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Thin Client and Virtual Machines Thread, ESXi - single server to vm discussion on a very low budget in Technical; Hi all, I look after a few small primary schools that have very small budgets, I am onsite for a ...
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    ESXi - single server to vm discussion on a very low budget

    Hi all,

    I look after a few small primary schools that have very small budgets, I am onsite for a few hours per week and wanted to ask a few VM questions.

    Should I virtualize a single server system that runs everything (DC, Sims AD, and the rest). The schools will not be able to buy iscsi or anything external to the hardware although they do all have 1tb external usb.

    All schools currently have offsite backup each night, which I will continue to use.

    I am thinking that if I virtualize I can do a vmware converter from within the vm machine to take a backup of the server each night onto the usb drives and if any hardware goes down I can drag my test server into the school and use vmware converter to pop the backup back onto my server while i get the schools server fixed.

    Why vm converter to backup? In my tests I have found it much faster than using SSH or veem as it keeps the thin storage as thin and it alows me to access the usb device on the server which is also faster than network backup

    If only primary schools had more cash.

    Should I do this or just leave as is?
    Any other information you can give me would be welcome given my hardware limitaions.

    Thanks

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    danbuntu's Avatar
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    I can't see that virtulising one server is really going to give you any benefits - you'll just introduce another point of failure.

    If you're set on running vmware convertor to do your backups why not just virtulise the physical server every night and then restore it tot he backup server if needed?

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    jamesfed's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by danbuntu View Post
    I can't see that virtulising one server is really going to give you any benefits - you'll just introduce another point of failure.

    If you're set on running vmware convertor to do your backups why not just virtulise the physical server every night and then restore it tot he backup server if needed?
    Same thinking here - it’s a good idea to have disaster recovery but if your offsite backups are image/bare metal based anyway you shouldn't have a reason to use any VMs at all.
    If speed is a serious issue then you might want to look at any optimisations for your existing backup technology - on that note which Server OS are you running and what is your current application that you use to back up?

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    DrCheese's Avatar
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    It will be beneficial in that you'll be able to run vmware snapshots before you do anything major to the server and then revert to that snapshot if something goes wrong, it takes all of 30 seconds to snapshot or restore a server. I feel a lot safer running major updates now knowing that an easy to use safety net exists. Heck, I consider this reason alone to virtualise a server
    Also if the physical hardware dies it's incredibly easy to just restore the vmx's to a totally different piece of hardware and carry on without a shed load of work.

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    Thanks for all the posts.

    All my servers are 2003 std due to county council running these schools up until April when I took over and not had a chance to do anything about it. The backup is county contolled file level type backup to some off site location, I cant give you the name as its locked down and just called backup.

    I am going to have a big think on this but might just continue to do vmware conversions before any major updates and if something goes down use this time to install and setup esxi.

    Cheers

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