Opinions on new datacenter configuration

I'm looking to set up a small datacenter configuration and I'm looking for opinions good or bad.

Basically it will be a datacenter with just one 2 node cluster with ESX 4.1 on the servers, vCenter, vMotion, etc.

Servers -  2 Dell PowerEdge 1950 III

Dual 2.66Ghz dual core Zeon processors with 4MB cache

8GB Memory,

2 73GB 15K drives (RAID 1)

2 Onboard Nics (1 GBit)

Broadcom NetXtreme II BCM5709 (Dual 1 GBit with iSCSI)

Datastore - QNAP TS-259 Pro+

1TB(2 x 1000GB - RAID 1) 2-bay 2.5" & 3.5" SATA NAS Server w / Built-in iSCSI Target Service

Datastore switch - Netgear GS108T-200NAS

8x 10/100/1000 Mbps auto sensing Gigabit

IEEE802.3ad Link Aggregation (manual or LACP)

- Both servers will have identical hardware and configuration

- Around 6 Windows 2008 and 2003 VMs will run on the datastore

- One of the VMs will be used as the vCenter server

- I'll be running vMotion, HA, DRS, and DPM

- 1 onboard nic will be used for service console and VMs

- 1 onboard nic will be used for vMotion network (can I simply connect both servers with a crossover network cable?)

- Broadcom NetXtreme II BCM5709 will be used for iSCSI connection with Link Aggregation to the datastore all connected with the Netgear GS108T-200NAS switch (both servers connected to the switch, and then from the switch connected to the datastore)

Please give your opinions on this set up.  I realize it's not the most optimal configuration.  But it's meant to be as cheap as possible, yet functional.

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3 Replies

A couple of recommendations:

1. Memory. I would opt for at least 16 - 32 GB of memory depending on number of VM's you have. Generally the more ram the better. You will run out of memory before CPU resources.

2. NICS. Use 4-6 NICS if possible for security and redundancy. There are numerous posts on NIC configurations.

3. SATA drives. Use SCSI drives if possible. We use SATA for slow storage such as archive and backup. Anything that is I/O intensive will bring you disappointing results.

Good luck with your project.


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You might consider IT in a box. We have deployed similiar solutions for customers of your size.

Buy one or two R510 or similiar. Configure with USB drive for vSphere 4i install and as many drives for storage as desired. We have used single systems for low availability requirements and dual servers with VSA for high availability requirements.

With only 2 hosts, I would remove vCenter and some of the HA compnents and begin with vSphere 4i. As your environment and budget grow, you can then add the other components.

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As i understand you haven’t option to add or modify hardware configuration, so I will give you one recommendation about network configuration

  1. Create 2 vSwitchs: vSwitch0, vSwitch1
  2. In vSwitch0 Create VM networks PortGroup, and Service Console ( for ESXi Management Network )
  3. In vSwitch1 Create 2 VMkernel PortGroup: VMkernel-VMotion, VMkernel-iSCSI
  4. Map both port of you onboard NIC to vSwitch0
  5. Map both port of you Broadcom NIC to vSwitch1
  6. Use NIC Teaming as:

vSwitch0: active-vmnic0


PG-VM’s: active-vmnic0


SC            active-vmnic1


vSwitch1: active-vmnic2


iSCSI        active-vmnic2


VMotion   active-vmnic3


Yuri Semenikhin


vYuri vmlab.ge
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