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Thin Client and Virtual Machines Thread, Best way forward - Virtulisation in Technical; Ok - So I have inherited an ageing server environment (7 servers) with the newest server being a HP DL380 ...
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    fiza's Avatar
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    Best way forward - Virtulisation

    Ok - So I have inherited an ageing server environment (7 servers) with the newest server being a HP DL380 G5. There are a couple of HP MSA60 Drive arrays (with about 12Tb between them).
    I need to upgrade the Servers so am looking virtualisation.
    The current Servers :
    DC
    DC/DNS/DHCP
    Curriculum Apps/Student+Staff File Server connected to MSA60 drive arrays
    Sophos/Ghost/SUS/Clickview
    SIMS
    Intranet/SAGE 200
    Oliver Library/Insight/CREO Licence Server

    I would like to reduce the number of servers I need to buy to replace these as money is limited.

    I have already purchased a Dell R510 (2 x 6C processors and 64GB RAM) and a smaller R310 to be used as a physical DC.
    Would it be best to buy another R510 as a failover VM host?

    Not had much experience with virtualisation apart from test environments and small deployments. Would very much appreciated some guidance.

    How would people recommend I proceed? I will be using Hyper-V.

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    fiza's Avatar
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    *bump*

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    cpjitservices's Avatar
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    well my views would be use the Dell with 64GB RAM as your Virtual Server, if it's your first big Virtual deployment go with something like ESXi (if budget permits) if your an experienced Linux user though I'd look at Xen\KVM for virtualization.

    I'd migrate all of those servers on to the new virtual server all as separate VM's, I'd then buy another server which will act as your failover, not sure how this works in ESXi as I dont use VMWare. You can get a free tool from VMWware that will convert any physical machine to a VM, you then import that into your server and away you go boot it up make sure network settings are correct etc etc! I'd use those drive arrays for your storage and 12 TB should be more than enough.

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    mrbios's Avatar
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    Any reason you're going for 6 core processors? You're adding a shed load of money on to the cost of a server for 2 x 6 core over 2 x 4 core, considering nothing in your list is high on CPU requirements.

    The last time i got a server quote it was nearly a grand more for 2 x 6 core over the exact same server with 4 core processors, money which is better spent on the next server. Depending on what sort of growth and size you're expecting your schools requirements to go i can't recommend vmware enoughm while other products can achieve most of the same or similar things you'd be hard pressed to find any of them as efficient and feature packed, obviously if you're only ever likely to need 1-2 well specced servers and no need the feature though then by all means stick wit hthe free alternative
    Last edited by mrbios; 20th June 2012 at 01:00 PM.

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    fiza's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cpjitservices View Post
    well my views would be use the Dell with 64GB RAM as your Virtual Server, if it's your first big Virtual deployment go with something like ESXi (if budget permits) if your an experienced Linux user though I'd look at Xen\KVM for virtualization.
    There is no money for ESXi. I need to utilise Hyper-V purely as we will have 2008 R2 Datacenter.
    I know I can use Disk2vhd to do the P2V.
    So if I buy an identical server to the R510 I already have I should be able to have a virtual system with some redundancy?

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    fiza's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mrbios View Post
    Any reason you're going for 6 core processors? You're adding a shed load of money on to the cost of a server for 2 x 6 core over 2 x 4 core, considering nothing in your list is high on CPU requirements.
    I had a limited budget to get 2 servers. One to be used as a DC and one to start on the virtualisation route. I tried to get the best I could with the money I had. Once the servers are bought the school do not want to spend anymore for quite a while so I had to make sure I got the best I could with the money I had. I now have some money to buy another the server to match the R510 I already have. I want to make it as future proof as I can. As I said I have not delved into virtualisation before so this is all new.

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    sonofsanta's Avatar
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    Do the failover thing, it's not that difficult with Hyper-V Failover Clustering to be honest. I'm using SCVMM as well which should be fairly cheap on a school agreement - £30 or something - and I have that running on the physical DC here.

    You do need a SAN to do failover clustering, though, so factor that in - iSCSI would be cheapest, so get plenty of NICs in your servers.

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    mrbios's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fiza View Post
    I had a limited budget to get 2 servers. One to be used as a DC and one to start on the virtualisation route. I tried to get the best I could with the money I had. Once the servers are bought the school do not want to spend anymore for quite a while so I had to make sure I got the best I could with the money I had. I now have some money to buy another the server to match the R510 I already have. I want to make it as future proof as I can. As I said I have not delved into virtualisation before so this is all new.
    Surprising how little CPU power is used once everything is left running (see attached) that list includes an exchange server, terminal server, multiple domain controllers, file server, print server, SQL server, web servers, proxy servers etc etc during school hours. Of course that's spread over 4 hosts each with 64gb ram available to them, but i can run all 30 odd VMs off one host quite happily without stressing out the 2 x 4 core CPUs in those. Disk IOPs are the biggest issue with lots of VM but im guessing you're going to have your virtual machines stored locally rather than on any network storage device for just two hosts?

    Also I think it's naive of your school to think they can chuck lots of money at servers now and think "the more we spend now the longer it will last", you'd be better off giving the school the understanding that a server environment needs to be maintained and evolved as the needs of a school progress, rather than chucking away nearly a grand on CPUs you honestly don't need and are very likely not to ever need during the servers lifespan.
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    fiza's Avatar
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    @mrbios So you recommend local storage for any VMs I need? How could I then have the failover with the other server?

    @sonofsanta - How many NICs would I need and for what purpose?

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    mrbios's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fiza View Post
    @mrbios So you recommend local storage for any VMs I need? How could I then have the failover with the other server?
    Not recommending, was more assuming that's what you'd be using for a small deployment, not everyone is willing to go spending money on SANs for just two hosts (though both routes are acceptable within your schools requirements...a lot of differing factors to consider really)

    If you're going for failover then by all means host your VMs on a san, in which case think IOPs

    How many users/computers you talking here by the way? Is the infrastructure liable to grow significantly in coming years?
    Last edited by mrbios; 20th June 2012 at 01:37 PM.

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    nicholab's Avatar
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    You could use switched SAS storage LSi do a switch to use with those MSA 60

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    Quote Originally Posted by mrbios View Post
    Not recommending, was more assuming that's what you'd be using for a small deployment, not everyone is willing to go spending money on SANs for just two hosts (though both routes are acceptable within your schools requirements...a lot of differing factors to consider really)

    If you're going for failover then by all means host your VMs on a san, in which case think IOPs

    How many users/computers you talking here by the way? Is the infrastructure liable to grow significantly in coming years?
    What I want is to be able to recover from hardware failure. If all my servers are virtualised then i have "all eggs in one basket" I want to have another basket available so I can move the eggs quickly (I missed my vocation I should have been an egg farmer!). If I dont use a SAN what is the best method of doing this?

    At the moment we have 600 computers, 150 staff and 1200 students. I dont think numbers are going to grow much further than this in the future.

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    Quote Originally Posted by nicholab View Post
    You could use switched SAS storage LSi do a switch to use with those MSA 60
    Could you please clarify? I didnt quite understand.

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    mrbios's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fiza View Post
    What I want is to be able to recover from hardware failure. If all my servers are virtualised then i have "all eggs in one basket" I want to have another basket available so I can move the eggs quickly (I missed my vocation I should have been an egg farmer!). If I dont use a SAN what is the best method of doing this?

    At the moment we have 600 computers, 150 staff and 1200 students. I dont think numbers are going to grow much further than this in the future.
    SAN is definitely the right way to go for failover so ignore my comment re:local storage

    What disks do you have in your MSA60 currently and how many? nicolabs suggestion could be an easy cheap option if you have disks free on your MSA60 to allocate to the VM storage, though personally I'd separate VM and file storage on to separate storage devices but that's obviously incurring extra cost.


    Quote Originally Posted by fiza View Post
    Could you please clarify? I didnt quite understand.
    Essentially a switch with multiple SAS ports so you can connect your SAS device to multiple hosts (if i'm understanding it right, never used one myself)
    Last edited by mrbios; 20th June 2012 at 02:00 PM.

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    fiza's Avatar
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    We have 2 MSA60 units. One with 12 x 300Gb 15k SAS drives and the other with 9 x 1Tb 7.2k SATA drives.

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