Citrix - free and comparable to vmware in most ways. Only bits you need to pay for is the bits you aren't going to need such as multipath IO and the likes.
Hyper-V - "free" in that if you buy 1 windows server enterprise licence you will get 4 windows server guests.
ESX is great but the price tag to go with it makes it pretty hard for most schools to justify.
I think the management interface needed windows because of the company they bought the management software from.
The VMware essentials is too limiting for us and doesn't scale so well (financially). VMWare full feature set is way too expensive for us with servers and VDI.
i reckon you need to decide what kind of network availability you NEED and then work toward it. If you need snapshots and only want a single server (host) then Hyper -v is a good place to start . I wanted to be able to move live VMs around hosts for maintenance and was told that medium availability was fine - until we lost exchange for a day, now its HA all the way!
Amazing how fast teachers become dependent on a reliable network - it was only three years ago it was considered a good day if 3 people had the internet simultaneously..
We are looking into virtualising our main servers, 2 DCs, exchange, SIMS and three others which could run from one virual machine. AT the moment I haven't decided which virtual solution to go for, I'd like high availability, good performance, future proof in case we mode to VDI inthe near future and anything that makes my life easier when people need to access the network and downtime doesn't affect anybody.
Your help and advice would be appreciated and thanks in advance.
Not claiming to be an expert but it sounds like the same route I went down. I began experimenting on an old server with Citrix Xen server but the old server was unstable and kept crashing so I moved to VM to see if that was the cause ( it wasn't) and get some further experience. I found VmWare GUI to be more complicated initially but easier to run and more informative than Citrix which rapidly ran out of options and meant faster resorting to command line - fine if you are comfortable with Linux.
I spent a year looking at it beofre commiting to production and now have 10 w2K8 servers and two linux servers all running on two new physical host servers plus an old server running as a back up DC in another location.
I would suggest that you download the free stuff and start playing . Both Citrix and Vmware ghave new versions and both have a route to desktop virtualisation so pickone and enjoy. I think Citrix full fat is cheaper than VMWare but both will be a significant investment. If you can get away with medium availability then the free versions will be fine - I ran for a year using them as medium is much better than Low availability!
I run sims printer exchange DC Lync sharepoint files WDS xibo and firewall each on their own server and it is nice! New servers and full fat Vmware cost about 10k altogether.
armadillo (19th June 2012)
Thanks for all the replys
Could some one summerise ?
servers are going to be backup DC , Exchange , Sims , Print server , and possibly a remote app server . This is going to be all on one server .
Backups wont be a problem , and can be sorted out in some way after ( seen a few vmware scripts + external backup software)
Am i right in assuming that the software i posted will do ?
So if i was to purchase another server , would the software cover me for both ?
Im a little confused as to what it covers . People on this thread are stating it costs £1000's etc .
So with this Essentials kit at £500 im wondering what it actually covers ?
My essentials bundle was a lot more than £500 so if you really can get it for that price then I would. Alternatively you can try the full version for 6 months for free and then move to the free licence if not sure and by then you will know how and if you want to run it!
For me the critical thing would be to have another host server rather than the full fat Vmware....
If you want to chat about it just PM me and Ill send you a telephone number or if you are in Berkshire you could come and look at our school.
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