I bought an ML110 G6 and put VMWare ESXi 4 on it. It only has a SATA drive but for around £700 I get a server with 8GB RAM, 2TB HDD and a 5 Year NBD OS warranty.

    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. I have a couple more servers that don't run anything massively intensive also on ageing physical servers so I am going to migrate those too at some point.

    Oh, almost forgot - I also have a Dell OptiPlex 745 I bought second-hand on eBay that currently has ESXi on plus a multitude of virtual machines for testing and development purposes, both personal and work related!
    Last edited by 36Degrees; 14th May 2010 at 12:29 PM.

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    gshaw's Avatar
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    Have to admit Sun has never been mentioned by any of our suppliers or the numerous phone calls coming in though I did get some info at BETT, would be interesting to see how their prices compare for a Sun SAN \ server "kit" compared to the same from HP etc.

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    These are ballpark figures, and also based on Sun's 'Edu-Promo' pricing that's currently on hold, but the NetApp quote I had for what we needed (we already had some NetApp kit) came to £120k, and obviously if we wanted any additional protocols that weren't covered in that we'd have to buy them separately. The Sun stuff came in at about £37.5k and included all protocols and support.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Duke View Post
    These are ballpark figures, and also based on Sun's 'Edu-Promo' pricing that's currently on hold, but the NetApp quote I had for what we needed (we already had some NetApp kit) came to £120k, and obviously if we wanted any additional protocols that weren't covered in that we'd have to buy them separately. The Sun stuff came in at about £37.5k and included all protocols and support.
    If your netapp pricing came in like that I can't wait to see ours in a few months time once we tender for our new storage system

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    Quote Originally Posted by Soulfish View Post
    If your netapp pricing came in like that I can't wait to see ours in a few months time once we tender for our new storage system
    This is going back nearly a couple of years now, but it's still not cheap. The NetApp stuff is top-tier kit, right alongside EMC, but it comes at a price that I don't think many schools can meet. Companies will try to push a FAS2020 on to you and it's just not a good enough product in many cases. The CPUs are underpowered and it won't scale at all, whereas for the same money can can get stuff that will. Add into that the way the price the licensing (compared to Sun's 'you buy the hardware, you get it all') and the quotes quickly get nasty.



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