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  • VMWare ESX 3.5 Setup Recommendation

    Hi all,

    I'm designing a new infrastructure for a startup SMB. The requirement is for 1x Domain Controller, 1x Exchange 2003 Server, 1x File Server, 2x Applications servers. All servers are to run Windows Server 2003 to support 50 users. Cost is a big issue and I'm recommending to take advantage of Virtualization using 2 x Dell PE 2950 servers as hosts. I would appreciate recommendation for hardware configuration (CPU, RAM, Storage), VMWare Licensing Option and strategy to provide optimum redundancy.


    Thanks in advance for your kind contribution.

  • #2
    Re: VMWare ESX 3.5 Setup Recommendation

    First of all I'd say you can use SBS for all your file/print/exchange needs considering you only have 50 users and a tight budget. Only licenses for 2 x ESX3.5 (Full) would cost you more than a SBS setup, let alone hardware and windows/exchange licensing cost.
    If your setup is not critical and can afford longer downtimes i'd suggest saving cost on ESX3.5 licenses and getting ESXi which is free. For lower downtime you'd want to look into a standard license which allows for HA but no vmotion. If your setup doen't allow for a downtime i'd say go with a full enterprise license which gives you other features like vmotion, DRS and svmotion.

    However, This is what i'd recommend for each server:

    2 x E5420
    RAM - 8GB (1GB each for DC, FileServer & application server & 3GB for EXCH)
    Storage - again if vmotion is not required, you can get away with inbuilt storage on ESX hosts. Otherwise go for a SAS based storage system like Dell MD5 SAN. Do not use a SATA based storage system, if budget is low then use SAS but stay away from SATA.
    Storage capacity will depend on how much data you have on file shares plus estimated 10-20% growth depending on your growth pattern / year.
    Last edited by crazyleo_EA; 11th September 2008, 02:34.

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    • #3
      Re: VMWare ESX 3.5 Setup Recommendation

      Crazyleo,

      Thanks a million for your suggestion. I believe by SBS you mean Win. 2003 Small Business Edition. Can I configure the 2 ESX host machines in a cluster using VMWare ESXi? Unless I get the Enterprise license (which is way out of budget), vmotion is not an option. If physical host clustering is possible with ESxi then I can use the cost savings on licensing to buy a Dell iSCSI SAS array (Dell MD3000i)

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      • #4
        Re: VMWare ESX 3.5 Setup Recommendation

        If you want clustering, the minimum requirements will be shared storage and VI Standard (includes High Availability) which lists at $2,995 per host plus the VirtualCenter license
        VCDX3 #34, VCDX4, VCDX5, VCAP4-DCA #14, VCAP4-DCD #35, VCAP5-DCD, VCPx4, vEXPERTx4, MCSEx3, MCSAx2, MCP, CCAx2, A+
        boche.net - VMware Virtualization Evangelist
        My advice has no warranties. Follow at your own risk.

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        • #5
          Re: VMWare ESX 3.5 Setup Recommendation

          in short, clustering is not possible with ESXi.

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          • #6
            Re: VMWare ESX 3.5 Setup Recommendation

            Originally posted by koksieboy View Post
            Crazyleo,

            Thanks a million for your suggestion. I believe by SBS you mean Win. 2003 Small Business Edition. Can I configure the 2 ESX host machines in a cluster using VMWare ESXi? Unless I get the Enterprise license (which is way out of budget), vmotion is not an option. If physical host clustering is possible with ESxi then I can use the cost savings on licensing to buy a Dell iSCSI SAS array (Dell MD3000i)
            yup, the MD3000i works perfectly with ESX, as for ESXi, here is the list of differences:
            http://kb.vmware.com/selfservice/mic...rnalId=1006543
            Real stupidity always beats Artificial Intelligence (c) Terry Pratchett

            BA (BM), RHCE, MCSE, DCSE, Linux+, Network+

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: VMWare ESX 3.5 Setup Recommendation

              Thanks all for your contribution so far. It might be worthwhile for me to state the actual problem we are trying to address.
              The customer initially wanted to purchase 7 individual servers as follows:
              a. 1 x Domain Controller
              b. 1 x Exchange 2003 Server
              c. 1 x File Server
              d. 1 pair of redundant Application Server1
              e. 1 pair of redundant Application Server2
              A 3rd party application, Double Take is intended to provide data replication between each pair of Application server for redundancy. After assessing this initial plan, I suggested using virtualization to achieve the same purpose at a lower cost; however, the enterprise License for VMotion is too expensive for the customer. I also think that buying the Standard license to have HA is not worthwhile as there is still a degree of downtime to reboot the Virtual Servers in the event of a failure.
              From the contributions so far, I am considering getting 2xDell PE 2950 server, 1x Dell DM3000i, 1x dedicated switch for the iSCSI SAN and implement as follows using ESXi:
              1st Dell PE 2950 Server
              a. “Primary” DC/DNS/DHCP
              b. “Primary” Exchange 2003 Server
              c. “Secondary” File Server
              d. “Primary” App Server 1
              e. “Secondary” App server 2
              2nd Dell PE 2950 Server
              a. “Secondary” DC/DNS/DHCP
              b. “Secondary” Exchange 2003 Server
              c. “Primary” File Server
              d. “Secondary” App Server 1
              f. “Primary” App server 2
              Use the 3rd party application, “Double Take” to replicate application data as initially planned. In the event of a failure of host or guest, then the backup servers would take over.
              Is this a viable solution? Please comment and suggest improvements.
              Thanks
              Tola

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              • #8
                Re: VMWare ESX 3.5 Setup Recommendation

                should work
                Real stupidity always beats Artificial Intelligence (c) Terry Pratchett

                BA (BM), RHCE, MCSE, DCSE, Linux+, Network+

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: VMWare ESX 3.5 Setup Recommendation

                  Hello, I am your boss posting in disguise. This exercise was a test to see how much adversity you could overcome to virtualize the environment.

                  You're fired.

                  VCDX3 #34, VCDX4, VCDX5, VCAP4-DCA #14, VCAP4-DCD #35, VCAP5-DCD, VCPx4, vEXPERTx4, MCSEx3, MCSAx2, MCP, CCAx2, A+
                  boche.net - VMware Virtualization Evangelist
                  My advice has no warranties. Follow at your own risk.

                  Comment

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