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Windows Server 2000/2003 Thread, Server Redundancy in Technical; Have been thinking about this a while, would like to see peoples thoughts. At the moment all the schools i ...
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    Server Redundancy

    Have been thinking about this a while, would like to see peoples thoughts.

    At the moment all the schools i work for in Brum have a curriculum server which acts
    the PDC,DHCP,DNS,File & Print Server. It has two partitions C & D(Data)

    Im proposing the following;

    Powerfull Computer (e.g. 4GB RAM, Quad core cpu)
    Ubuntu Server to be installed on computer
    VMWare Server to be install in Ubuntu Server
    Win 2003 Server to be installed on VMware Server

    An industry standard NAS with RAID
    This will be used for DATA, so basically replacing the D: drive on server

    And basically using the Virtual 2003 Server to still be the PDC and just deal with DNS, DHCP & Print
    services. While Users will be accessing their profiles, home folders and apps etc from the NAS

    Every evening backup the Windows Server virtual image which im expecting to be no greater than
    10GB.

    Thus if a server blows up, I can get another pc, install vmware server onto it - drop the Server 2003
    image that was backed up and hey presto!

    Can anyone see any potential problems, or anything im missing?

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    tmcd35's Avatar
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    Rather than Ubuntu + VMWare have a look at ESXi, Xen or Hyper-V. Also look into Windows Datacenter licencing - dirt cheap for schools, then you can run as menu VM's on your server as you wish. You can then think about splitting DC, DNS, DHCP, Printing, etc, into their own virtual servers rather than 1 server doing all tasks.

    I'd look at running the VM's from the NAS (assuming its fast enough/enough space) so if the host server dies you can get at the VM's and run them elsewhere (temporarily converted desktops / another physical server).

    4Gb Ram sounds low for a server, Ram's cheap, I'd also look at 8Gb or 12Gb Ram to allow the VM's to run smoothly.

    Just my take, I'm sure others will have differing opinions

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    Quote Originally Posted by tmcd35 View Post
    Rather than Ubuntu + VMWare have a look at ESXi, Xen or Hyper-V. Also look into Windows Datacenter licencing - dirt cheap for schools, then you can run as menu VM's on your server as you wish. You can then think about splitting DC, DNS, DHCP, Printing, etc, into their own virtual servers rather than 1 server doing all tasks.

    I'd look at running the VM's from the NAS (assuming its fast enough/enough space) so if the host server dies you can get at the VM's and run them elsewhere (temporarily converted desktops / another physical server).

    4Gb Ram sounds low for a server, Ram's cheap, I'd also look at 8Gb or 12Gb Ram to allow the VM's to run smoothly.

    Just my take, I'm sure others will have differing opinions
    What I read about ESXi thats its a bit niggly on hardware, so Ubuntu Server would provide a very good
    base, as it very compatable with all types of different hardware combinations. Which then I VMvare server would sit on quite happily - Both are free to use? (i think)

    So the only licensing I would require is for the Windows Server and Windows Clients
    I dont want to go to overboard with too much hardware as I concentrate on Primary Schools.

    But in terms of the theory... would you say its sound?

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    tmcd35's Avatar
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    Yep the theory's sound. Like I say the only, I suppose minor, changes I'd suggest is using Windows DataCenter so you can run each service as it's own VM and store the VM images on the NAS so you can get to them easily should the worst happen.

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    Mr.Ben's Avatar
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    Or use the enterprise edition of Server 2008 R2 - you can run 4 VM's in hyper-v on that (included in the licensing), which is plenty for primarys.

    Cost is about £150, a bit more than a standard Server licence, but cheaper than datacenter.

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    if you don't like the sound of ESXi then try Hyper-V server (R2) as that is free or if you buy a server 2008 licence for the server then you can have hyper-v included in that

    having unbuntu then vmware then windows is far too many layers

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    teejay's Avatar
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    Don't use VMWare server, it's very slow! Use ESXi, XenServer or as a last resort Hyper-V.
    ESXi works as long as you use sensible hardware and the processor support virtualisation. Just about all the Dell, HP, Sun etc servers support it, so there isn't really a problem.

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    But using hyper-v that would tie me down to certain hardware that its compatible with, i want that freedom for example there worst worst case scenario, in that i need to run off a laptop for example for a day, while the server is being repaired - i know ubuntu server will work, but will EXSi or hyper V be able to do that?

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    Quote Originally Posted by teejay View Post
    or as a last resort Hyper-V.
    Why last resort?
    So far Hyper-V has been excellent for us and I would highly recommend it.

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    tmcd35's Avatar
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    Am I right in thinking that machine images for ESXi and VMware Server are the same? Like whys with Hyper-V/VServer2005/VirtualPC?

    So you could use ESXi/Hyper-V on the host but then use VMWare Server/VirtualPC on a desktop/laptop in an emergancy?

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    Quote Originally Posted by tmcd35 View Post
    Am I right in thinking that machine images for ESXi and VMware Server are the same? Like whys with Hyper-V/VServer2005/VirtualPC?
    I'm sure you are right...

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    @Sparkeh - no support for any non windows OS apart from Suse Linux makes it a non starter for us. Also VMWare will do memory/storage over-commitment which makes much better use of resources. If it works for you, that's great, but really it's the weakest out of the 3 main Virtuialisation platforms.

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    Quote Originally Posted by owen1978 View Post
    But using hyper-v that would tie me down to certain hardware that its compatible with, i want that freedom for example there worst worst case scenario, in that i need to run off a laptop for example for a day, while the server is being repaired - i know ubuntu server will work, but will EXSi or hyper V be able to do that?
    ESXi runs on:

    Thinkpad T60
    Thinkpad R60

    that I've tested.

    Your 2 main issues with ESXi support are 1) Is my storage adaptor supported? 2) Is my network card supported? Provided you've got something reasonably common (or decent drivers are available) you'll be fine.

    1) Requires research or adding drivers to the ESXi install sources. If you're using a USB stick for ESXi (internal usb ports (not headers) are common on server boards) this is even easier and it lets you plug it into random hardware to see if it'll boot and detect everything. The vmware forums are handy for this - there's usually someone who's found a way to get the driver support you need.

    2) Can be solved by bunging an Intel PRO/1000GT or better into the box.

    Have a look here: Welcome to vm-help.com and especially here: ESXi simple.map

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    Quote Originally Posted by owen1978 View Post
    But using hyper-v that would tie me down to certain hardware that its compatible with, i want that freedom for example there worst worst case scenario, in that i need to run off a laptop for example for a day, while the server is being repaired - i know ubuntu server will work, but will EXSi or hyper V be able to do that?
    You use ESXi on the server and VMWare Server or preferably VMWare Workstation on your laptop for development/disaster recovery.

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    Quote Originally Posted by tmcd35 View Post
    Am I right in thinking that machine images for ESXi and VMware Server are the same? Like whys with Hyper-V/VServer2005/VirtualPC?

    So you could use ESXi/Hyper-V on the host but then use VMWare Server/VirtualPC on a desktop/laptop in an emergancy?
    Found this thread!
    [other] ESXi vs. VMWare Server (Is ESXi right for me?) - Ubuntu Forums

    I assume all vmware products use the same virtual images, but im leaning towards the vmware
    server solution - due to the fact that the Host PC may not be a industry server standard computer
    so EXSI would have problems.

    So if server did blow up!, I could just go to PC World buy a powerfull pc?

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