I have 2 *nix servers that act as VoIP and Router, running on i5 branded PCs.
To increase reliability (minimize downtime and recovery time), I planned to move them both to a 1 server-like whitebox (server class raid, lan, redundant psu), running those *nix systems on ESXi (that way I, theoretically, improve hardware and software reliability).
Any suggestions? any tips before I get into it? I have experience with linux\win server and virtualization (not bare metal), would ESXi be "understandable" enough for me if I never learned this software particularly (and my department don't have the budget for the commercial version) ?
You'll want to use hardware that is on the VMware Hardware Compatibility List -- some of the stuff on the HCL is pretty affordable so putting ESXi 5.0 on a white box may not be as reliable but cost just as much money -- wouldn't make much sense.
Here's the HCL: