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Thin Client and Virtual Machines Thread, Best way forward - Virtulisation in Technical; Originally Posted by fiza Thats a spanner in the works!! To SAN or not to SAN. That is the question!!! ...
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    mrbios's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fiza View Post
    Thats a spanner in the works!! To SAN or not to SAN. That is the question!!!
    If I can bring the VMs back online after a hardware failure as quickly as possible then SAN or not I dont mind.
    I don't know how hyper-v works in this respect but i know with vmware at least if a host dies, you could literally use anything that'll run the hypervisor to bring those machines back online or bring them back online on another host instantly (of which your physical boxes would be powerful enough to run it all on one without issue) whereas if you're hosting them locally you're relying on backups.....now obviously if your SAN dies you again need to restore from backup, but if you have two SANs and multiple hosts you can restore those backups to the other san or host and have them back up and running instantly again......thus the benefit of multiple SANs.

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    twin--turbo's Avatar
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    If you want Free HA, then the XEN hypervisor on another platform ( Citrix Xen is just a rehash of the opensource XEN hypervisor) such as SUSE can be made to do HA. Not looked at it for a long time though.

    You can even build a VM to be your "test" storage server .

    Rob

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    twin--turbo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mrbios View Post
    I don't know how hyper-v works in this respect but i know with vmware at least if a host dies, you could literally use anything that'll run the hypervisor to bring those machines back online or bring them back online on another host instantly (of which your physical boxes would be powerful enough to run it all on one without issue) whereas if you're hosting them locally you're relying on backups.....now obviously if your SAN dies you again need to restore from backup, but if you have two SANs and multiple hosts you can restore those backups to the other san or host and have them back up and running instantly again......thus the benefit of multiple SANs.
    Openfiler ( opensource san ) can do HA, not tied it but if somone wants to demonstrate to senior MGMT then it would be cool to show them the full resiliance a bit of will get them..


    We have 2 HP Lefthand Sans to "Hopefully" rely on.

    TT

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    Quote Originally Posted by twin--turbo View Post
    Does not have to be a SAN, a NAS will do for a small implementation so long as it runs a supported protocol for the Hypervisor storage subsystem ( NFS/ISCSI )

    The best way forward, is to start.

    Do you have an old server with say 8GB of ram adn Dual 64Bit Xeons with Hardware Hypervisor support.. If so put on ESXi and have a play.

    I have 2 old Dell PE2800's that do it nicely for fun. they can be got for absolute peanuts on ebay ( Like they don't often sell at all!! )

    Build a windows box on it and a linux box on it and some thing else.

    Our old PE2900III's with 24G of ram and two 4 core Xeons were each happily runing 7-8 Linux/Netware/windws servers each.

    Rob
    We do have old servers but these are the ones running the Network at the moment and that I want to virtualise.

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    Hey I am not meaning to put spanners in the works there is a lot of good advice around, and I am not saying "DO NOT EVER USE A SAN", just letting you know that SANS(s) are not the be all and end all for either uptime or performance, I've been there and done that and when it came to replacing our SANS, I just simply decided not to replace them at all.

    I had two SANS, one of them failed catastophically within 3 years. Deep down, I couldn't then trust the other one either even though it did stay up until I decomissioned it. I've had tens of physical hosts over the years and i've only ever lost one outright. Thats not a good ratio for the SANS and I hear about problems with SANS and NAS's in other schools in my area all the time.

    If you can justify spending th 's going for the full on 99.9999% uptime then by all means go for it. I couldnt justify it based on the fact that my budgets are being cut year on year and some years I have not even been able to have a technician. When we couldn't afford a 15k technician I could not justify spending 15k on SANS.

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    @AButters - (Sorry to thread hijack) What manufacturer was your SAN? (Tier 1? Sun, LeftHand, NetAPP, EMC?)

    I'm intrigued by those Infortrend boxes... they're mega-cheap!

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    Tier 1. That's all your gonna get out of me sorry

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    Fair enough!

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    Quote Originally Posted by AButters View Post
    Hey I am not meaning to put spanners in the works there is a lot of good advice around, and I am not saying "DO NOT EVER USE A SAN", just letting you know that SANS(s) are not the be all and end all for either uptime or performance, I've been there and done that and when it came to replacing our SANS, I just simply decided not to replace them at all.

    I had two SANS, one of them failed catastophically within 3 years. Deep down, I couldn't then trust the other one either even though it did stay up until I decomissioned it. I've had tens of physical hosts over the years and i've only ever lost one outright. Thats not a good ratio for the SANS and I hear about problems with SANS and NAS's in other schools in my area all the time.

    If you can justify spending th 's going for the full on 99.9999% uptime then by all means go for it. I couldnt justify it based on the fact that my budgets are being cut year on year and some years I have not even been able to have a technician. When we couldn't afford a 15k technician I could not justify spending 15k on SANS.
    Ahhh i can relate to the "catastrophe = deep down can never trust again" position (never touching a motherboard made by MSI again put it that way!... nearly set fire to an IT room!) Though i think one day you'll reconsider as the benefits are there, you've just been a bit unlucky

    Quote Originally Posted by pantscat View Post
    I'm intrigued by those Infortrend boxes... they're mega-cheap!
    Anything you want to know? We've had 4 + 1 JBOD in the time i've been here (ALL still running, 1 about to be decommissioned for being 7 years old)
    Last edited by mrbios; 21st June 2012 at 04:14 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by fiza View Post
    We do have old servers but these are the ones running the Network at the moment and that I want to virtualise.
    Go on ebay and spend 100 on a Poweredge 2800/2850 with 8-10GB of ram and a couple of 143GB disks. You may even get 2 servers and more power for your 100.

    Build a test environment and don't waste thousands on stuff untill your sure your happy with what's going on.

    Theres other costs that will mount up, L3 switch, UPS, Backup device.

    Rob

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    Dell PowerEdge 1850 1U server, ideal terminal/web server | eBay

    Bit of extra ram for 10 and you haev a smart little virtual host for 2-3 servers or more if your frugal on the specs

    TT

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    Quote Originally Posted by twin--turbo View Post
    Build a test environment and don't waste thousands on stuff untill your sure your happy with what's going on.
    This +1!

    Really i think going by what you want or rather what you're not 100% sure you want you need to go back to step 1....as you've kind of started a few steps ahead of yourself

    Sit down analyse what exactly you want to achieve from all this, analsyse what the various ways you can achieve that by comparing different products and their features, then move on to what hardware you want and how you're going to implement your hardware, proper planning is key to implementing a good virtualised infrastructure

    And don't forget, optimal configuration is 90% of the task, fast/big fancy hardware will only get you so far for so long.
    Last edited by mrbios; 21st June 2012 at 04:46 PM.

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    Depends on the hypervisor you want to use as hyper-v won't work on the PE2800 or PE1850 plus a load others.

    Ben

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    A recent 64Bit Desktop ( anything in the last 4 years or so ) will also most likly support Various Hypervisors, I have run Vmware and Citrix Xen on a Dell Optiplex 740 , Lenovo Athalon X2 64 ( on an ITX board USFF pC ).

    Rob

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    Interesting discussions here, and some of you guys have an IT budget that would put a banking corporation to shame.
    I'm in kinda same position really. I do appreciate the benefits of virtualisation but I'm of the attitude that it needs to be done properly if you are going to bung all your servers into a SAN, that is DOUBLE up on everything for redundancy. I've recently priced up a very nice 3 host and SAN with fibre switch, and even utilising my existing equipment the whole project was approaching 30k+ which very hard to justify to Bursar when to him it looks like 4 boxes and a shed load of cables lol. So back to what Abutters mentioned using local hosts and good backups...this might be better solution for some. It's also setting up realistic expectations with SLAs with the SMTs, although in truth all this will go out of the window when they can't host a class due to 1 hour downtime.

    So I'm on a crossroad as well .... Does one choose a well designed VM+ SAN ? Local storage with VMs ? Go back to old school, single servers with good backups? Maybe looking at important servers in the school(fileservers,exchange,sql) and clustering those?
    Last edited by MrWu; 21st June 2012 at 06:57 PM.

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