jrj8541
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Contributor

VMWare ESX Upgrade

Thanks for reading and offering support!

My company has recently begun toying with VMWare and I was lucky enough (seriously) to be selected to be our quasi ESX admin. I used this site and numerous white papers to build a basic ESX implementation to get our feet wet and show the bosses and execs what this can do.

I originally made my goal to virtualize any machines that were going out of life out of warranty that also made good virtualization candidates. Using those servers and a few others I have grown the ESX server to host 8 guest machines and have seemed to shine a positive light on server virtualization (and not get fired). Budget time is upon us and because I have eliminated some overhead cost and warranty fees, I am being given an ESX upgrade budget.

I wanted to inquire as to how you think the money would be best spent. I see the goals of the ESX server growing and I have even pitched the idea of virtualizing all of our domain controllers on site (14 or so in total). As you can see from the current infrastructure below, the box I have isn't going to support these needs and I need more space. We are a Dell only shop, so anything I buy has to come from Dell/EMC or be available through Softchoice.

Current Infrastructure:

Dell PowerEdge 2650

2x 2.4 GHz CPU

8 GB RAM

140 GB Datastore

2 Network VLANs

2 GB nics

VI3 2 Proc License with iSCSI SAN and NAS (standard I think)

Wants...

1x Dell PowerEdge 6950 (maybe 2 for VMOTION and patching)

4x Dual Core Procs

24 GB RAM

SAN/NAS/iSCSI??

Anyways my budget is about 50K so I wanted to find out what people would recommend that I look into for the upgrade.

Any help is very much appreciated!

Thanks!

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9 Replies
Ken_Cline
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I'm assuming the 6950 is a quad-socket box? If so, rather than one quad-socket with 24GB you may want to consider three dual-socket with 8-16GB of RAM. This will split the workload (fewer eggs in each basket) and probably not impact your budget too much.

As for storage - I would recommend FC SAN or iSCSI. While lots of folks here are using NAS, I would not recommend that as a new install solution. Even though there aren't many features that you lose by going NAS (today, it's basically VCB), you never know what future features you may miss out on by not having block-level access to your storage.

HTH,

KLC

Ken Cline VMware vExpert 2009 VMware Communities User Moderator Blogging at: http://KensVirtualReality.wordpress.com/
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jrj8541
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It is a quad socket box. Anyone know what kind of price difference I would be looking at with 2x 4 proc servers + licenses vs 3x 2 proc servers + licenses?

I see your argument for not putting all my eggs in one basket, but in essence that is what we are trying to do. I was just trying to buy a really BIG basket and have 2 of them.

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mreferre
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You can take the licenses out of the equation as they scale linearly based on the # of overall sockets.

This will leave you with the cost of a 2-way Vs cost of a 4-way. More or less I would say that, TOTAL RESOURCES being equal, you could easily buy between 5 and 7 2-socket systems (perhaps more) for the cost of 2 4-socket systems (1 x 4-socket system costs more than 2 x 2-socket systems).

You might want to have a look at this brief redpaper:

http://www.redbooks.ibm.com/abstracts/redp3953.html?Open

I have written it almost 3 years ago but I would say that the main principles still apply.

Massimo.

Massimo Re Ferre' VMware vCloud Architect twitter.com/mreferre www.it20.info
dconvery
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The list price is $5750 US for two sockets. Double that for four sockets. The price difference would be the hardware savings.

Remember that, when you have only two servers, each one must be able to handle the full load of all VMs. This way, if one fails the other does not die of overload.

Dave Convery, VCDX-DCV #20 ** http://www.tech-tap.com ** http://twitter.com/dconvery ** "Careful. We don't want to learn from this." -Bill Watterson, "Calvin and Hobbes"
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dconvery
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Massimo and I seem to have replied at the same time. I bow to the master...

Dave Convery, VCDX-DCV #20 ** http://www.tech-tap.com ** http://twitter.com/dconvery ** "Careful. We don't want to learn from this." -Bill Watterson, "Calvin and Hobbes"
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jrj8541
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Thanks for the article Massimo, I found it very helpful. I think at this point scaling out would be a better approach for me then scaling up. I think 4-6 2x machines will be better for me than the the 2x 4 proc machines. This will give me an opportunity to set up a good HA cluster and allow for patching without having to run each machine at 1/2 capacity.

I guess the only real question I have left is what kind of storage do people recommend? I would be looking at 1-2 TB (probably 1) and would need to be budget minded. The storage would need to attach to all the machines and be able to support VMotion.

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mreferre
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FC would suit but of course it would also cost a premium (not specifically for the storage but for the SAN infrastructure).

Your best option would most probably be a NAS filer (NFS) or an iSCSI storage ..... which would allow you to connect via ethernet thus dramatically reducing costs. Performance might not be the same as for FC but depending on your needs (and your budget!) it might be the most appropriate.

Massimo.

Massimo Re Ferre' VMware vCloud Architect twitter.com/mreferre www.it20.info
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jrj8541
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Thanks again Massimo, after a product demo today from equallogic, I think that may be my best bet. I will try and strecth the budget to include 4x Dell 2950 servers and a PS50E from equallogic.

Thanks again!

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mreferre
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I don't know Equallogic but it seems to pop-up very often on this board as an excellent bargain price/perf and price/features. Based on what I have heard (not seen) you can't go wrong.

Massimo.

Massimo Re Ferre' VMware vCloud Architect twitter.com/mreferre www.it20.info
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