ilyo
Contributor
Contributor

Advice for new install..memory/compatibility

I have to admit I am fairly new at the virtualization world. I am transitioning from the "1 hardware for 1 server" model.

I am looking to create my first virtual server setup (Going to start with esxi 4 and move up to vsphere). Just have a couple of questions:

1. I am looking to use an HP Proliant DL380 G4. Although it does not list esxi 4 on the vmware HCL, I know the server has 2 x dual-core xeon 64bit processors. It currently has 3 SAS drives. Any issues with using this server for ESXi 4 or vsphere?

2. Any disadvantages to using 64bit Guest OS's? As none of the guest machines will require more then 3GB of memory each..would it be better to use the 32bit version? ***DISREGARD: I have discovered bios does not support VT...so no 64bit.

3. When speaking of memory, the physical server supports up tp 12GB of memory. I can assign that memory any which way I like with regard to the guest OS's? (obviously dependent on the version of Windows Std, enterprise, etc.)

Any advice appreciated!

Thanks

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8 Replies
DSTAVERT
Immortal
Immortal

There probably aren't any reasons that you couldn't try to install ESXi 4 on the hardware. I would be inclined to install 3.5 rather than try 4 since you may have stability issues??? It may install just fine but it will not gain you much over 3.5. Memory can be used as you wish however since you can't install 64bit OS's you will have some limitations.

-- David -- VMware Communities Moderator
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ilyo
Contributor
Contributor

I actually have 2 DL380 G4's...so ultimately I would like to have both running VM's.

Outside of maxing each boxes memory (12GB) and adding a second dual port NIC to complement the on-board dual NIC's...anything else suggested to purchase for the physical server's?

As for storage, can't justify SAN cost, so will continue using the SAS drives...but will add more drives.

Thanks

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Luckybob
Enthusiast
Enthusiast

1. I think you will be just fine with the DL380 G4s whether you go with ESXi 3.5 or 4.

2. If you are planning on running any 64-bit applications (Oracle, Exchange 2007/10, etc) you would need a 64-bit OS support. If you don't plan on setting up anything in a 64-bit environment you should be ok. (This is if you had VT support, just putting it out there.)

3. In my experience, memory can be the most important asset in a virtual environment (again depening on application), and I would definatley reccomend 12GB that you can have. You will also want to make sure you don't overload your ESXi server with memory hogging apps. I have a DL380 G5 running 8GB memory and a quad core 3.0 GHz intel (don't recall model off top of my head), and I am running 6 virtual machines on it including Exchange 2003, 4 Exchange 2007, and a DC. Everything run fine for a test environemnt, because of my memory limit things are a bit slow. Just make sure you give yourself a big enough ceiling when creating VMs.

As far as storage, if you are working in a production environment, I would not reccomend using local storage. this will limit what you can do in the long run, or if there is ever an issue. I know SANs can be expensive, but if you have an older server, you can load it with disks and use NFS shares, something like Open iSCSI, or some other free SAN software to get some type of SAN.

ilyo
Contributor
Contributor

Thanks for the reply!!

No 64-bit app's needed currently, and plans are to have a 3rd physical server that will support 64 bit apps.

On the storage front, I will have plenty of HP Server's (some only 2 years old) that could support a make shift iSCSI environment...but any expereince with this in a production environment? I mean we are a small setup, but is anyone using a "homemade" iscsi system out of an old server? Any recomendations?

Thanks again.

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DSTAVERT
Immortal
Immortal

As long as you have a solid disk subsystem you could do worse than build your own. There are many solutions on the software front. NFS is the simplest to setup and manage. iSCSI isn't a bad approach but it does take a bit more to setup. Software can be FreeNAS, OpenFiler, Open-e, Starwind, . . . . . or just a simple linux install. Long list. Many have free or inexpensive versions for modest storage needs.

I have used FreeNAS, Openfiler, Open-E and linux. I mostly use NFS and only because it works well for me. I have used Windows based iSCSI storage software in the past but I'm not a fan but there are some interesting packages and some people only feel comfortable if it runs on Windows.

-- David -- VMware Communities Moderator
ilyo
Contributor
Contributor

Great info...I will research some of the storage options. I am more or less concerned with the performance of the iSCSI setup. Would it be just as good as DAS?

High availibility is not a huge deal, as long as I can restore within a day one of the VM's. I guess I really need to figure out backup's...lot's ot plan. Currently we do a tape backup using Backup Exec, but would like ot figure out a disk based backup for image level to make disaster recovery a bit easier. Currently we only backup the important data and system state.

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ilyo
Contributor
Contributor

Thanks again for the info. I have now decided on the following:

Brand new Proliant DL380 G6 (1st Production Vitrual Server) - Dual Quad core, 16GB Memory, 4 x Gig NICS

Vsphere Essentials Plus

VMWare certified AberNAS iSCSI with 4 x 600GB SAS in array (with additionalbays available for future expansion)

I intend to load 4-6 initial VM's to replace current physical.

More questions or advice!! haha

1. Any experience with the AberNAS or equivalent low-cost iscsi device?

2. With the setup above, what is recommended for backup. I currently use backup exec doing backups of each server's critical data to tape. But would like to a move to a disk-disk to tape setup. I know th essentials edition includes Data recovery...what is the best software out there for getting the data recovery backups to tape?

Thanks...almost there. Once the first is in place...will be purchasing additional DL380's.

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ilyo
Contributor
Contributor

Thanks to all.

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