MrFlay
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Contributor

Simple ESX 3i questions

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Hi all,

I apologise in advance for asking what must be frequently asked (or at least too simple Smiley Happy ) questions; I have searched, but I can't seem to find the exact answers.

We're looking at ESX 3i to virtualise some of our existing Citrix servers (HP BL460p's).

1) The server will support up to 32Gb of RAM; can ESX 3i potentially use all of this memory, so we could have (for example only!) 8 VM's with 4Gb of RAM each?

2) Can we run each ESX 3i server individually, or do we need a VI and license server installed somewhere? I know it may be recommended, but is it necessary?

Thanks v much in advance

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dmorgan
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Hot Shot

1) The server will support up to 32Gb of RAM; can ESX 3i potentially use all of this memory, so we could have (for example only!) 8 VM's with 4Gb of RAM each?

More actually... Unless these servers CONSTANTLY use 4GB of RAM, then you could have more than 8 VM's, so long as they all do not wish to use all of the RAM allocated to them at the same time. Same goes for processor power. If you have say, dual quad-core processors in your ESX server, then that is 8 cores. You can give each server a single Virtual CPU, and get more than 8 virtual machines running on that ESX server, because more than likely you arent using 100% of your CPU on each VM all of the time. Thus, you have a lot of wasted CPU cycles. You could easily run 8-12, or maybe even more, virtual machines on that ESX server with 32GB of memory, and 8 processor cores. This is the beauty of virtualization. Now, that isn't to say that you dont have 8 machines that constantly using 50% cpu load and 4GB of memory. In this case, you may still wish to only run 8 virtual machines in this situation.

2) Can we run each ESX 3i server individually, or do we need a VI and license server installed somewhere? I know it may be recommended, but is it necessary?

If you are going to run a single ESX server, then I don't see any need for a VC server. Although the interface is a lot nicer, and is easier to use, no need to spend the cash. If you are running more than one, I would go with a VC license. Do you have to? No, it is definitely not necessary, but if you plan on using any of the features like VMotion, DRS, or HA, then you really need to go with VC. You may wish to check into the Foundation pricing, for smaller starter environments the pricing is a lot easier to swallow, albeit the upgrade path is not as nice down the road.

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8 Replies
patrickds
Expert
Expert

1) yes: ESX 3i/3.5 support up to 256GB RAM, which you can all use for VMs (except a small part for the system itself, and some overhead)

2) have not used 3i yet, but i don't see why not. Just use the VI client to connect to the 3i hosts directly, instead of VC.

RParker
Immortal
Immortal

As patrick said, you can run ESX 3i, but if your machines are individual, you might want to consider 3.5 ESX. The ONLY difference between the two is console or no console. With console you can run agents on the ESX host and communicate via SSH to the machine. With no console, your ability to support the machine is very limited. So ESX 3.5 is a larger install, but it's not huge. They two versions are identical, you don't need 3i, 3.5 will do everything it gives you more flexibility. Also 3i is ONLY supported on Dell 2950 machines, you can't install 3i on everything yet.

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opbz
Hot Shot
Hot Shot

Completelly aggree with you.

ESX 3.5 would be a better option right now. While in ESX 3i you have the remote console ESX 3i its very limited.

Tibble
Contributor
Contributor

1) Some of that memory will be needed for esx itself, but for the most part it will be available for the VMs. Probably around 31.5gigs will be useable

2) You can use 3i individually. You can also download a virtual machine from VMware that will basically replicate the console of normal ESX servers, allowing you to ssh into it. You will not, however, be able to do any worth while diagnostics or troubleshooting from the physical box. This comes in handy if you mess up your network connnection somehow....

dmorgan
Hot Shot
Hot Shot

1) The server will support up to 32Gb of RAM; can ESX 3i potentially use all of this memory, so we could have (for example only!) 8 VM's with 4Gb of RAM each?

More actually... Unless these servers CONSTANTLY use 4GB of RAM, then you could have more than 8 VM's, so long as they all do not wish to use all of the RAM allocated to them at the same time. Same goes for processor power. If you have say, dual quad-core processors in your ESX server, then that is 8 cores. You can give each server a single Virtual CPU, and get more than 8 virtual machines running on that ESX server, because more than likely you arent using 100% of your CPU on each VM all of the time. Thus, you have a lot of wasted CPU cycles. You could easily run 8-12, or maybe even more, virtual machines on that ESX server with 32GB of memory, and 8 processor cores. This is the beauty of virtualization. Now, that isn't to say that you dont have 8 machines that constantly using 50% cpu load and 4GB of memory. In this case, you may still wish to only run 8 virtual machines in this situation.

2) Can we run each ESX 3i server individually, or do we need a VI and license server installed somewhere? I know it may be recommended, but is it necessary?

If you are going to run a single ESX server, then I don't see any need for a VC server. Although the interface is a lot nicer, and is easier to use, no need to spend the cash. If you are running more than one, I would go with a VC license. Do you have to? No, it is definitely not necessary, but if you plan on using any of the features like VMotion, DRS, or HA, then you really need to go with VC. You may wish to check into the Foundation pricing, for smaller starter environments the pricing is a lot easier to swallow, albeit the upgrade path is not as nice down the road.

If you found this or any other post helpful please consider the use of the Helpfull/Correct buttons to award points

If you found this or any other post helpful please consider the use of the Helpfull/Correct buttons to award points

View solution in original post

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azn2kew
Champion
Champion

ESX 3i itself alone cost around $600USD and you don't have the luxury to manage and provision your servers. It is very critical to be able to manage your ESX via service console or VI Client. With 3i you're pretty much limited to what you can do. If you are hosting production Citrix servers I suggest you invest your money wisely with ESX 3.5 to get the most of your money with HA, DRS, VMotion, Update Manager, VCB and Storage Vmotion these tends to be handy and needed. If its a standalone environment and you don't care about Citrix availability and redundancy, than yes you can have it running on ESX 3i no problem its just tough for you to provision. You might be using VMware Converter to provision your virtual machines. You can also manage your server with RCLI appliance too.

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If you found this information useful, please consider awarding points for "Correct" or "Helpful". Thanks!!! Regards, Stefan Nguyen VMware vExpert 2009 iGeek Systems Inc. VMware vExpert, VCP 3 & 4, VSP, VTSP, CCA, CCEA, CCNA, MCSA, EMCSE, EMCISA
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MrFlay
Contributor
Contributor

Thank you, everyone, for the very helpful and insightful replies. You're quite correct, 3i isn't (yet) compatible on our hardware, I'd misread the system requirements PDF (!). We'll go for the Foundation starter pack (there's a nicely-priced bundle available just now) and see how that plans out for us. I wasn't counting on getting all the management components, but I'm sure once we start using them we won't be able to do without them. Thanks again.

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supahted
Enthusiast
Enthusiast

Hi ,

I am curious to you findings in virtualizing Citrix on the HP BL460c blades. Maybe you can share some of your findings?

Thanx!

blog: http://vknowledge.wordpress.com/
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