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kristiaan_d
Contributor
Contributor

Planning to Virtualize and need some help and input

Hi everyone, i am having some problems getting my head around this situation and need some help in planning this and some guidance into what i need to get etc.

at present our company has a small set of production servers, webserver, database server, mailserver, fileserver. i want to virtualize all these systems so that no matter what really happens (software fault hardware failure) they keep on going.

i was thinking about setting up 2 VMWare ESX servers one as the "main" server running everything and the second one as a failover server, whats the best way todo this with VMWare? does VMWare have the ability todo this out of the box or do i need to install third party applications etc?

any advice would be great even if you have a better idea for a solution, i am trying to cover High avalialbility and Disaster revcovery all in one go if possible?

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6 Replies
aldin
Enthusiast
Enthusiast

kristian,

you should first read this

you can accomplish High avalialbility with HA cluster with 2 esx servers. I think it is bether solution for you that both esx run some machines and one esx can be failover server for other esx in HA cluster.

more details on HA cluster

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weinstein5
Immortal
Immortal

I would set your two ESX Servers as HA/DRS cluster - HA will provide you with your high availability - if there is a hardware failure - an ESX server crash - the Virtual Machines (VM) that were running on the host would restart on the remaining host - but be aware there would be some down time (1-2 minutes) as the VM would restart on the remaining node. DRS would allows you to utilize both servers - balancing the load across both servers to insure the VMs receive the proper resources -

My advice if you can is attend a VMware class - to install ESX and Virtual Center is very easy but understanding how it all works together including shared storage, resources and networking will insure a successful implementation -

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jrenton
Hot Shot
Hot Shot

Once you have your HA/DRS cluster setup to provide resillience in you prod environment you could use a 3rd party replication tool to replicate your VMs to another site for Disaster Recovery. Vizioncore's ESX Replicator will do this in real time. Alternatively you could use VMWare VCB to backup the VM images from your production site and copy these backups to storage on your disaster recovery site. It is then a simple process in a disaster to recover your system from the previous evening's backup onto ESX hosts at your recovery site.

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jayolsen
Expert
Expert

Just remember you will need shared storage for HA.

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esiebert7625
Immortal
Immortal

Alot will depend on how much money you have to spend. If you want to use the HA feature which will protect you in the event of server hardware failure then you will need shared storage. Shared storage can get expensive if you go the SAN route but iSCSI and NFS alternatives will work OK. If you simply want to replicate your VM's from one server to another to use as more of a DR solution then you can look at some of the ESX replication products like vReplicator, DoubleTake, PowerConvert, LeoStream P>V Direct or there are even some scripts you can run to do this. The HA route will get you back up quicker in case of a server failure but won't protect you in case of shared storage failure. The replication route will get you a redundant copy of your VM's but will take longer to recover from a failure. You can also do a mixed approach by using shared storage and then making copies of your VM's to local storage as a DR backup.

Also if you go the shared storage route you can utilize DRS which will let you load balance your VM's between ESX servers and also vMotion so you can move VM's from server to server while running in case you need to shutdown one server for maintenance.

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khughes
Virtuoso
Virtuoso

I think everyone has pounded the point into the ground that HA/DRS would be a better way to go for your enviroment instead of 1 live server and 1 backup server. Splitting them up across the 2 servers would allow you to keep 1/2 of your servers up in case of a hardware problem and HA would bring the other servers up onto the other server. Another point is if you don't already have a SAN, you will need to get one for this sort of setup. If you don't have one there is a lot of overhead you need to cover to make this all work.

By all means I think it's worth the money but you really need to sit down and figure out what you will need and how much money you're willing to invest in a project like this and what you'll gain down the road.

-- Kyle "RParker wrote: I guess I was wrong, everything CAN be virtualized "
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