Caleb73
Contributor
Contributor

Setting up ESXi with DR in mind

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I'm somewhat new to vmware and had a question regarding the feasibility of a possible setup.

I am currently going to purchase a new server to host the free version of ESXi.  It is for a small office of 3 so performance is not an issue.  I will have 3 vms on the server a DC, File, and Application server.  What I would like to do is install esxi on a usb drive attached to this server.  Get a NAS with Raid 10 and have all 3 vm's reside on the nas.  If the main server ever goes down, I would like to move the usb drive to a spare desktop that has access to the NAS and use it as a temporary solution until the server can be fixed.  I don't know if this is feasible as the machines will not be the same (server has xeon 2.4, desktop has Pentium 4 dual core).  Can someone please let me know if this is supported and if not what a reliable cheap solution would be that would give me redundancy.  I am okay with geting the hard drives and a raid controller for the server, but in the event of a failure I would like to have an easy reliable process to bring up the backup (desktop).  Also, the data is being backed up via a Continuous backup solution, I am only concerned with bringing the VM's back up should the hardware on the server fail.

Thanks in advance for your help!!!

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vMario156
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Expert

If you are running the free version you will not open a support case anyway Smiley Happy  So your main requirement should be a stable solution (which in my opinion should not contain an old desktop pc).

Take two servers (one new, one old as backup, both on HCL) connect them to your NAS and you will have no problems to start your VMs from both hosts. Of course you need to power on this VMs manual if a server crashes, if not using a version which provides the HA feature.

Regards,

Mario

Blog: http://vKnowledge.net

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vMario156
Expert
Expert

It could be challenging to get ESXi running native on an old desktop pc, but you should check the HCL to see which hardware is supported.

But I would recommend you to get a second server (could be a old cheap one, but watch the HCL), which you can install and just need to power on in case of a server crash.

Regards,

Mario

Blog: http://vKnowledge.net
Caleb73
Contributor
Contributor

Thanks Mario,

Do you know if I had a spare desktop that was supported, would my setup run okay.  Is it supported?  When I spoke with Dell about purchasing all this they said that setup might not be supported.  If it is I have no problem spending some money to get a used server but I don't want to buy seperate hard drives and raid controllers if I can get away with storing the vm files for those servers on a NAS or something comparable.

Thanks!!

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vMario156
Expert
Expert

If you are running the free version you will not open a support case anyway Smiley Happy  So your main requirement should be a stable solution (which in my opinion should not contain an old desktop pc).

Take two servers (one new, one old as backup, both on HCL) connect them to your NAS and you will have no problems to start your VMs from both hosts. Of course you need to power on this VMs manual if a server crashes, if not using a version which provides the HA feature.

Regards,

Mario

Blog: http://vKnowledge.net

View solution in original post

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Caleb73
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Contributor

Hi Mario, Thank you so much for your help.   I want it to be supported cause it might be easier to find help on that specific setup.  I would like to avoid other users telling me that is not a supported setup and recommend an alternate setup.  I just want to set it up and not worry about re-setting it up from scratch.

It looks like this will work so I will go this route.  Also just a few quick questions for you.  would you recommend purchasing the paid version of ESXi for this?  Do you know what the benefits would be?  Also, any recommendations for a reliable NAS that will support RAID.  I wish I had the budget for an enterprise NAS solution but i do not.  I want a cheap NAS that is reliable.  The quote I have for my server says that the Raid controller + 4 enterprise 500 GB hard drives (Raid 10) are around $1000.  So i'm hoping that I can find a NAS array with 4 enterprise hard drives for $1000 - $1500.

I know thats a lot to ask, but could you point me in the right direction?

Thanks again for your help!!!!

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vMario156
Expert
Expert

To have a supported environment just make sure all your components are on the HCL (server & NAS).

It depends on your environment and how much downtime you can affort. Like I wrote before you need to power up your VMs manual (on server B), if your server A crashes with running all VMs. If you having a vSphere version with HA you never need to worry about this, because it will hapen automaticly. To use HA you need to have also a vCenter instace (can run as VM) and minimum two servers up running, which means of course a lot more costs instead of the free version Smiley Happy

Sorry I have "only" experiance with enterprise storage systems, so I can´t help you out with any tips regarding low budget NAS, but I am sure you find some reviews etc via google or someone else here can give you some tips.

Also you need to think about a failure of your NAS system. A second server will not help if your NAS is down, so make sure you have a backup of all VMs on another location.

Regards,

Mario

Blog: http://vKnowledge.net
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rlund
Enthusiast
Enthusiast

I would recommend two copies of VMWare essentials, one for primary and Dr. And two copies of veeam essentials to replicate. If you need more the. Here hosts, then scale to a VMware accelerator kit on main site. If Dr storage is needed, a low end nas on far side is a option, iomega comes to mind. A couple firewalls one per site, and a vpn connecting sites, or better a direct fiber connection.

Roger lund

Roger Lund Minnesota VMUG leader Blogger VMware and IT Evangelist My Blog: http://itblog.rogerlund.net & http://www.vbrainstorm.com
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