samwyse
Enthusiast
Enthusiast

Wanted: design ideas for a virtual datacenter

I'm interested in creating an "instant-on" data center composed of a number of existing virtual appliances. Please note that I am less interesting in specific appliances that in how to connect everything together. Ideally, this "thing" could run on a single multi-core/multi-processor server with at least two NICs. A firewall appliance would connect an externally facing NIC to a VMnet DMZ with attached appliances for web, email, DNS, etc. Addtional appliances would provide intranet services on a distinct VMnet bridged to the internally-facing NIC.

FYI, this whitepaper describes something similar but much, much larger than what I want:

http://www.vmware.com/community/thread.jspa?threadID=59340&tstart=0

Has anyone designed anything similar to this? If so, are you willing to share your experiences? If not, do you have any blue-sky ideas to toss into the mix? Thanks!

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8 Replies
Nementis
Enthusiast
Enthusiast

Can you wait a couple of weeks ?

just waiting to receive from Dell a brand new 2900 server with two dual core processors, 4 GB RAM, 510 GB hard disk space to implement exactly what you described to be used as an environment for small offices (think 5/25 users range).

All VMs will be based on MS operating systems and services (ISA, Exchange, SQL Server, IIS, MOM etc...)

If interested will keep posting my progress alogside help requests Smiley Happy

Antonello

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samwyse
Enthusiast
Enthusiast

On the one hand, I personally am more interested in using FOSS-based appliances rather than propriatary, but then the things that I'm most interested in finding out about are independent of the actuall appliances being used. SOHO is definitly the range of users that I'm thinking about, and I've been looking at a Dell 2950 with dual quad-core Xenons. So, yes, I am interested in hearing about your progress.

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Nementis
Enthusiast
Enthusiast

It seems that some components of the PE2900 I've ordered are missing from the production lines so the shipment of the test server has been further delayed. Meanwhile I post here the basic ideas of my virtual datacenter hoping for comments/suggestions....

Hardware:

Server with dual dual core xeon, 4 GByte RAM, 4 146GByte SAS Disks, 2 72Gbyte SAS Disks, 1 DAT72, 4 GBit network cards.

Based on the low requirements of the environment where this is giong to be installed I planned to configure the 4 146 GB disks in RAID5 for VMs and leave the two small ones in mirror to host VMware ESX plus some extra storage. The low requirements should also allow to have "minimal" configuration for memory in each virtual machine.

VM architecture:

1 VM for ISA 2006, 1 virtual processor 256 MB ram, 30 GB disk.

1 VM for DC/SQL Server (I know this is not recomended by Microsoft, but we're talking about 50 or so users...), 1 virtual processor, 768 MB ram, 100 GByte disk.

1 VM for IIS Server, 1 Virtual Processor, 512 MBram, 30 GB disk. This VM will run share point portal services.

1 VM for Exchange Server, 1 virtual processor, 1 GB ram, 150 GB disk.

1 VM for WSUS & network services (fle & print), 1 virtual processor, 512 MB ram, 100GB disk.

1 VM for test or backup services, 1 virtual processor, 256 MB ram 30 GB disk.

One of the 4 network cards will be reserved for the external interface of ISA VM. Second network card will be connected to the itnernal DMZ virtual switch that connects ISA DMZ interface, IIS VM and Exchange VM. This way we can add other computers to the DMZ. Third network card is for ISA internal interface, where the DC and network services VMs are connected to and where office lan must plug in. 4th network card can be used iether as a specific connection for the test/backup VM or for redundancy with the 3rd card.

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wendy
Contributor
Contributor

This sounds like a great idea. May I ask, are you planning on building these virtual datacenters as "hosting businesses." One of you mentioned that SOHO is the target for this...so what virtual appliances will you offer- other than the basic MS stuff?

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Nementis
Enthusiast
Enthusiast

The basic Idea from my point of view is to suggest this architecture as the business infrastructure for companies. Many of my customers (small companies in the italian market) have a mess of hardware and software they manage with great wasting of resources, time and money.

The idea is to go to the computer room of these companies (often a simple empty office used for storage space too...) clean up all boxes and put in there a single "pre configured" IT infrastructure providing core network services (mail, collaboration, intranet, internet, file & print) in a way that is also easy to remotely administer.

After that if the customer requires something specific simply add RAM and disk space for new virtual machines. Due to MS licensig, and since my knowledge of Linux world is very limited, I think that will be quite hard to develop a set of pre configured MS virtual appliances.....

BTW the server arrived and I'm beginning to build up the configuration.... not surprisingly everything up to now worked as expected Smiley Happy

regards,

Antonello

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JDLangdon
Expert
Expert

Your VM architecture section is starting to sound like my datacenter.

Have you considered adding a Red Hat server with Nagios and Cacti to monitor the VM's?

Jason

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Nementis
Enthusiast
Enthusiast

Hi Jason,

As stated in my last post I've little knowledge of linux world. What I did not mention in the list of VMs is one with MS MOM workgroup edition. The basic idea here (in the license point of view) is that all software in the datacenter is included in one subscription to MS Action Pack. MOM should be more than enough to monitor the servers I plan to use. But I'll appreciate any reference to the products you've listed to see if they offer some enhanced functionality.

Antonello

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JDLangdon
Expert
Expert

"Nagios is an open source host, service and network monitoring program." It can be found at www.nagios.org.

Cacti on the other hand "is a complete network graphing solution". It can be found at www.cacti.net.

Jason

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