AndyK-1
Contributor
Contributor

New to ESX - Lab setup question

Good day,

I'm new to ESX and hands-on SANs work.

I'm trying to put a lab together in order to evaluate/learn/demo all components of VI3 and to build the lab as cheaply as possible but still get decent performance. Like everyone else I'm sure Smiley Happy

We're especially interested in VMotion, HA and DRS. VDI is something we will be looking at right after the lab is built as an add on.

I'm hoping someone can comment on my lab plan, especially in the iSCSI target and switch.

Im looking at 2 ESX servers.

\- dual zeon, 2 SCSI, 4GB RAM, 3 NICs ( 2 bonded perhaps)

\- single zeon, 2 SCSI 4GB RAM, 3 NICs ( 2 bonded perhaps)

(may be differenct clock speeds)

A Fedora based iSCSI target

\- single zeon, 2GB RAM, 2 NICs, 3 SCSI, FC 5

iSCSI software to be selected as yet

A Jumbo Frame switch.

\- nothing selected as yet, perhaps an 8 port switch.

My goal is to keep the iSCSI target to around $2k.

There will be 2 of us working on this and we have lots of learning to do, which is great for us but I want to keep the hardware "mistakes" to a minimum.

Everything I'm looking at will be checked against the compatability guide.

This lab project will lead to a full blown production environment using FC based SANs, beefier servers and more redundancy etc ... in about a years time.

I'd love comments on anything I'm missing or suggestions for improvements. i.e. A second switch or do away with bonded nic cards, can I cheaply add HBA's and keep the price down if they make sense.

Will the FC 5 iSCSI be a real dog performance wise.

I know the performance questions are all relative but as long as I'm not faced with a 3 times I/O hit vs server-internal drives running Mysql and application VM's I'll be happy.

Thanks in advance,

Andy

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3 Replies
oreeh
Immortal
Immortal

- dual zeon, 2 SCSI, 4GB RAM, 3 NICs ( 2 bonded perhaps)

- single zeon, 2 SCSI 4GB RAM, 3 NICs ( 2 bonded perhaps)

depending on your workload 4GB RAM seems a bit low

Will the FC 5 iSCSI be a real dog performance wise.

depending on the iSCSI target FC isn't a good choice, since RH/FC based systems are highly modified

Regarding iSCSI and ESX take a look at the following threads

http://www.vmware.com/community/thread.jspa?messageID=569989

http://www.vmware.com/community/thread.jspa?messageID=558271

http://www.vmware.com/community/thread.jspa?messageID=574005

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AndyK-1
Contributor
Contributor

Thanks for the feedback Oreeh.

We are getting ready to start ordering the hardware and will bump up to 8GB RAM on the two ESX boxes.

I followed up on all threads you linked and there was good info.

For our iSCSI target we are going to start with FC 5 anyhow as that is what we're most comfortable with and install the kernel and compile IET. If this doesn't meet our needs we can still use the hardware and are only out on the time spent. But it does provide a good starting point.

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oreeh
Immortal
Immortal

you're welcome

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