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Thin Client and Virtual Machines Thread, Which Virtualization Solution? in Technical; I was previously a network manager but have recently moved to a small business and overseeing a major network upgrade. ...
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    Which Virtualization Solution?

    I was previously a network manager but have recently moved to a small business and overseeing a major network upgrade. I effectively have a clean slate to work with and wanted some advice from people who have gone down the virtualization route already. Just before i left i proposed a visualization design but that was a while ago, encorporating equipment that i obviously dont have now. The company i'm working for has 35 users at the moment and i want to spec something up that would accommodate about 100 with only small upgrades.

    All we want to do is have users log on, have shared drives, home drives. access to 5 printers in the office. Email access and then the systems we use are web based and hosted off site. We have a phone system in place which works as it is but could do with an upgrade at a later date. I'm thinking for something this simple i could get away with VMWare ESXi or Hyper-V, both are free right and the expensive addon's i probably wouldnt need? the most critical aspect of the business is internet access and phones, both are on seperate lines.

    So i'm looking for a visualization suggestion, can anyone throw some ideas out there of what i should be looking for specifically?

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    glennda's Avatar
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    TBH you could probably get away with a Single Host with some decent disks for front end - Install ESXI and Small Business Server which will give you the Email/File/AD/Print Services in one place and then get a decent Nas large nas device to backup to. SBS will give you up to 75 users but if you want to install seperately now you can which would give access to more then 75 clients.

    What are you doing for Client Desktops? VDI so they can access from anywhere and easy management? Or Fat Clients?

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    my initial idea was a host with a few vm's installed with roles split up like DC, Exchange, File, Print, Apps and a Backup Svr with a standalone DC. I think i want to give SBS a wide berth because i'd want to future proof more as the company is growing quickly. Desktops are fine, have plenty of decent desktops and laptops.

    It's more the virtualization i cant decide on. Hyper-V would mean i could use DPM which would all be free whereas VMWare ESXi is free but then i'd have to buy backup software to work with it?

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    glennda's Avatar
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    Don't think DPM is free - You could split the roles across multiple hosts but you would be wasting HDD space with multiple OS disks. The most likely failure would be software in which case a service would crash rather then the whole server. The less servers you have the less backup licenses you would require etc etc. And realisticly a physical DC is nice for failover but I used to run an entire site off 2 dc's which was over 1000 devices so 2 DC's for 35 users seems overkill.

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    a second dc is more for if the VM host dies. i was under the impression it was best practice to keep a dc standalone simply to prevent tombstoning and keep some kind of functionablity alive if the hardware of the main server dies altogether like a motherboard failure

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    glennda's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AndyCan View Post
    a second dc is more for if the VM host dies. i was under the impression it was best practice to keep a dc standalone simply to prevent tombstoning and keep some kind of functionablity alive if the hardware of the main server dies altogether like a motherboard failure
    Yes a second DC is good for larger enviroments IMHO SBS is suited to what you want with everything built in but it restricts you to a single DC.

    The main for having a physical dc in hyper-v enviroments is that of the hosts are clustered you cant start them without the vm dc and you cant start the vm etc

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    Sandman's Avatar
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    I'd choose ESXi as the only hypervisor of choice. True you will need to get external backup software and a few other bits and bobs but it will be more robust and scaleable.

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    Get yourself some nice beefy servers and my advice would be to keep costs down don't go the VMWare route.

    Look at KVM on Linux, It's free! Look at oVirt for the management side (oVirt is a fork off of Red Hat Virtualization Management) so it's good! It doesnt take alot of setting up either to be honest!

    It seems to be that KVM performs alot better than VMWare too.

    Try and get as much storage also as you can, we have gone fully KVM with oVirt here and havent looked back since!

    Red Hat Virtualization for servers, all you need to use is CentOS or Fedora.
    Last edited by Dos_Box; 3rd May 2012 at 08:31 AM.

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    I'd go VMware for virtualisation and Veeam for backups. It's a good idea to split off roles into separate VMs like you have suggested, I'd always have 2 DCs regardless of the size of the organisation.

    We have Veeam installed on a physical rack server with direct fiber connection to the SAN (which is our VM datastore). You can mount backups to get them online in minutes.

    I think the VMware licensing is calculated per processor rather than per host.

    VMware is expensive, but I think it's worth the cost as the support is excellent. I wouldn't like to rely on open source software and forums for support should you run into major problems.
    Last edited by Gardinho; 2nd May 2012 at 02:47 PM.

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    i guess i need to see what i can do with VMware ESXi as i doubt there will be the budget to go all out on VMware to be honest. Veeam i'll have a look into, only heard of it by name.

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    Quote Originally Posted by AndyCan View Post
    i guess i need to see what i can do with VMware ESXi as i doubt there will be the budget to go all out on VMware to be honest. Veeam i'll have a look into, only heard of it by name.
    If you have no budget for esx then you should really have a look at kvm, it's either free or circa 350 per socket if you want support.

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    Quote Originally Posted by CyberNerd View Post
    If you have no budget for esx then you should really have a look at kvm, it's either free or circa 350 per socket if you want support.
    My linux knowledge is next to non-existent tho so im not sure if i'd be comfortable going that route

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    Quote Originally Posted by AndyCan View Post
    My linux knowledge is next to non-existent tho so im not sure if i'd be comfortable going that route
    rule out ESX and Citrix as well, they are both *nix based

    seriously though, it's all web based admin

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    VMWare VSphere Essentials isn't too expensive and gives you more than you'll need covering up to 3 physical servers.

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    Whichever you choose I wouldn't have less than 2 hosts... bad enough if a single server dies but with all your eggs in one basket it seems a rather risky strategy.

    VMWare + Veeam is a nice combo and will serve you well (no pun intended!)

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