I'm looking for advice; I have to replace 5 near end of life physical severs and I'm thinking of vitalizing them. Ive talked to Dell about it and they recommend 2950 for the VMs and a MD3000i as the backend.
The current servers are all Windows 2003 and consist of
File server with 500Gb files, low network IO.
IM server, moderate network IO, 100Gb data.
Monitoring server, moderate network IO, 100Gb data
SQL server, moderate network IO,200Gb data.
Blackerry (BES) server, 50 users, 200Gb data
My questions are:
Does the free version of ESXi support multiple volumes?
Should I buy one of the paid for versions?
How should I configure the array? 1 volume or seperate volumes for each VM?
Dell pushes everyone to iSCSI. Do yourself a favor and make sure you research EVERYTHING that goes with iSCSI. Am I saying they are wrong? No. But an MD3000 (non iscsi) you can get for 9 grand with 12 400GB 10k's. Just something to think about. Not saying iSCSI is wrong, just letting you know you dont NEED to get that box, sometimes they make it sound like you have too. If you already have an iSCSI equipment in network than you are fine.
I would get a 2950 with on board 2 nics and a quad port nic card, the intel one they offer. Give every VM their own nic card, you wont need to worry about network i/o with this set up. You would definitly want to create different LUN's for the servers, the SQL box should definitly have raid 10, and the others could prolly go on a RAID 5. There are A LOT of ways to configure your MD3000, without knowing your budget, hard drive selections, etc its tough. The MD3000 will support multiple raid arrays, so you have a raid 5, and raid 10.
Definitly go with the 5x 500GB 10k Sas's. I wouldnt do the 750 satas, definitly not enough speed for the boxes you are running. I would even consider pricing the 15k's, the only reason I say this is because of the SQL box.
You'll be able to run OK with just the free version of ESXi. Have you captured any performance metrics for disk I/O? I'd recommend that and then you'll have a better idea if the spindle count in the MD3000i or whatever unit you get will be sufficient. The 500 GB SAS drives may only be 7200 RPM. ESXi free will support multiple arrays but I would go with single unless you feel you can split the IO to your benefit across multiple arrays. Since you need a 500 GB VMDK for the file server you'll need to create a datastore with a 2 MB block size (4 MB if you expect to expand the VMDK over 512 GB. As already posted, there are other options for iSCSI so you might want to look around a bit more.