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ScatterBrain
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Graduating from VMware Server to ESXi

As I have stated in another forum, I'm taking my company virtual and am contemplating the proper path. After some thought, I feel that vSphere Essentials Plus may be the "end of the road" for us. That end of the road is several months, if not years, away. What I would like to do is lay out the basic plan here and let you guys and gals look it over and tell me if I'm off track.

Currently we have three hosts, one is running VMware Server 1.02, another is running Server 1.06, the last and newest is running Server 2.01.

I've purchased the newest server along with one other machine that is equivalent in horsepower, just not as much storage. Currently it's sitting unused. So basically I have four machines capable of being host machines. In addition, when I get finished with an Exchange migration, I'll have yet another machine with enough horsepower to be a host.

While I have lots of machines available, I'm thinking I'm only going to be using a total of three machines in the end. The two newest machines and the current Exchange machine. The rest will be moved to other duties or simply done away with (EBAY FTW!!!).

My plan is to install ESXi on the two newest physical machines. Move most, if not all, of my current virtual machines to them. If needed, I'll pull the retired Exchange machine into the mix for a total of three ESXi hosts. For a period of time, I'll simply use ESXi on the hosts and the vShpere Client to control them. When I find this unmanageable, I'll add vSphere Essentials Plus and a SAN to the mix for my final end goal of maximum uptime, fault tolerance and ease of management. Obviously the big stopping point right now is the aquisition of the SAN as that single purchase would consume most of my annual budget.

Anyway, the one thing that I like about running VMware Server vs ESXi is that it runs in such a way that I can directly access the virtual machine's files on the host for backups, etc. From what I can see, if I install ESXi on these hosts, I'll not be able to move, copy, backup the virtual machines in a very easy manner. I've read it can be done with the Remote Command Line Interface, but I'm having a hard time determining if this works with ESXi or not.

So here's my questions:

1). Anyone see anything wrong with the plan?

2). Understanding that I simply can not afford a SAN and vSphere Essentials Plus at this time, is there a way that I can safely access the virtual machines on ESXi for backups? Can this be automated?

3). Looking forward, what's the least expensive, best performing SAN for up to 3 servers? I'm thinking maybe a Dell MD3000 or possibly an EMC PS4000.

Thanks in advance for taking the time to help me.

Kevin L. Collins, MCSE

Systems Manager

Nesbitt Engineering, Inc.

Kevin L. Collins, MCSE Systems Manager Nesbitt Engineering, Inc.
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AntonVZhbankov
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>1). Anyone see anything wrong with the plan?

ESXi does have limited hardware compatibility list, so first you need to ensure ESXi will work on your hardware. HCL is a list of certified hardware, so your host doesn't need to be on HCL, but NIC and RAID cards have to be.

>2). Understanding that I simply can not afford a SAN and vSphere Essentials Plus at this time, is there a way that I can safely access the virtual machines on ESXi for backups? Can this be automated?

Yes, but you still have to buy at least Essentials to use VCB.

>3). Looking forward, what's the least expensive, best performing SAN for up to 3 servers? I'm thinking maybe a Dell MD3000 or possibly an EMC PS4000.

Take a look at IOmega storages.


---

MCSA, MCTS, VCP, VMware vExpert '2009

http://blog.vadmin.ru

EMCCAe, HPE ASE, MCITP: SA+VA, VCP 3/4/5, VMware vExpert XO (14 stars)
VMUG Russia Leader
http://t.me/beerpanda

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jayolsen
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First thing to check would be to make sure your systems are supported for ESXi

http://www.vmware.com/resources/compatibility/search.php

AntonVZhbankov
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>1). Anyone see anything wrong with the plan?

ESXi does have limited hardware compatibility list, so first you need to ensure ESXi will work on your hardware. HCL is a list of certified hardware, so your host doesn't need to be on HCL, but NIC and RAID cards have to be.

>2). Understanding that I simply can not afford a SAN and vSphere Essentials Plus at this time, is there a way that I can safely access the virtual machines on ESXi for backups? Can this be automated?

Yes, but you still have to buy at least Essentials to use VCB.

>3). Looking forward, what's the least expensive, best performing SAN for up to 3 servers? I'm thinking maybe a Dell MD3000 or possibly an EMC PS4000.

Take a look at IOmega storages.


---

MCSA, MCTS, VCP, VMware vExpert '2009

http://blog.vadmin.ru

EMCCAe, HPE ASE, MCITP: SA+VA, VCP 3/4/5, VMware vExpert XO (14 stars)
VMUG Russia Leader
http://t.me/beerpanda
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chaz112182
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take a look at lefthand networks p4000 series. very inexpensive, easy to manage, and scalable.