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Thin Client and Virtual Machines Thread, Help On Agreeing On A Server Spec For My VM Host in Technical; I need to implement a new VM infrastructure and unsure of what spec server to go for? I dont want ...
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    Help On Agreeing On A Server Spec For My VM Host

    I need to implement a new VM infrastructure and unsure of what spec server to go for? I dont want to underspend and have problems, but i also don't want to over spend and find i've paid for something that we only needed a fraction of.

    My plan is for 1 host, running 3 VM's. A Domain Controller with DHCP and DNS roles. A File/Print server, serving 3 printers and approx 20 users' files (which is nothing extreme). An app server with Anti-virus for all 35 users, WSUS and WDS. There are currently 35 members of staff but i'd like to put something in place that could handle 150 or be easy enough to add to in order to accommodate this figure easily in the future. So for that can anyone suggest what i should be looking for? Would i be right in thinking i could actually get away with about 4GB RAM for each VM, so 12GB and 4GB for the host OS, so total of 16GB or would that be pushing it?

    Because im only intending on having 20 users storing their files locally, could i do away with the idea of going for a NAS and just use the internal hard drives on the server? I dont think we'd need more than about 1.5TB of space... currently. Any other downside to not using attached storage at all?

    I then want a standalone machine to act as second Domain Controller, just so people can log in if the main host goes down but then i also will want to run DPM or Veeam from this 2nd DC. So i think i'd have to buy something in for that too as the only other piece of hardware i have is a Dell PowerEdge 1650 which i think would struggle with any kind of backup software.

    With regard to licensing do i then also need to buy a client per device CAL for all 35 staff? if we hire more staff do i have to keep on purchasing individual CALS?? (this always confused me and never quite got my head around it!

    Any help to any of the questions will be greatly appreciated!

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    sonofsanta's Avatar
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    The host OS will only need 2Gb of RAM. Chuck plenty in any ways - it's pretty cheap at the moment and it will definitely help. No reason not to go 24Gb or 32Gb

    I would say a dual socket quad core would be fine as well - 8 total cores, 2 for each VM and 2 for the host. The only VM there that will ever have much load will be the app server, I'd imagine; DC's and File Servers are pretty low levels of load, usually.

    If the server chassis has room for enough RAIDed disks, as well, there's no reason not to use internal storage, make sure you have 15k disks for your VMs etc.

    DPM Hardware Requirements: Hardware Requirements

    As to licensing... it confuses me as well. So I'll not attempt to guess!

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    In my experience, chuck as much RAM in there as possible... My VM hosts (two of them, but soon to be three) have got 64GB each. When I first had my VMware setup I couldn't possibly have envisaged that I'd need all that RAM... but I do (thanks to the increased memory usage of Exchange 2010, plus a couple of SQL boxes) and now I'm in a situation where I need extra capacity to cope with the failover requirements. Plus... RAM is cheap!

    Don't forget that if you're going to be using any HA tools in the future (and adding another host) then you'll need to make sure that you've got enough capacity in your remaining hosts, should one fail, to ensure that all of your key VMs have enough resources available to carry on running.

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    zag
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    Yeh put 32gb of ram in there and thats all you need really.

    Local storage will be fine, and a decent xeon quad core will not be too stressed.

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    I think VMware licensing is per CPU/Core so be careful with that. And I agree with the above especially if you are going to be running Exchange - stick as much RAM in there as possible!!!!!!! And as much storage as you can get!

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    ok thanks for the help so far, given the size and demands i think 32GB sounds like that should be more than enough. Should i be looking at 2 quad core CPU's even if i've only got 3 VM's running to begin with as i imagine that is something i could add at a later date and get away with 1 to begin with?

    Oh and NICS, how many should i be looking for here do you think?
    Last edited by AndyCan; 17th May 2012 at 05:19 PM.

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    If you are using local storage rather than a SAN then 4 NIC's would be fine, most servers come with 4 inbuilt anyway now. I would certainly get 2 processors to start with so they are properly matched. RAM is cheap at the moment, so the more the merrier and don't skimp so I would regard 32Gb as the minimum.

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    ok thanks, Xeons Vs Opterons, any clear benefits or just come down to price and preference?

    For my 2nd DC/Backup host - I need something to act as a DC and run a backup app, so i assume nothing too meaty, storage will be the key factor here. What would people suggest? Lots of local storage then for off site copy to USB hard drives or Cloud backup?

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    Xeons all the way, Intel really have the edge with their processors at the moment, shame really.
    Your cheapest option is plenty of local storage, for your main vm server try to go with half decent sas drives, for your dc/backup sata will be fine.
    Cloud backup gets very expensive when you ramp up the size of data, so some sort of external hdd's would do the job nicely. Just make sure you encrypt the data if you're taking it offsite.

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    ok brilliant thanks. all taken onboard! I assume my Backup program can factor in a USB backup and encryption in that case? and 1 last thing. What kind of RAID configuration do you think i should be running on these servers?

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    What server's are they going on?

    Raid 5/6 Would be my preferred if had enough disks.

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    Raid 5/6 is usually fine unless you have something like an sql database that gets heavily hammered then you might want to look at raid 10.
    Check with the backup software vendor on encryption and usb support, not all backup software supports these or some do support them but require an extra licensed module. I don't know what the data protection laws are like in Canada, but in the UK the fines if you lost an unencrypted drive with confidential customer data on it are far higher than the cost of the extra licenses!

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    So RAID 5 or 6 for my VM host disks, what should i be looking at for my backup host, where all my daily, weekly and monthly backups will be stored?

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    Quote Originally Posted by AndyCan View Post
    So RAID 5 or 6 for my VM host disks, what should i be looking at for my backup host, where all my daily, weekly and monthly backups will be stored?
    Raid 5 again - raid 6 is pointless as it just give extra parity and would essentially lose you another disk.

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    cpjitservices's Avatar
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    The new AMD Turion series CPu's look like good server chips.... we have 2 servers here with the Dual Core version and they seem pretty solid!

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