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Thin Client and Virtual Machines Thread, Server Virtualisation advice in Technical; Originally Posted by teejay As I've said above, you may want to consider a unified storage device. We have consolidated ...
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    Quote Originally Posted by teejay View Post
    As I've said above, you may want to consider a unified storage device.
    We have consolidated 8 file servers onto one unified storage box which directly hosts the files and we get much better performance than the 8 files servers combined. You then use your virtualised server for network services, DC's and Apps.
    Virtualising your file servers will work, but it doesn't cure the bottleneck problem of Windows being a bit rubbish and slow as a file server.
    teejay - I havn't discounted your advice, just pondering other possiblilities while I wait for a quote.

    zag - Are the R300's RAID 1,5 SAS? How much storage did you get for 900. I've looked at DPM seems interesting and good for price. Do you use anything like SCE for management or just the hyper-v console?

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    Nope, standard 500gb hard disks in them, I see no point in hard disk redundancy with virtualisation, its so easy to back up and restore. I use the 4th server as a live redundant backup anyway so in the event of a failure would simply restore the VM's to that machine. Obviously granularly backup the data as well.

    I use Hyper-V console on windows 2008 R2, it really is very good and simple to administer.

    DPM 2010 is very good and easy to use in a visualised scenario, they all work pretty well together and its nice to have a fully Microsoft supported way of doing things finally.
    Last edited by zag; 10th June 2010 at 01:31 PM.

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    Do you virtualise your file server? 500gb seems a bit small to fit everything in, even if shares were spread across servers.

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    zag
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    No I keep separate machines for the Domain controllers, File server(Raid5) and profile server(SSD drive) for speed.

    Think I will keep it that way as well since its a nice balance.

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    Quote Originally Posted by zag View Post
    I've done this without a SAN and seems to work fine.

    Bought 4 Dell R300 servers with 16gb of ram, 900 quid each.

    Installed Hyper V R2 and virtualized a load of servers including sharepoint 2010, sims, anti virus, terminal server for our boarders and our Oliver library server. Works very well and I keep one of the Dell R300's on hand for disaster recovery.

    I also use DPM 2010 to back them up and it seems to work well.

    The disaster recovery options are amazing and I sleep much better at night now
    Thats actually a pretty good way of doing it, I know of one very large public org who have ditched the HA stuff for their app servers and have moved to doing this using ESXi, but on a scale of a couple of hundred servers! They found it gives them a more resilient system than HA and SANS and is more cost effective. They also moved their file storage onto a NAS cluster.

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    I'm not sure i'd be completely happy with this approach, the idea of a SAN is to provide cost effective storage growth which your simply not getting with local server storage, not to mention the time it may take to restore a failed host VM's vs how quickly you can be up and running with a SAN.

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    Just thought Id chip in as you mentioned the Dell Md3000i. We have virtualised about 20 machines onto our MD3000i across two disc groups one being made up of 15k SAS in Raid 10 and the other being large SATA discs in Raid 5. Im also using R710s using Vmware ESXi (licensed). Performance has been good considering it is an entry level SAN. Im running domain controllers, exchange, SQL / Sims, our VLE and a bunch of other servers for things like print services and some terminal servers from it..

    Using Veeam for backup, have also heard good things about vranger but never used it.

    I would definately give the MD3000i the thumbs up if you are considering it Out of interest what did you get quoted for it with those discs?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tallwood_6 View Post
    I'm not sure i'd be completely happy with this approach, the idea of a SAN is to provide cost effective storage growth which your simply not getting with local server storage, not to mention the time it may take to restore a failed host VM's vs how quickly you can be up and running with a SAN.
    How about if software like datacore was used to replicate the data across the servers?

    Quote Originally Posted by ssiruuk2 View Post
    I would definately give the MD3000i the thumbs up if you are considering it Out of interest what did you get quoted for it with those discs?
    The quote was 5,000 for the MD3000i with 5 SATA 1Tb drives and 3yr prosupport 4hr

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    Quote Originally Posted by HCC View Post
    How about if software like datacore was used to replicate the data across the servers?
    You would require an awful lot of internal storage to replicate the data across all your hosts, and you are still not getting the scalability as you would with a proper SAN.

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    Quote Originally Posted by HCC View Post
    How about if software like datacore was used to replicate the data across the servers?


    The quote was 5,000 for the MD3000i with 5 SATA 1Tb drives and 3yr prosupport 4hr
    I got mine for 3,500 (was a cancelled order) for the array and 5 300gb 15k SAS disks.

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    I'm currently in a very similar situation, hoping to virtualise most of our 7 servers this summer. So far i'm working on needing a budget of around 15k but that will mean using one of our current Dell servers and upping the RAM, buying a new Dell R410 and a Sun Storage 7110 4.2TB.

    Would then use ESXi free and away we go. Although haven't convinced the people in charge of money yet but i think once they see the electric savings they'll be sold. I have been told when it comes to SANs the more discs the better speed you will get, thats why i'm not building one with just 3/4 huge discs in.

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    Don't mean to hijack thread but would like some advice on virtulisation plans we currently have and didn't want to start a new list.

    The current plan is to have 2 new DCs running on physical servers, our SIMS on a physical server as it is relatively new, an old server converted into a cheap backup box with large SATA drives in RAID5.

    We are then considering 2 options for virtualisation.
    Option 1
    Purchasing a new host for XenServer with the spec of 2 x Xeon X5650 2.66GHz 6 core, 24GB RAM and then 3 small SAS drives in RAID5.
    Converting one of our current DCs (1 x Xeon 3.2 GHz 2 core, 2GB RAM) into a OpenFiler SAN consisting of 6 x 600GB 15K SAS2 drives in RAID5 to create 3TB of storage
    OR
    Option 2
    Pooling 4 of our current servers which are all running 1 x Xeon 3.2 GHz 2 core, 2GB RAM (which would be upgraded to 8) and again all using 3 small SAS drives in RAID5.
    Using this option would also allow us to increase the storage in the above SAN due this option costing less.
    Purchasing a server with 1 x Xeon 2.0GHz 4 core and 2GB RAM and putting 8 x 600GB 15K SAS2 drives in RAID5 to create ~4TB of storage

    We are planning on virtualising approximately 15 servers with this solution.

    Opinions on these setups appreciated!
    Last edited by Silverman; 18th June 2010 at 11:48 AM.

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    I'd be tempted to suggest Option 3 -

    Upgrade 2 existing servers to 8Gb and purchase 1 new 24Gb server. Why do you want RAID 5 in the host servers? I'd go for 2x 74Gb (maybe 150Gb?) 10k SAS drives in RAID-1 personally. Only needed for the host OS after all.

    Also I'd be tempted at using more 450Gb drives rather than less 600Gb drives. Say 12x450Gb in RAID-50? for the SAN.

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    Thanks for the reply.

    The RAID5 on host servers was purely because we already have the hard drives in place for this and thought why not have the redundancy there (these are 10K 146GB drives).

    The RAID50 does look like a better option but what improvements would 12x450 have over 8x600 as this would increase costs, it is an option but would the performance increase be worth it?

    With the host servers having 2 existing servers and 1 new 24GB server we would not be able to pool them due to the different processor chips (as far as I am aware), so what benefits would this have?
    Ideally I would like to purchase 2 of the 24GB servers in a pool but having 4 old servers with no roles seems too wasteful. We are looking at spending around 8k, with my option 1 coming in at around 7k, option 2 at around 5k and your option 3 at around 10k.

    Not sure still, I like the idea of having a 4 server pool am wary of the lifetime of these oldish (3-4y years) servers. This option 1 is however 3k under budget so there must be a better option available.

    Edit: Another thing I am considering is to add another processor to each of the 4 old servers so that they each have 2x3.2 Xeon 2 core and changing the 8GB RAM to 12GB as this would give them abit more longivity, keep the pooling ability and I would still have the money for a large SAN.
    Last edited by Silverman; 18th June 2010 at 01:31 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Silverman View Post
    Don't mean to hijack thread but would like some advice on virtulisation plans we currently have and didn't want to start a new list.

    The current plan is to have 2 new DCs running on physical servers, our SIMS on a physical server as it is relatively new, an old server converted into a cheap backup box with large SATA drives in RAID5.

    We are then considering 2 options for virtualisation.
    Option 1
    Purchasing a new host for XenServer with the spec of 2 x Xeon X5650 2.66GHz 6 core, 24GB RAM and then 3 small SAS drives in RAID5.
    Converting one of our current DCs (1 x Xeon 3.2 GHz 2 core, 2GB RAM) into a OpenFiler SAN consisting of 6 x 600GB 15K SAS2 drives in RAID5 to create 3TB of storage
    OR
    Option 2
    Pooling 4 of our current servers which are all running 1 x Xeon 3.2 GHz 2 core, 2GB RAM (which would be upgraded to 8) and again all using 3 small SAS drives in RAID5.
    Using this option would also allow us to increase the storage in the above SAN due this option costing less.
    Purchasing a server with 1 x Xeon 2.0GHz 4 core and 2GB RAM and putting 8 x 600GB 15K SAS2 drives in RAID5 to create ~4TB of storage

    We are planning on virtualising approximately 15 servers with this solution.

    Opinions on these setups appreciated!
    I'd avoid the openfiler SAN for iSCSI. I was running OF on 4 SANs. Was fine until I had it running under high loads and then would freeze up (which is bad news for VMWare).

    I've installed nexenta on my SANs now - seems stable under high loads.
    However the RAID card on one of my SANs broke (sigh).

    It's worth having redundant everything on a SAN if you are going to have several important servers running from it.
    Also worth noting in VMWare that unstable SAN can cause the vHosts to become unresponsive and possibly freeze up virtual servers that aren't even on that SAN.
    (Again from experience...)

    Backups are very much more valuable.

    I'm running MS DPM and VMWare Data Recovery.

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