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Thin Client and Virtual Machines Thread, Virtual Server solutions in Technical; Right poeple here's the crack... What we're thinking of doing is to virtualise a couple of our old servers onto ...
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    DAZZD88's Avatar
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    Virtual Server solutions

    Right poeple here's the crack...

    What we're thinking of doing is to virtualise a couple of our old servers onto a newer box we have (HP Proliant DL380 G5). However we want to have a bit of a practise with this and use a text box to trial the whole virtualisation thing. So far we I've tried MS Hyper-V, VMware ESXi and at the point of writing I'm embarking on Trying Citrix XenServer (free edition).

    ESXi looks like the easiest to manage and work with due to the VMware GO web based interface. Everything seemed relatively imple except that the only box we have available to test on (Dell Optiplex 380) had an incompatible NIC. Game over I thought until I found a spare Dlink NIC...still game over.

    Onto Hyper-V. I initially decided against this due to my pet hate of MS not giving us a true dedicated interface but rather a MMC snap-in. Yet again the onboard NIC wouldn't play ball and even trying to install the driver using pnputil it failed. I later found out that the Broadcom drivers don't like Hyper-V server even though they are fine in Windows 7. So popped the Dlink card in and installed the drivers and hey presto! Then went to create a VM from my Win7 box and it basically hung when trying to create the virtual hard disk.

    So now XenServer....Dlink card in and all seems good so far.


    My question is, should I faff about keep trying to get a trial box up and running or just jump in? Normally I'd like to trial things, as I am at the moment but these Virtual servers seem to pretty much always want specific hardware or specs and we just don't have a spare box that meets the requirements.

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    DMcCoy's Avatar
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    HP NC110T network card is worth looking at. Supported by all 3. 1Gb PCI-E card. Cheap for testing as they are under £30. It's really a rebranded intel.

    A trial box is a good idea, need to test things like graceful shutdown during power failure etc.

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    DAZZD88 (23rd June 2010)

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    DAZZD88's Avatar
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    Anyone got any opinions on the different systems XenServer, Hyper-V and ESXi? So far XenServer seems to be kicking butt. XenConvert is doing a P2V conversion as we speak so now I just need to wait and see. From the initial impression it seems a very similar system to ESXi except rather than have a web interface it's an installable program.

    Thanks for the help DMcCoy, I think our HP boxes may well already have those in but might see if I can squeeze some money so I can trial ESXi on the box I have at the moment.

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    DAZZD88's Avatar
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    Right, ESXi installed and things appeared to be fine. However, on our DL380G5 we have two disks as RAID1 and some as RAID5. I installed ESXi onto the RAID1 drive with the idea of using the 400+GB RAID5 drive as storage for the VMs. Unfortunately ESXi doesnt see the RAID5 drive, or any other for that matter. Is there some way to allow me to use the RAID5 drive for storage?

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    webman's Avatar
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    We're using XenServer on Dell servers that have on-board Broadcom NICs and they work fine. The free edition of XenServer provides more features than the free edition of VMWare, from what I understand.

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    Quote Originally Posted by webman View Post
    We're using XenServer on Dell servers that have on-board Broadcom NICs and they work fine. The free edition of XenServer provides more features than the free edition of VMWare, from what I understand.
    110% correct That's why @Ric_; and myself were like go for XenServer over your shiny VMware

    I use XenServer on HP Servers with on-board HP NICs (Broadcom) and some HP Add-on NICs

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    If your talking about the free versions then Xen deffo has the edge over ESXi in terms of features. Main benefits of XEN include more than 8vcpu's per virtual server, and the ability to manage multiple xen hosts from one console. They're big benefits.

    I went with ESXi in the end though as it was the most mature / stable platform, much less of an unknown quantity (hardly anyone was using Xen at the time) and Xen's converter at the time was useless (didnt convert any of my test servers and workstations wheras vmware converted them all 100%).

    I also discounted Hyper V as it was brand new at the time and very immature with little or no support and no converter.

    So basically I sacrificed spangly features for solid ease of use and reliability. (also as a side benefit both RM the LEA use Vmware and not Xen so it makes things easier again).

    Butuz

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    If money were no object, I'd use VMware.
    If I have to go free / cheaper I'd use Xen over ESXi because you get more before you need to start paying (live motion included for free is the big draw for me).

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