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muczyn
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Disaster Recovery Project , Dell hardware+vmware+doubletake

Hello All,

I was asked to prepare the disaster recovery plan for our existing Data Centre. I am currently trying to prepare hardware and software solution for this project. I have a budget of 30k £ to spend on hardware and VMware software.

The main goal of the project is to move following core IT services: exchange, database, active directory, blackberry server, file server and citrix servers outside the data centre. Having read some DR documents & web sites I found a double take and VMware perfect solution for our DR project.

The DR systems should consist of

1 x exchange 2003 with C: partition 30 Gb, 😧 partition data and logs 400Gb ( 200GB database for exchange, hudge mailboxes over 11GB, 100 users!)

1 x exchange 2007 with C: partition 30 Gb, 😧 partition data and logs 400G

1 x sql 2000 with C: partition 30 Gb, 😧 partition data and logs 200G

1 x sql 2005 with C: partition 30 Gb, 😧 partition data and logs 200G

1 x domain controller on windows 2003 C: partition 30 Gb D partition: 60 Gb

1 x mail marshal and web marshal (windows 2003) C: partition 30 Gb, D partition 100Gb

3 x citrix servers (windows 2003) C: partition 20 GB, D partition 30 Gb

Total space needed: 1.8 TB, number of virtual servers: 9 , number of users: 120

I want to use Dell hardware for this project - we have 20% discount as a Dell partner. I was thinking of using

2xVmware foundation

2x Power Edge 2950 III (each PE2950III 2 x quad core, 32Gig , RAID 1 for vmware, 4 NICs)

Dell SAN\iScsi storage ( at least 2 TB)

iScsi\ SAN switches.

As I said before I am new to SAN\ iScsi thus I wonder how difficult is to set up vmware to work with this type of storage? I would appreciate if someone could advise on the hardware and vmware set up for this project? I would like to have pretty good storage that can handle 120 users , 2 x exchange servers with over 200Gb mail storage databases. Some of the users have mailboxes with more than 11 Gb!!!

Which shared storage solution is the easiest to iSCsi or SAN? For the purpose of this project we need at least 2 TB of storage...

The network set up requires LAN , DMZ ,vmware console and iScsi\ SAN networks. - I think that 4 network card + HBA card should be enough for this?

I hope that's enough info to get some feedback on the possible hardware and vmware configuration?

Thank you in advance!

Karol

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Brennels
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I would have to refer back to my Data General days for disk configuration but can provide some guidance on best practices. I think that anytime you have databases you should try to seperate the database files from the log files to help prevent disk thrashing and improve overall database perfromance. If you can put these on different controllers that should also help you scale as you grow. I wouldn't make everything a RAID5 as it won't have the same performance as a RAID10 but that will depend on your write versus read requests for those database applications, as well as your budget for disk. Using Double-Take will provide you the option to replicate both the system state as well as the associated data across distances while using the least amount of bandwidth possible but your overall performance and ability to grow will likely depend on that SAN configuration. You always want a stable base to build your DR solution and that will start with a well designed base infrastructure. Keep your options open for the ability to scale and grow. You might want to check out some SQL or Exchange forums for best practice disk configurations as well. If you haven't configured a SAN before you will be well served by getting the advise and guidance of someone who has and planning early will help reduce the changes you might have to make 6 months from now.

- hope this helps, Take Care,

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muczyn
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What do you think about my hardware proposal:

3 x 2950's for ESX + VCC = £3000 Each

1 x MD3000i ISCSI SAN = £9000 including 2Tb of storage

2 x ESX Enterprise = £2800 each

1 x VCC Virtual Control Center = 2300£

2 x Switches = HP PROCURVE 2848 44X10/100/1000+4X1000MINI SWITCH iscsi certified switches £2,467.49 each

total £28600

I found Dell PowerVault MD3000i iSCSi SAN with 15x 300GB SAS 10K disk for 4,200£! Can someone please tell me how shoudl i set up RAID level on that SAN? Should I put RAID 5 for on all 15 disks for vmware? or should I have hot swap disk as well?

thanks,

Karol

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SurfControl
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you may use one VM as your VC, that would save you one 2950

muczyn
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thanks, that's a good point.

Vmware Guys,

how difficult is set up iSCSI SAN arrray for this project? Should I pay extra for the consultancy work on shared storage ? I am just worried that I might need some help on this...

thanks,

Karol

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Ken_Cline
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It's not "difficult" to setup a typical iSCSI SAN; however, it can be quite complex. There are many, many things that need to be considered - and if you've never "been there, done that", it's easy to overlook some important considerations. If this is a critical project (most DR projects are...), then I would recommend that you not cut corners and go ahead and invest in the extra consultant hours. Make sure you stick to the consultant like glue and ask about 10,000 questions so that you get the most value out of the engagement!

Ken Cline

Technical Director, Virtualization

Wells Landers[/url]

VMware Communities User Moderator

Ken Cline VMware vExpert 2009 VMware Communities User Moderator Blogging at: http://KensVirtualReality.wordpress.com/
Brennels
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I would have to refer back to my Data General days for disk configuration but can provide some guidance on best practices. I think that anytime you have databases you should try to seperate the database files from the log files to help prevent disk thrashing and improve overall database perfromance. If you can put these on different controllers that should also help you scale as you grow. I wouldn't make everything a RAID5 as it won't have the same performance as a RAID10 but that will depend on your write versus read requests for those database applications, as well as your budget for disk. Using Double-Take will provide you the option to replicate both the system state as well as the associated data across distances while using the least amount of bandwidth possible but your overall performance and ability to grow will likely depend on that SAN configuration. You always want a stable base to build your DR solution and that will start with a well designed base infrastructure. Keep your options open for the ability to scale and grow. You might want to check out some SQL or Exchange forums for best practice disk configurations as well. If you haven't configured a SAN before you will be well served by getting the advise and guidance of someone who has and planning early will help reduce the changes you might have to make 6 months from now.

- hope this helps, Take Care,

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muczyn
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thanks Ken, I will keep that in mind.

I already contacted some vmware consultanty company - anyone heard of that name?

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muczyn
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Brennels,

do you know if double take can be used to replicate data from production exchange to new exchange server ( real time replication) so users who use the DR exchange so no diffrence and there is no need for manual failover?

thank you,

Karol

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Brennels
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Hi Karol, Double-Take protects production Exchange servers very easy but your DR Exchange server needs to be just that though a DR or standby server. In the event of a server/site failure the DR server will come online and be accessed as if it is the original production server keeping the application highly available.

-Regards,

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muczyn
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Hello All,

I am just about to place an order with Dell , can you please review the spec of the hardware ? I want to use vmware standard for this project... is SAN ok for this project?should I take Dell PowerVault installation service ? thanks!

PV MD3000i External iSCSI RAID array with 1 Dual Port Controller

PV MD3000I Bezel

Blank HD Filler

300GB SAS 10K 3.5inch HD x 15

Snapshot Software Feature License Key

You have chosen not to take the Dell PowerVault installation service

Rapid Rack Rails for Dell or other Square Hole Rack - MDxx00

Power Vault Order - United Kingdom

Base Warranty

1Yr Basic Warranty - Next Business Day - Minimum Warranty

Declined ProSupport

3Yr Basic Warranty - Next Business Day

*

2 x PE 2950 III Quad Core Xeon E5430 (2.66GHz, 2x6MB, 1333MHz FSB)

*

Riser with PCI Express Support (2x PCIe x8 slots; 1x PCIe x4 slot)

PE2950 English with Rack Power Cord

PE2950 Bezel Assembly

32GB (8x4GB Dual Rank DIMMs) 667MHz FBD

PE2950 III Additional Quad-Core Xeon E5430 (2.66GHz, 2x6MB, 1333MHz FSB)

No Floppy for x6 Backplane

73GB SAS 15k 3.5" HD x 2

PE2950 III - Chassis 3.5HDD x6 Backplane

PERC 6/i, Integrated Controller Card x6 backplane

DVD-ROM/CD-RW Combo Drive including Roxio Software

CD/DVD Drive Cable

PE2950 III Redundant Power Supply No Power Cord

Rack Power Distribution Unit Power Cord

Intel PRO 1000PT Dual Port Server Adapter, Gigabit NIC, Cu, PCIe x4 x 2

TCP/IP Offload Engine 2P

Drac 5 Card

No Operating System

PE2950 Open Manage CD + Drivers

You have chosen not to take the Dell PowerEdge installation service

Rapid/Versa Rack Rails

PE2950 III C3 MSS R1 Add-in PERC 5/i / 6/i / SAS

PowerEdge Order - United Kingdom

1Yr Basic Warranty - Next Business Day - Minimum Warranty

Base Warranty

Declined ProSupport

3Yr Basic Warranty - Next Business Day

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roadfox
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i higly recommend you get in touch with a DELL Salesperson and ask for suport from a Solutions Architect, he can answer all your questions and help to find the right sizing and archtecture.

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Brennels
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Hi Karol, you might want to check with the Dell folks at regarding your hardware question. There are some pretty smart people on this site that should be able to give you some direction. I also found this document that might help you.

-regards

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ChrisDearden
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Is 4 NICS going to be enough ?

you want to double up on the SC nics , and possibly provide some failover for your LAN & DMZ ( in addition to the HBA requirement ) which would mean a requirement of 6 NICS + HBA

If this post has been useful , please consider awarding points. @chrisdearden http://jfvi.co.uk http://vsoup.net
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EllettIT
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Their are 2 onboard + the 2 Dual NIC's added but I would add (having a very similar setup) that you'll probably want daul quad port NIC's instead. Never hurts to have the extra "room" and the cost isn't that much more.

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muczyn
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Thanks for all the replies,

I have a few more questions:

1.I wonder what is the performance difference betwen software iSCSI inititor and dedicated 4Gbps HBA card?is it worth to spend extra money on Qlogic QLE220, Single-port 4Gbps Fibre ?

2.Have anyone seen performance test for PE 2950 III with ESXi embedded on an SD card and Dell PowerVault MD1000 with 15 SAS disks connected via

Dell PERC5e/6e?

thanks,

Karol

P.S

I am currently struggling with Dell sale person, it looks Dell does not care much that we want to buy some hardware. I have been waiting for sales call for 2 days already Smiley Sad

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muczyn
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Thanks for all the replies,

I have a few more questions:

1.I wonder what is the performance difference betwen software iSCSI inititor and dedicated 4Gbps HBA card?is it worth to spend extra money on Qlogic QLE220, Single-port 4Gbps Fibre ?

2.Have anyone seen performance test for PE 2950 III with ESXi embedded on an SD card and Dell PowerVault MD1000 with 15 SAS disks connected via

Dell PERC5e/6e?

thanks,

Karol

P.S

I am currently struggling with Dell sale person, it looks Dell does not care much that we want to buy some hardware. I have been waiting for sales call for 2 days already Smiley Sad

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muczyn
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Thanks for all the replies,

I have a few more questions:

1.I wonder what is the performance difference betwen software iSCSI inititor and dedicated 4Gbps HBA card?is it worth to spend extra money on Qlogic QLE220, Single-port 4Gbps Fibre ?

2.Have anyone seen performance test for PE 2950 III with ESXi embedded on an SD card and Dell PowerVault MD1000 with 15 SAS disks connected via

Dell PERC5e/6e?

thanks,

Karol

P.S

I am currently struggling with Dell sale person, it looks Dell does not care much that we want to buy some hardware. I have been waiting for sales call for 2 days already Smiley Sad

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EllettIT
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NIC versus HBA for iSCSI (the iSCSI HBA doesn't run at 4Gbps by the way, same as a Gig NIC) is an interesting topic, the consensus seems to be that they are'nt always necessary and make the storage config more difficult for a minimal (if any) performance gain. I say if you're keeping your iSCSI traffic seperate from everything else stick with a NIC.

I'm not familiar with the performance of ESXi versus ESX but from what I've heard you do lose some of the features with the embedded versions, that may not be true anymore just something I've heard before. Also, for the features like HA, DRS, and Vmotion to work you have to have "shared storage" i.e. a SAN or NAS so direct attached storage would disqualify you from that (unless you're using something like the Xtravirt product http://engineering.xtravirt.com/products/xtravirt-virtual-san.htm). Just something to keep in mind.

As far as Dell goes I've had good and bad experiences with their sales staff. If it was me I'd call and tell them I want to speak to a sales manager (don't be an a$$ just be assertive) because I've had an outstanding sales call for several days. Let them know you're shopping around with their competetors although the price on the MD3000i is hard to beat Smiley Happy

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