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  • What are low cost fail over options?

    I am new to virtualization.

    I am looking to set up a fail-over windows server. I looked into using two servers with a SAN. However with SAN's appearing to cost $5,000+ they are out of our price range.

    We do not need instant fail-over. As long as I can get the backup server up within an hour or so, that is fine.

    I also considered just creating a nightly Acronis disk image of the primary server. Then if it goes down, I can image the secondary server with last night's image. The only problem with this idea is that the image is at least several hours old by mid-day and it can take several hours to image the secondary server's hard drive with the backup image.

    Is there a better way to do this using VMware or Hyper-V? Is doing hourly snapshots and using those as fail-over disk images a better idea than using Acronis disk images?

    I'm looking for ideas. Thanks for your help.

    -Doug

  • #2
    Re: What are low cost fail over options?

    You could look at setting up your own "SAN" using FreeNAS or OpenFiler. Once you start looking at redundant virtualisation platforms, the price will start to go up though.
    Gareth Howells

    BSc (Hons), MBCS, MCP, MCDST, ICCE

    Any advice is given in good faith and without warranty.

    Please give reputation points if somebody has helped you.

    "For by now I could have stretched out my hand and struck you and your people with a plague that would have wiped you off the Earth." (Exodus 9:15) - I could kill you with my thumb.

    "Everything that lives and moves will be food for you." (Genesis 9:3) - For every animal you don't eat, I'm going to eat three.

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: What are low cost fail over options?

      iSCSI can be implemented with software only solution, as gforceindustries wrote above, so all you need is some hardware to run the iSCSI services. Hardware iSCSI storage systems are available too. A Buffalo Terastation 3 iSCSI box with four terabytes of RAIDable storage costs around $1100.

      Since you mention Hyper-V, one can do host clustering with the free Hyper-V server. If you consider running a full-featured Windows Server 2008, be aware that you need at least two Enterprise Editions ($4000+CALs for each node) to do failover clustering. Standard Edition ($1000+CALs) does not support failover clustering.

      -vP

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      • #4
        Re: What are low cost fail over options?

        Hey Guys. Thanks for the input.

        I'm thinking about running a test set up with freeNAS as software iSCSI then using two workstations with Windows Server.

        To get fail-over would I need to cluster the two servers using Windows Server 2008 Enterprise?

        Or can I use VMware to fail over and just use Windows Server 2008 Standard?

        Lastly, given one of the options above, does my hard ware on server A and Server B need to be identical?

        Thanks again.

        -dapupard

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        • #5
          Re: What are low cost fail over options?

          Are you looking to be using VMware ESX/ESXi? Or am I understanding this wrong?
          If so, have you thought about using VMware High Availability?
          And I don't think your hardware needs to be identical, but I would wait for a definite answer before taking that advice.

          Edit:

          http://www.vmware.com/solutions/busi...ilability.html

          Because VMware virtual machines are hardware-independent and can share physical resources, failover can be deployed without requiring dedicated, identical standby hardware and the added complexity of maintaining identical configurations.
          Last edited by ConradJ; 12th March 2011, 15:23. Reason: Added info.

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          • #6
            Re: What are low cost fail over options?

            So I see that I can use a software SAN to reduce costs. I like that idea.

            I like using VMWare as ConradJ suggests. However it appears I will need to purchase the $3,500 version of VMWare in order to get the high-availability feature. Is this true? Or can I do HA with a free or lower cost version of VMWare?

            Just need it for HA of a simple Windows file/app server.

            Thanks.

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: What are low cost fail over options?

              It's my understanding that you would require ESXi Standard at the minimum to include the High Availability option.

              VMware store

              Depending on hardware requirements, this could cost you $1,068.00 per server, for one processor each.

              That does tally up, doesn't it... I'll see what other solutions I may be able to find for you.

              Could you fill us in with the rest of the scenario, for example what other virtualised environments you may be running? My thinking is would it be cheaper in the long run to just buy more hardware rather than having multiple environments virtualised? That way you could cluster the Window Server OS on dedicated machines.

              In terms of having an iSCSI SAN, I run NexentaStor. I tried FreeNAS and OpenFiler but had different issues with both. I found NexentaStor to be stable, quick and has great read/write speeds - I get 64MB/s burst and 54MB/s prolonged write speeds on standard SCSI 3mbps 7200rpm drives over a gigabit ethernet connection. Also, ZFS and RAIDZ is great! Be prepared for the RAM usage though, the OS uses it as a buffer so regardless of quantity it will use it all. Mine has 4.5TB of storage and uses 4GB of RAM easily. I have it on an ESXi server, so capped the RAM there... It would use more if I gave it more!

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              • #8
                Re: What are low cost fail over options?

                Thanks ConradJ.

                My hardware is pretty simple. I am planning on having four servers total.

                File Server A and File Server B. These are the servers that I will use for high availability. I would like to visualize these if the cost is right. The hardware will be identical. Server B will be used solely for fail over. They will be new hardware running Windows Server 2008.

                Terminal Server C and Terminal Server D. Will be used simultaneously as load balancing Windows terminal servers. They will access files on ServerA/B. They will not be visualized.

                Thanks!

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                • #9
                  Re: What are low cost fail over options?

                  Sorry if I'm missing something, but why virtualise when it's only going to be one OS on the hardware? The purpose of it is to virtualise multiple environments on one physical machine.
                  Again, sorry if I'm missing the point!

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                  • #10
                    Re: What are low cost fail over options?

                    He's virtualising because he wants to run two different services on one physical machine and keep them isolated from each other - would you really want to use the same machine as a file server and terminal server?

                    @dapupard, rather than clustering the file servers, you may want to look at DFS instead to reduce complexity.
                    Gareth Howells

                    BSc (Hons), MBCS, MCP, MCDST, ICCE

                    Any advice is given in good faith and without warranty.

                    Please give reputation points if somebody has helped you.

                    "For by now I could have stretched out my hand and struck you and your people with a plague that would have wiped you off the Earth." (Exodus 9:15) - I could kill you with my thumb.

                    "Everything that lives and moves will be food for you." (Genesis 9:3) - For every animal you don't eat, I'm going to eat three.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: What are low cost fail over options?

                      He says the TS servers will not be virtualised, which makes me think they are on independent hardware?

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: What are low cost fail over options?

                        Apologies, I missed that part.

                        I would guess then that he intends to virtualise so that in future he can add additional virtual machines without disruption.
                        Gareth Howells

                        BSc (Hons), MBCS, MCP, MCDST, ICCE

                        Any advice is given in good faith and without warranty.

                        Please give reputation points if somebody has helped you.

                        "For by now I could have stretched out my hand and struck you and your people with a plague that would have wiped you off the Earth." (Exodus 9:15) - I could kill you with my thumb.

                        "Everything that lives and moves will be food for you." (Genesis 9:3) - For every animal you don't eat, I'm going to eat three.

                        Comment

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