bonald
Contributor
Contributor

File server + Redundancy + VMWare Foundation

First, we are a school with a tight budget.

Currently we have VMWare Foundation ESX 3.5 (no vmotion, ha...) running on 3 DL380 G3 servers. All local storage. 600gb on each.

No money to upgrade to standard/enterprise.

We have an old file server running out of space and we need to remediate the situation ASAP.

Do we virtualizes ? If we do we will need an NFS SAN with 1TB of storage minimum for the file-server.

But we also want redundancy, how can the SAN be redundant ? Without having to buy two SAN ?

For your information, we have a standby DL380 G3 that replicate our Exchange and SQL server with vreplicator.

Another simple solution would be two buy two servers with 1TB of space and use Windows DFS to replicate all share.

We could also add an HP-MSA20 with a bunch of SATA disk on our DL380 and use that for the file server data. But again what about redundancy ?

What is the best solution ? What do you guys suggest ?

Thank you.

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4 Replies
Rob_Bohmann1
Expert
Expert

I think you need to define your recovery point obejective and recovery time objective for the data that is on that file server.

Are you backing this up to tape? If so, then having redundant SAN's may be overkill.

Look at your data and determine what levels of recovery are needed. That will help you determine a solution. It could be that only a portion needs to be on redundant storage.

If so you can present a plan that says "We can have this amount of redundancy for $xxxxx and if you want everything to be redundant then that will cost $yyyyyy"

Since you are already replicating some VMs, it ,may be that only a small portion of that data has High Availability needs and you can spin up a small file server on your existing hosts and replicate that.

Not knowing the details I am just taking a shot and suggesting another way to look at the problem.

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SRENMAN
Contributor
Contributor

Hey there,

Budgets make things tough!

Do we virtualize? have you ever used Vcenter converter standard? If the load your about to virtualize will fit on one of the DL380's, I personally would do it. You could even do a practice run for testing after hours, run the convert P2V, turn down the physical machine, fire up the new VM and test away. (make sure to have good backups before attempting this)

How can a SAN be redundant? Using a san such as the MSA2000, EVA4400, IBM dS3400 or DS4700 with dual controllers is a start. Redundant is a bit vague...Sure you can using disk sparring, Raid, switches and the dual controller option to make the SAN as redundat as possible. I did a lot of research into SAN's (iScsi, FC) and from what the experts tell me, the only single point of failure is the midplane in a SAN, other than multi drive failure or the equipment being in a disaster of some sort. If things are that important as far as recovey time, availabiltity etc, you might need to peace of mind of a second SAN of site.

SANs are expensive...Do you need the speed? have you looked at NAS? thats cheaper slower storage which buying two of them would be much cheaper than SAN's

What about DAS on your existing 380's or are they near End of life?

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Texiwill
Leadership
Leadership

Hello,

First, we are a school with a tight budget.

Currently we have VMWare Foundation ESX 3.5 (no vmotion, ha...) running on 3 DL380 G3 servers. All local storage. 600gb on each.

No money to upgrade to standard/enterprise.

Do you have money to purchase any new hardware?

We have an old file server running out of space and we need to remediate the situation ASAP.

Do we virtualizes ? If we do we will need an NFS SAN with 1TB of storage minimum for the file-server.

But we also want redundancy, how can the SAN be redundant ? Without having to buy two SAN ?

Perhaps not. Sounds like you need minimally 1TB of disk for the VM? Is this correct?

For your information, we have a standby DL380 G3 that replicate our Exchange and SQL server with vreplicator.

You could do this as well with a fileserver. Sounds like you do not need immediate recovery? Is this correct? As you only capture a point in time backup with vReplicator.

Another simple solution would be two buy two servers with 1TB of space and use Windows DFS to replicate all share.

You could

We could also add an HP-MSA20 with a bunch of SATA disk on our DL380 and use that for the file server data. But again what about redundancy ?

Your backup DL380 would need the identical disk space.

What is the best solution ? What do you guys suggest ?

If it was me, I would as stated in other posts, define what you mean by redundancy. How much down time can you afford? If it is the same as what you do with vReplicator you could just use a pair of MSA20s and use vReplicator to replicate the VM. If you need or want to switch to some sort of shared storage you could easily create an inexpensive iSCSI/NFS Server using Openfiler and spare hardware. I.e. That out of disk system and the MSA20 perhaps if it has the appropriate SCSI/RAID controller. Then present this shared disk to both ESX hosts.

Backups of this data would have to be fairly regular.

Please define your DR requirements. Having a 'SAN' or NAS device does not necessarily improve redundancy unless you have mirroring and multiple NAS or SAN devices in use. WHich is very costly.


Best regards,

Edward L. Haletky

VMware Communities User Moderator

====

Author of the book 'VMWare ESX Server in the Enterprise: Planning and Securing Virtualization Servers', Copyright 2008 Pearson Education.

Blue Gears and SearchVMware Pro Blogs: http://www.astroarch.com/wiki/index.php/Blog_Roll

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--
Edward L. Haletky
vExpert XIII: 2009-2021,
VMTN Community Moderator
vSphere Upgrade Saga: https://www.astroarch.com/blogs
GitHub Repo: https://github.com/Texiwill
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bonald
Contributor
Contributor

In case of a disaster we need to be up in a 1 hour maximum.

If my server hosting my SQL VM crash, I just start up the VM that was replicated with vreplicator on the spare server, and couple of minutes later I am up.

I've lost a couple of transaction but that's fine for us.

Also, We have a 4k$-5k$ budget

We cannot host the fileserver on our DL380 because there would not be enough local storage on it.

I just found out that a MSA20 (DAS) is 3k$ with no disk , I need two. no budget.

I did a test with a Terastation 2 RAID0 we had here as an NFS NAS.

It works, but kind of slow, 20 MB/sec read, 15MB/sec write. 13.8ms access time.

After your reading I beleive that two entry level server with 1tb using Windows DFS is the cheapest and most redundant way of doing it.

Maybe someone have other ideas?

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