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I have been work with VMware ESX since 2.5.2. I have 4 ESX host using DAS at one of our smaller datacenters. I am now tasked with planning our VMware environment in our main datacenter. The ESX servers will be connected into our SAN(XP12000). I am looking to take advantage of VMotion, HA, and DRS. I actually have two server tied into the SAN for testing so I am familiar with VMotion, etc. Here is question....What hardware do I purchase.....

I have been looking at the following hardware...We are an HP shop..

DL 360 G5...seems good except for the fact that you only get 2 PCI Express slots. One for the fiber card and one for the NIC.....if I need to add additional network card I do not have an option

DL380 G5 - seems like the best option

ML 370 G5- seems like a little over kill. It give me two extra PCI-Express slots but I think 4 is plenty with the DL380 G5

ML 570 G4...perfect but out of the price range

BL20p-my second choice. Same limit as the DL360 G5...no pci expansion slots

I am also looking for opinions about running more smaller esx servers(2 proc) vs less bigger esx servers(4 proc).

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esiebert7625
Immortal
Immortal

I like the DL380 and DL385 servers, they are only slightly more expensive then the DL360 server and alot more expandable. We have a bunch of the DL385 servers and they perform very well with ESX. We configured ours with 2 dual-core AMD Opteron processors and 16GB of memory, we went with the faster memory which reduces the total memory of the server from 32GB to 16GB. We also filled all the drive slots with 15K 146GB SCSI drives. The new servers with SAS drives also perform great, I just setup a DL385 G2 with SAS drives and it is working great.

Managing a Virtualized Proliant Environment - http://www.vmware-tsx.com/download.php?asset_id=18

HP VMware Platform Choice and Business Continuity - http://www.vmware-tsx.com/download.php?asset_id=17

VMware ESX Server: A comprehensive guide to how ESX virtualizes HP ProLiant servers - http://h20331.www2.hp.com/ActiveAnswers/downloads/vmwareESXserver_virtualize_ProLiant_1005.pdf

HP ProLiant server sizer for VMware ESX Server - http://h71019.www7.hp.com/activeanswers/cache/120132-0-0-0-121.html

IT Consolidation using VMware CapacityPlanner on HP ProLiant servers - http://h71019.www7.hp.com/ActiveAnswers/cache/70314-0-0-225-121.html?jumpid=reg_R1002_USEN

HP Vmotion Compatibility Matrix - http://h18004.www1.hp.com/products/servers/software/vmware/hpvmotion-compatibility-matrix.html

Fyi…if you find this post helpful, please award points using the Helpful/Correct buttons.

-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-==-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-

Thanks, Eric

Visit my website: http://vmware-land.com

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View solution in original post

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29 Replies
buckethead
Hot Shot
Hot Shot

We have been using the DL385G2 and DL585G2. I like both boxes a lot. We also have some DL380 G5's and they perform well but as a whole we just feel like VMware runs better on the AMD than Intel. There is no scientific reason for us to thing that.

I am starting to lean more towards the 2 processor dual core boxes as opposed to the 4 processor dual core boxes. We are having great success with both,but the bottom line is that with a DL385 crashing less virtual machines go down.

It also comes down to price. Based on your selection I would choose the DL380 but there are options where you could make the DL360 work depending on price and level of HA that you want. Instead of 4 DL380's you could buy like 5 or 6 DL360's. You loose the dual NIC and dual hba but potentially you have an extra server in the equation. I haven't' quite convinced myself this is a real alternative, but we have tossed the idea around.

whynotq
Commander
Commander

I personally like the DL380 G5, it's nice and compact easy to work with and scalable.

as regards the number of processors it will depend on what you plan to run in your VMs. i see lots of users going quad duals and then all the VMs are single CPU, the stats show loads of free CPU cycles but it's memory that gets constrained.

my preference, cost dependant would be 2 CPU dual cored with as much memory as you can squeeze in.

esiebert7625
Immortal
Immortal

I like the DL380 and DL385 servers, they are only slightly more expensive then the DL360 server and alot more expandable. We have a bunch of the DL385 servers and they perform very well with ESX. We configured ours with 2 dual-core AMD Opteron processors and 16GB of memory, we went with the faster memory which reduces the total memory of the server from 32GB to 16GB. We also filled all the drive slots with 15K 146GB SCSI drives. The new servers with SAS drives also perform great, I just setup a DL385 G2 with SAS drives and it is working great.

Managing a Virtualized Proliant Environment - http://www.vmware-tsx.com/download.php?asset_id=18

HP VMware Platform Choice and Business Continuity - http://www.vmware-tsx.com/download.php?asset_id=17

VMware ESX Server: A comprehensive guide to how ESX virtualizes HP ProLiant servers - http://h20331.www2.hp.com/ActiveAnswers/downloads/vmwareESXserver_virtualize_ProLiant_1005.pdf

HP ProLiant server sizer for VMware ESX Server - http://h71019.www7.hp.com/activeanswers/cache/120132-0-0-0-121.html

IT Consolidation using VMware CapacityPlanner on HP ProLiant servers - http://h71019.www7.hp.com/ActiveAnswers/cache/70314-0-0-225-121.html?jumpid=reg_R1002_USEN

HP Vmotion Compatibility Matrix - http://h18004.www1.hp.com/products/servers/software/vmware/hpvmotion-compatibility-matrix.html

Fyi…if you find this post helpful, please award points using the Helpful/Correct buttons.

-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-==-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-

Thanks, Eric

Visit my website: http://vmware-land.com

-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-==-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-

View solution in original post

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VirtualNoitall
Virtuoso
Virtuoso

Hello,

How many ESX hosts are you talking about? The HP C class blades are the perfect platform for virtualizing when you have a SAN. There is the chassis though with costs but if you will be filling it out, or getting even close, they can actually come in cheaper when you consider all TCO factors.

We went with the BL685c but you could look at the BL465c for the smaller server requirement you mentioned below. You could get 16 of those in a 10 U chassis.

We like AMD for our ESX servers so what ever way you go have a look at the \[DL\ML\BL] xx5. The DL385 is a very well rounded box

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MattG
Expert
Expert

We prefer the AMD HP servers as well for ESX. Just as someone else said, have not crunched the numbers, but Opteron's memory handling and lack of Front Bus limitations guarantee me the fastest memory access times, which when you are loading a server with at least 16GB of memory is important.

Last year we ordered 3 x DL585 Quad Dual Core boxes with 16GB memory. We are in the process of upgrading them to 32GB each as they are underutilized CPU wise.

Later this year we will be going with the new DL-385 G2's with the AMD quad cores. Because of licensing, both MS DataCenter (unlimited Microsoft OS' on the box) and VMWare licensing per socket, we will only be ordering quad cores moving forward. The DL-385 G2's have 4 PCI slots, 8 SAS disks, and can be had with 16GB memory without breaking the bank. Where as in the past we would order 1 x 585, in the future we will buy 2 x 385's.

-MattG

-MattG If you find this information useful, please award points for "correct" or "helpful".
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CoreyIT
Enthusiast
Enthusiast

Our approach seems to differs slightly from what most are doing. For our new 3.01 environment we are looking at bringing in single quad core machines with 16gb of ram. One license will allow us two physical machines in such a case. By the time you max the ram you would be getting close to consuming 1/2 to 3/4 of the available CPU. We plan on leaving available memory so this then leaves room to take on a couple more vm's easily with the available cpu capacity. We can purchase a cluster of 6-8 hosts in such a configuration and we are utilizing Enterprise so we have the HA options enabled on the cluster. This will allow us to drop about 50-70 physicals.

One of the biggest things I hear people say is: Ya but if you lose a cpu the whole box goes down. Valid point, but when is the last time you had a cpu fail? chances these days seem to be about 1 in a 100. Its a slim chance but a possibility none the less. You have more available boxes to take on the load of one failed host AND you are getting more bang for your buck buying one license pack for two phsyical boxes in which many cases a single server with 2xcpu is never run at capacity anyways, depending on your environment and how you look at.

The point of virtualizing is to reduce the amount of hardware yes but in some environments other approaches make sense as well.

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admin
Immortal
Immortal

Afraid to say I recently checked with VMware and was told authoritively that this setup broke the EULA. I've read the licensing agreement thoroughly and personally think it could be interprited either way if it came to a court of law, but the official line is that it is not allowed to use a single 2CPU ESX3 license to license two single CPU installations of ESX.

Not saying that I agree with this stance, this is just what I've been told after much investigation.

p.s. despite the EULA, it works....

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VirtualNoitall
Virtuoso
Virtuoso

We did this when we were first using starter licenses and received no indication we were breaking any EULA rules. Can anyone from VMware clarify this?

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CoreyIT
Enthusiast
Enthusiast

It was actually a vmware rep that told me that this was okay. Could you imagine a customer who went and bought, lets just say 50 licenses and then were told after installing that this was not allowed, and it is not specifically stated otherwise anywhere? That would be a big time law suite.

Like mitell says though, it can be interpreted either way I guess. But I dont see the problem with it. VMWare is making their money on the software, so what do they care if it gets run on one or two pieces of hardware? If the customer was only going to buy one license to begin with. If they didnt allow it, than in my opinion that is pure greed, and I will tell you right now, they would lose a lot of perspective customers over something so foolish.

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esiebert7625
Immortal
Immortal
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VirtualNoitall
Virtuoso
Virtuoso

I'll wait to get the word from our VMware Rep on this one. I'll report back with what I find out

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CoreyIT
Enthusiast
Enthusiast

Please do.

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esiebert7625
Immortal
Immortal

I've posted this topic in the moderators forum to try and get a VMware response to this post.

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CoreyIT
Enthusiast
Enthusiast

Thanks esiebert. Even though a VMWare rep is who told me this was possible, dosent mean they are necessarily right. Will be good to have confirmed before we start down that road.

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esiebert7625
Immortal
Immortal

No problem, you're exactly right, one VMware's rep interpretation of this doesn't necessarily mean he is correct. It's best if someone who knows for sure responds.

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VirtualNoitall
Virtuoso
Virtuoso

Cool! Thanks.

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adolopo
Enthusiast
Enthusiast

If price wasn't an issue, I think everyone and their mom would be using DL58x's, but for the price and flexibility, you can't go wrong with DL38x's.

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renehasp
Enthusiast
Enthusiast

I am using 3 dl380 G5 with two populated pci slots loaded with dual nic cards.

I also have one extra dl380g5 incase of an emergency sitting in the closet. I will be hooking that up in the upcoming weeks.

I discipline my self to use only 60% of each of the servers. So that I can always vmotion my vm's off to the other two.

Over all, I give the DL380g5 a thumbs up..

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CoreyIT
Enthusiast
Enthusiast

Any official word on the use of a single license on two physical hosts?

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