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VMware Hardware Question

Discussion in 'Virtual Computing' started by craigie, May 31, 2010.

  1. craigie

    craigie Terabyte Poster

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    Work will be sending me on the Install, Maintain & Configure vSphere 4 course later on this year.

    Currently I haven't had any exposure on ESX or ESXi, but they plan on changing that after I have attended the course as I should hopefully be getting involved in a 1 Million Pound VMware migration taking a subsidary company into there own domain, all using vSphere.

    Anyways, I currently have the following, which I use for Hyper V (1 Main and 3 x VM's which run sweet).

    Current

    - HP ML115 G5 2.2 AMD Quad Core
    - 8GB RAM
    - RAID 1 500GB 7200 Hard Drivers
    - 1GB NIC

    I was thinking of using this as the iSCSI target to host the VM's, (I'm not sure of the exact VMware terminology that should be used).

    Then for the vSphere part, I was going to buy the following:

    New

    - HP ML115 G5 2.2 AMD Quad Core
    - 4GB RAM
    - RAID 1 160GB 7200 Hard Drivers
    - 1GB NIC

    From my limited knowledge using the same kind of hardware means that I would be able to use VMotion.

    I would be installing the following servers:

    1 x DC, DNS, File
    1 x DC, TS
    2 x Exchange 2007 (Cluster)

    Any thoughts they would be appreciated, in relation to new hardware costs, I was looking to spend about £350 inc VAT.

    Anymore than that and the wife is going to moan, as it was pretty difficult trying to explain to her why I need another server!
     
    Last edited: May 31, 2010
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  2. zebulebu

    zebulebu Terabyte Poster

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    Craigie

    I'd suggest you run your filer seperately. That will give you more exposure to 'proper' SAN technology. iSCSI is pretty simple, but it has its foibles, and you would do well to grab yourself a cheap managed Gb switch & sort out the vlans that are present in pretty much all ESX environments. You'd learn a lot about how ESX implements vlans, and how to sort jumbo frames & multipathing out if you had a 'proper' storage box. It would also allow you to put one of your hosts into maint mode for maintenance (at present, with your plan, you'd have to shut all your VMs down to be able to do this on the larger ESX host, as that would contain all your storage)

    That said, what you are planning (using an iSCSI target on the same storage as one of your ESX hosts) is perfectly adequate - provided the CPUs are the same you'll have no problems with VMotion. In fact, nowadays you can run EVC (Enhanced VMotion Compatibility) clusters in ESX which mask off incompatible CPU features when VMotioning, allowing widely differing CPUs to be used in the same cluster.
     
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  3. craigie

    craigie Terabyte Poster

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    Thanks for the feedback Zeb.

    I'm trying to get a half decent lab, nothing to extreme that can perform most if not all of the functions of vSphere, I'm not to worried if it's not amazingly fast.

    Your comments about a SAN, made me remember that one of my best friends works for Falconstor as a storage architect (he is also a VCP in ESX 3.5).

    I have been on the blower to him and he can give me there virtual SAN system for test purposes, he was going on about lots of abbreviations that it can do including site to site replication as well.

    From speaking to him, I will probably mirror both of the servers with the same hardware (wife permitting).
     
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  4. michael78

    michael78 Terabyte Poster

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    Craigie I'm in the same boat with the wife explaining why I need another server lol. I'm getting another ML115 from Ebuyer for £280 (Quad Core) if you have seen it any cheaper can you give me the heads up mate. Also I'm taking zebulebu's advice and getting a managed switch to sort a VLAN out. My basic understanding of VLAN's is that it's just for better data flow. Take it with using iSCSI across Ethernet thats why it's recommended to use it on a VLAN? :oops:
     
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    WIP: Online SAN Overview, VCP in December 2011
  5. craigie

    craigie Terabyte Poster

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    You can get the ML115 delivered for £250.00 here http://www.redstore.com/items/items_view.php?type=search&id=ml115

    I have used Redstore before mate, just make sure you buy the right stuff and don't need to return anything as they will charge a 20% restock fee.

    In relation to the VLAN's they are used to stop broadcast traffic and to enhance security as they are on a seperate network, I will be implementing VLAN'ing when I figure out my final lab.

    Working on a proposed Visio Diagram now mate.
     
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  6. michael78

    michael78 Terabyte Poster

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    Cheers Craigie for the link mate. Let me know how it goes as I will be doing the same type of setup as well as I'm booked onto the VMWare course for either Novemeber or early 2011.
     
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    WIP: Online SAN Overview, VCP in December 2011
  7. craigie

    craigie Terabyte Poster

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    This is the Lab I have proposed to the Mrs.

    Do you think this would work to give me the full benefits of vSphere's capabilities.

    [​IMG]
     
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  8. SimonD

    SimonD Terabyte Poster Moderator

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    Change the names Physical and Virtual for SAN and Guests and you're spot on.

    Basically you want to vlan off the traffic for the iscsi or nfs storage so that it doesn't get seen by the guest OS's. What you would then do is play with jumbo packets (increasing the TCP packet size) between the ESX hosts and the storage server. Use something like IOMeter to check storage benchmarks.

    I don't know the amount of VM's you're going to be using but you 'may' want to increase the amount of storage you're using on the storage server.
     
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  9. craigie

    craigie Terabyte Poster

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    Thanks Simon, pleased to know that as complete VMware novice, I have the right idea in mind!

    In relation to the storage, my labs are exactly what they say on the tin, labs only. I use them to install and configure my environment, I don't store any 'real' data on them as this is all contained on personal laptop and backup drives. I just like the clear distinction in my mind that I can flatten anything in my lab without a second thought to data, where as on my backups drives that would be a no no.

    The only thing that the servers hold apart from configuration data are service packs, pre requisite software for installations e.g. Citrix Xenapp with .NET and Java.

    The only thing I haven't mentioned are NIC's I'm assuming that ideally you want 1 Physical NIC per Host, anyone come across any major dramas using less than this? e.g. 2 NIC's for 4 Hosts?
     
    Last edited: May 31, 2010
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  10. michael78

    michael78 Terabyte Poster

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    Craigie is a Cisco 2950 switch a good choice for this setup? Need to buy a good switch for my ESX lab.
     
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    WIP: Online SAN Overview, VCP in December 2011
  11. zebulebu

    zebulebu Terabyte Poster

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    Provided it's a 2950G that should be fine for a test lab. A 'regular' (i.e. non-Gb) 2950 won't cut it - it'll run like an absolute turd.
     
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  12. michael78

    michael78 Terabyte Poster

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    Ahh thats why i was asking as I though all 2950's were non-Gb
     
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    WIP: Online SAN Overview, VCP in December 2011
  13. zebulebu

    zebulebu Terabyte Poster

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    My mistake - looks like the 2950 series ARE all 10/100 - with two gbic ports. If this is the case, then you're out of luck and will need to buy a Gb switch. I picked a 16 port procurve Gb managed switch up for about £200 a while back - you can probably get them cheaper now.
     
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  14. craigie

    craigie Terabyte Poster

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    Just checked on fleabay, I thought they where 1 Gigabit.

    Will probably get a NetGear from work to use.
     
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  15. michael78

    michael78 Terabyte Poster

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    Thought they were 10/100 switches so thought I'd ask as I thought it was a bit strange using one for this setup. Really wanted to get one just to start using some Cisco kit. Might still look into getting a Cisco Gb switch any recommendations?
     
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    WIP: Online SAN Overview, VCP in December 2011
  16. michael78

    michael78 Terabyte Poster

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    Or maybe not just seen the prices on fleabay :blink
     
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    WIP: Online SAN Overview, VCP in December 2011
  17. ThomasMc

    ThomasMc Gigabyte Poster

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    Last edited: Jun 3, 2010
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  18. danielno8

    danielno8 Gigabyte Poster

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    ^^ you wanting a managed switch? gigabit will be pricey if so.


    EDIT: whoops
     
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  19. michael78

    michael78 Terabyte Poster

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    Cheers Thomas will have a look :biggrin
     
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    WIP: Online SAN Overview, VCP in December 2011
  20. craigie

    craigie Terabyte Poster

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    Thanks Thomas, I see it has a Console Port, but then states it's web based configuration.

    Does anyone know if it can be configured via the Console or SSH?
     
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