3 Replies Latest reply on Feb 27, 2012 4:28 AM by avasile1

    New Setup

    avasile1 Lurker

      Hello

      I was wondering if anyone can provide some feedback regarding a new setup - I applogize if this is a repeating question.

      I need to virtualize a small business - 2 DCs, 1 FileServer, 1 WebServer, 1 AV Servers and few more application servers, probably a total of ten. However, the usage is really low and the most that gets used is the file server.

      My budget is about 15-20k and I can reuse one of the existing servers as a backup solution - enough storage, hardware raid, etc

      My question is what hardware to purchase as the main server and what to use as the storage; or I could use the storage that comes with the server itself and replicate to the backup server - that would work too.

      Then, how about networking - do I need to dedicate a NIC for each server or I can use a good NIC card on the main server that will handle all the load.

       

      I appreciate the help.

      AV

        • 1. Re: New Setup
          Mike Brown Expert

          Hi AV,

           

          This is a really broad question, but we'll definitely do our best.

           

          What existing physical servers do you have? Please be specific.  Include size, type, and speed of hard drives, RAID controllers, NICs, RAM, etc.  Are there still servers under warranty?

           

          What operating systems are you running? How much space is each disk using for OS and data?

           

          What existing switching and cabling do you have in place for your servers? Model numbers on switches would be nice.  Are these switches still under warranty?

           

          Is anything virtualized, yet? If so, what and how?

           

          Who will be administering this environment day-to-day? It's important to implement a design that can be maintained.  If there aren't dedicated, knowledgeable IT folks within 100 miles, this may affect the design choices.

           

          What kind of backups does the company need?  How many backups do they want to do each day and how long will they be kept?  Do you have existing bakcup solutions? If so, what software/hardware do you use and what is the schedule?

           

          What software, specifically, is in use? What web server are they running? What AV server?  What kind of application servers are they running? For instance, are they home-grown custom applications or commercial and if so, what? Do you have any applications that are bound to physical hardware like MAC addresses requirements?

           

          What kind of up-time does the company expect?

           

          The idea here is to get an idea of what you have that you can use and that will be supported and what else you may need.

           

          Cheers,

           

          Mike

           

          http://VirtuallyMikeBrown.com

          https://twitter.com/#!/VirtuallyMikeB

          http://LinkedIn.com/in/michaelbbrown

           

          Message was edited by: VirtuallyMikeB

          -----------------------------------------

          Please consider marking this answer "correct" or "helpful" if you found it useful (you'll get points too).

          Mike Brown
          VMware, Cisco Data Center, and NetApp dude
          Sr. Systems Engineer
          michael.b.brown3@gmail.com
          Twitter: @VirtuallyMikeB
          Blog: http://VirtuallyMikeBrown.com
          LinkedIn: http://LinkedIn.com/in/michaelbbrown
          • 2. Re: New Setup
            Mike Brown Expert

            Hey AV,

             

            Thanks for the post.  I got some enjoyable hours out of looking up hardware solutions for you.  Now, this is just a quick rundown of hardware possibilities, but the real design can and should take considerably more time.  A good design will take into account all the finer details.  You want to be sure to plan out everything from which port plugs into which port to how each port is configured, to IP addresses, expected loads, estimated overheads, my goodness, that's not even the beginning.  The questions I posted earlier are just to whet your appetite.  Check out Scott Lowe's VMware vSphere Design for things to think about: http://blog.scottlowe.org/2011/01/31/announcing-vmware-vsphere-design/  Keep in mind that if you can avoid it, never have a single point of failure.  Make everything redundant.

             

            Without knowing more about your situation and assuming a bunch, I'd recommend iSCSI or NFS storage.  It's cheaper and easier to setup than fibre channel, especially with CCNA level knowledge.  I've worked with Dell/EMC AX100 entry-level storage arrays using fibre channel, iSCSI, and NFS, Dell MD3000 direct-attached SAS disk shelves, and medium-sized NetApp FAS3240 and FAS3270 controllers with SAS and SATA shelves using iSCSI and NFS, both in active-active HA pairs.  Since your requirements likely won't require the benefits of fibre channel, iSCSI or NFS will work fine.  This will also keep your costs lower.

             

            So initially, there's something like the Dell PowerVault MD3200i.  (No, actually, I just looked up the price.  They start at nearly $20,000! That's insane!) So, quickly moving on...

             

            I've been impressed with NetApp so far.  Their entry-level storage system I'd recommend is something like the FAS2040.  They start at $7,500, but will likely jump up when you add a second, redundant controller and set up an active-active HA pair (remember, redundancy is good!).  You can get maybe 2 - 10 TB out of a lower end FAS2040 configuration, depending on how you choose to populate the 12 disk slots and the RAID type (use RAID-DP).  Of course, these will support FC (1, 2, or 4Gb), iSCSI, and NFS.

             

            EMC has their entry-level CLARiiON AX4 that supports iSCSI, as well.  I haven't used any of EMC's newer models, so I can't really speak to them.  Needless to say, EMC is one of the market leaders for a reason.  This particular model starts at $8,600. You can get similar disk capacity as with NetApp depending on the same factors - minus RAID-DP.  I think the AX4 is a few years old, but their new entry-level line is the VNXe.  I don't know much about that, though.

             

            Then there's the do-it-yourself SAN/NAS solutions from QNap, Iomega, and Synology.  You can buy rackmounted disk shelves for around $2,000, then spend another $1,000 at least on drives.  These units will support iSCSI and NFS and the popular RAID types, but don't expect the same level of management or disaster recovery, snapshots, backups, etc. as companies like NetApp or EMC.

             

            QNap: http://www.amazon.com/Network-Attached-Redundant-TS-859U-RP--US/dp/B004DEW6HY/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1330245759&sr=8-3

            Synology: http://www.amazon.com/Synology-RackStation-Diskless-Rackmount-RS2211/dp/B004P4GWAO/ref=sr_1_1?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1330245567&sr=1-1

             

            Then there's your switching.  If you can afford it, I'd buy something like a Cisco 3560, mainly for the inter-vlan routing.  I don't know how many VLANs you're running there, but I think this is about the cheapest Cisco switch that supports layer 3 switching with high port density.  A 24 port model starts at about $2,100 while a similar Dell PowerConnect 6224 starts at $2,500.  Jumping up to a 48 port 3560 you're looking at $3,500.  If you don't feel you need layer 3 routing, a Cisco 2960 will likely cost you less than $1,000.  If you eventually want to migrate to VLANs, then you can add in a cheap Cisco 1800 series router for about the same price as the 2960, more or less.

             

            And then there's your actual virtualization licenses from VMware.  I'd suggest something like Essentials Plus.  This will give you the important features like HA and vMotion.  The Essentials Plus license will get you up to three ESXi hosts and a vCenter Server license and costs about $5,500.  If you don't want HA or vMotion (which will likely result in more virtual machine downtime for maintenance, upgrades, and patches) then an Essentials license is less than $600.  If you get the Essentials kit, you also don't require shared storage.  So then you can kick around the idea of only using storage local to each server and eliminating thousands of dollars in hardware costs at the expense of downtime.  Then again, if you're only using Essentials with three hosts or less and no shared storage, you may as well use the free ESXi version and manage each host individually, saving you even more money.

             

            So you're maybe looking at most - not including servers - using close to $20,000 for shared storage, VMware licenses, and a switch.  You could cut that down a bit, if you'd like, by using the cheaper storage solutions such as QNap, Synology, and Iomega.

             

            The big thing here is whether or not your existing servers are going to do well as ESXi hosts.

             

            I hope this has given you some options and something to think about.  Your project sounds fun. I hope you learn a lot and do well!

             

            Cheers,

             

            Mike

             

            http://VirtuallyMikeBrown.com

            https://twitter.com/#!/VirtuallyMikeB

            http://LinkedIn.com/in/michaelbbrown

            -----------------------------------------

            Please consider marking this answer "correct" or "helpful" if you found it useful (you'll get points too).

            Mike Brown
            VMware, Cisco Data Center, and NetApp dude
            Sr. Systems Engineer
            michael.b.brown3@gmail.com
            Twitter: @VirtuallyMikeB
            Blog: http://VirtuallyMikeBrown.com
            LinkedIn: http://LinkedIn.com/in/michaelbbrown
            • 3. Re: New Setup
              avasile1 Lurker

              Mike

              First of all I would like to thank you for the effort of looking all that information up and taking the time to answer my question. It is indeed a broad question but in our fast and crazy times it is much easier to get an oppinion first and then start working and researching in the right directions.

              To answer your questions:

                • This project will have the end user a small business with baiscally 0 or no IT knowledge at all; at least in virtualization; I will be around to help but not all the time. So the easy of use will be important
                • Servers; I intent to use a Dell Power Edge 2900 , tower as teh backup server. RAID in hardware, 2 NICs, 4 GB of RAM but I can bump that up, I think 2 processors, Standard SATA driver and the server is still in warranty and will be mantained like that.
                • Cabling; not sure why this will be important; the way I envisioned I will plug the virtualized server into our existing swithces without the need for an additional switch; so basically ritgh now we are using 3Com swithces , 100 that are VLAN capable
                • One or 2 applications are virtualized but I should be able to port that over
                • We have a Dell LTO tape drive that we use with Symantec BEX
                • We are using a standard IIS webserver, Symantec EndPoint as the AV solution

               

              That's about a quick summary - you are correct about redundancy. This is the only reason I want to make sure I design this properly.

              Thank you again - I will look over and pick a good storage.

              What about a server that will act as the main Virtual host? I was looking at Dell systems since I worked with them and I know them.