Depending on the requirements the "right" server for virtualization could be almost any server. So selecting a server to be your virtualization platform is a process that involves answering a variety of quesitons. In this chat we will discuss the most commonly used servers for virtualization and why they are selected. Learning from others and what their experiences have been will be a focus of the chat.

Technical Community - Background Reading

Selecting A Virtualization Server TechCenter Home Page

Server Decision Matrix Wiki

Chat Transcript

DELL-ToddM Hello btucholka - welcome
btucholka Hi there
btucholka first time this formal structure?
DELL-ToddM Not formal - we try to be as informal as possible - but still cover the topic at hand
btucholka ok, and that being virtualization
DELL-ToddM At the appointed time (about20 mins from now) I will intro the topic and see what everybody 's Qs are
DELL-ToddM Topic today is specifically - Choosing the right server for virtualization
DELL-ToddM Since there is no one answer - it is more of a disucssion of when to pick what
DELL-ScottH but i want to choose the "left" server
DELL-ScottH :-)
DELL-ToddM btucholka - Do you have anything you want to cover? (We can go off topic a bit if needed)
btucholka I got heads up about techcenter chat from rep yesterday, looking for some insight to teaming broadcom Nics in our Pedge servers and Cisco switches
DELL-ToddM It is generally a good idea to team nics with Esx - for redundancy mostly
btucholka we were trying to use Os bridge...w2k3 but ran into some looking for perhaps direction on setup of Broadcom onboards in Dell servers
DELL-ToddM I don't know what you mean by Os bridge.... And google gave me links to real bridges - like over rivers and stuff - Can you help me out?
DELL-ScottH also, not sure if we'll have the right resources on the chat today to address the question, but if you create a thread on one of the pages here, we might be able to direct a resource to answer it .... also would be good place to ask.
btucholka yeah, bridging is available from Win2003 server...basicaly trunking the 2 Nic ports for redunant network connection, ok I take it there
DELL-ToddM Is the Nic teaming part of a virutization solution - with Virtual Server or Vmware Server?
btucholka not just yet, just looking for this on standard production servers, but see this as a need when we get Vmware into place...having multiple network paths
DELL-ToddM What are you considering for virtualization? Vmware Esx? Hyper-v?
btucholka we just picked up the "starter kit" from Dell, 6 socket lic of Esx
DELL-ToddM Did you also get servers? 2950s or R805s?
btucholka no, not yet....that's why I'm here ::biglips
DELL-ToddM Excellent!
btucholka we arranged a 60day eval with Dell/ we've had general success, ready to move forward
DELL-ToddM I'm really ready to jump into the specifics of your environment - but we should probably wait another few minutes to see who else joins
DELL-ToddM We usually have people coming in a bit after the starting time :)
btucholka sounds good, I'll hang tight
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DELL-ToddM Hey Greg - How goes it?
DELL-ScottH hey Greg !
ramseyg hello . .pretty good. . pretty busy, but good
ramseyg and you?
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DELL-ToddM Hello David
DELL-ScottH same here
DELL-ScottH busy and good
DELL-ToddM Everything is going good here - just a bit busy keeping up with virtualization
DELL-ToddM We are a just a bit after 3 so - let's go ahead and get started.
DELL-ToddM Welcome to today's chat on Selecting a Virtualization Server
DELL-ToddM We know that there is no one server that will solve everybody's virtualizaiton needs
DELL-ToddM So we are putting together some wiki pages, chats, and blog entires to help gather info and provide some guidance
DELL-ToddM The landing page for the topic is
DELL-ToddM Don't click!
DELL-ToddM Right click to avoid being exited from the chat
ramseyg :)
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DELL-ScottH welcome chris
ChrisD thanks
DELL-ToddM On this page you will be able to find all the info related to selecting a virtualization server
DELL-ScottH "action" ... "recent room history" will catch you up
DELL-ToddM including the transcript for this chat - once it is completed
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DELL-ToddM A brief history....
DELL-ScottH welcome mhenrichsen ... use "action" .. "recent room history" to catch up on the chat
DELL-ToddM I did a white paper a little while ago that advocated 2-sockets were better than 4-sockets for virtualization
ChrisD is this more focused for customers or Dell employees?
DELL-ScottH @chris open to all, customers and Dell are here
DELL-ToddM The chat is open to both - intended to help customers decide what server to choose
ChrisD gotch
DELL-ToddM Since the whitepaper - the landscape has changed quite a bit
DELL-ToddM So now there are great choices in all server categories - and the best one depends on your requirements
DELL-ToddM So - btucholka is currently in the process of evaluting what server to choose
DELL-ToddM btucholka - can you give us a summary of your key requirements Or what are you currently considering?
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btucholka we are just starting to evaluate and get our feet wet with Vmware...basic network service print/dcs/etc
DELL-ToddM That's where most virtualization projects start - with consoidation of basic servers like that
DELL-ToddM Any estimate of number of Vms you will have?
btucholka I think just 4 per server to start
DELL-ToddM Are you planning to grow the number of Vms quite a bit?
btucholka not really on those initial servers...but see more robust and vmotion type needs on application servers (oracle As)
DELL-ScottH I think you'll find you will get quite a few more Vm's on a single server for consolidation efforts ... I did a paper last year that might be of interest --
btucholka right now we have available 2-1950s with 12GB Ram to start
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btucholka dual core/proc 2.8s I should add
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DELL-ScottH welcome nik and robby, use "action" .. "recent room history" to catch up
mhenrichsen We are just beginning to look into virtualization. Would like to use for Qa environments, Sql 2000. How well does Sql work in a virtual environment? We currently have about 10 servers combinations of 4 -2650, 4 -2850 and 2 -2950.
DELL-ToddM For basic consolidation type servers - the 1950s that you have should be able to host 4 Vms each
DELL-ToddM mhenrichsen - I've done lots of testing with Sql on Vmware and I have found that it works very well
DELL-ScottH link to Todd's page with the work and results -->
DELL-ToddM As long as you size the storage properly
DELL-ToddM And ensure that the Vm has enough Cpu
DELL-ToddM So putting a Db that would fully consume a 2950iii - into a Vm is not a good idea
mhenrichsen How much does virtualization add to our space requirements?
DELL-ToddM Taking a database from a 2650 or 2850 and putting it into a Vm running on a 2950iii (or other current gen server) should work find
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DELL-ToddM Virtualization does not add any space requirements. Although it is typically on some type os San storage (iscsi or Fc)
DELL-ScottH welcome paul, use "action" .. "recent room history" to catch up.
DELL-ToddM The Vms running Sql Db will still require the same amount of disk space as a physical server would
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mhenrichsen Any issues with running Sql virtualized to an iscsi San?
DELL-ToddM No issues that i am aware of - as iscsi is supported by Esx
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DELL-ToddM There are three iscsi options from Dell that are supported with Esx - Md3000i, Equallogic, and Dell|emc Cx3
DELL-ScottH welcome mark and durkinr, use "action" .. "recent room history" to catch up
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DELL-ToddM You must still size storage correctly - just like physical server
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DELL-ToddM So you still need enough spindles to service the database - whether it is virtual or physical
DELL-ToddM What type / size Dbs do you have? How many disks do they require today?
btucholka we are working out a onsite demo of the Equallogic solution, it looks sweet
DELL-ToddM The equallogic stuff is very easy to use
DELL-ToddM In my opinion
DELL-ScottH Todd used to get in trouble with the Dell lawyers all the time :-)
durkinr Just append Imho to your chat room name.
mhenrichsen Right now about 100gb growing at a rate of 10 Gb per month. Application only been in service for 5 months.
DELL-ToddM I was never actually in trouble.......
Robby With databases and exchange, what are the key metrics to focus on the gage performance specs?
DELL-ScottH lol @durkinr
Robby that should read "to gauge"
DELL-ToddM The key metrics are disk sec per write and writes per second And same for reads
DELL-ToddM These will give you quick view of responsivness of disk Lun and the load that it is under in terms of I/os per second
DELL-ToddM This is for a high transcation rate Db
DELL-ToddM If you are doing large data transfers - then Mb/s can become important
DELL-ToddM Exchange is like a high transaction rate Db
btucholka caught my Q, is Exchange 2007 a candidate for Virt?
durkinr I tried running iometer, but it fails to launch on my Winxp Sp2 box. Any tips? Or should I just use perfmon??
DELL-ToddM I actually presented Virtualizing Exhchange 2007 at Vmworld last sept
DELL-ScottH Exchange most definitely --
DELL-ToddM I tested upto 2000 users per Vm and found good performance
durkinr I saw your show, it was interesting. Didn't realize it was you until now of course.
DELL-ToddM The respone times were slower than physical servers - but not by very much
Mark he's hard to recognize online - he's much shorter
durkinr Yes, then you said split it into a second Vm for > 2000 users, if I remember correctly.
DELL-ToddM Cool - I thought that I saw you there :)
DELL-ScottH Todd had a chat on virt exchange a couple months back , transcript is here --
DELL-ToddM Performance with 1000 users in a Vm was a bit better and Vmotion and Ha recovery times were also better with 1000 users
durkinr me and 1000 other clowns with huge backpacks
DELL-ScottH ohhh was that you ? :-)
DELL-ToddM So I do think that 1000 users per Vm is better than 2000 - but the peformance of both was pretty good
btucholka so what if I only have 250 mail boxes, worth the effort/cost/lic?
durkinr Yes, I was the pasty-looking nerd with glasses. Remember?
DELL-ToddM 250 mailboxes will work very good - as long as you size the Vm and storage correctly
DELL-ToddM You can use our Exchange sizing tool for physical servers to get a sizing for the storage
DELL-ScottH yeah, I was the one with the autographed william shatner star trek autobiography !
DELL-ToddM I would think that 1 vcpu would be enough
DELL-ToddM The beauty of virtualization is that you can always add more Cpu and memory if needed
DELL-ToddM Exchange is disk and memory intensive -
DELL-ToddM So you need to plan on having a server with enough Ram
durkinr Bill Shatner - Rocket Man- Spoken Word.
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DELL-ScottH yeah, we have this "smart" filter at work :-) ...
DELL-ScottH but ! .. I have seen that !
DELL-ToddM In environments where you are going to have multiple Exchange Vms - a server with lots of memory capacity is good
DELL-ScottH looks like Mark is enjoying it though
DELL-ToddM The leading candidates would be the R805, R900 and R905
DELL-ToddM The R805 is two socket that go up to 64GB with 4 Gb Dimms and the R900 and R905 are four socket servers can go upto the 128gb
DELL-ToddM So all have the same amount of Ram per processor
DELL-ToddM Those that joined recently - feel free to jump in
durkinr We have signed up for the Dell Virtual Readiness Assessment. They profile your systems for 2 weeks then give you a vmware solution.
DELL-ToddM The readiness assessment reports are very cool
DELL-ToddM They do a good job of telling you how to virtualize
durkinr That way if it sucks, I can blame you guys.
durkinr ;)
DELL-ScottH If it sucks, we'll be here to tell you how to make it Un-suck !
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durkinr We have two Equallogic Ps5000x arrays...i'm hoping they don't recommend any Emc Fc gear.
DELL-ScottH Mark, how'd you like Rocketman ? :-)
DELL-ToddM Even after the assesment - you may have some choices in terms of the exact type of servers to use
Robby tood, what is the exchange sizing tool, and where do i find it?
Mark silly proxy
durkinr Yes, I was unaware of the R805. At 64GB that might be the sweet spot for us.
DELL-ToddM You can use either type of storage - just might have to add more Equallogic shelves if it is determined that you need more spindles
DELL-ToddM Working on the link to the Exchange sizing tool....
durkinr The Eq shelves are $$ though. Adding 1-2 more would be, let's see $$ + $$ = $$$$.
DELL-ToddM Thanks for bringing me back
DELL-ScottH ready ... hope this link works --
DELL-ScottH urls are soooo short nowadays
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DELL-ScottH actually 4*$
Robby appreciate it
DELL-ToddM The cost of Equallogic is generally less than Dell|emc Cx arrays
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DELL-ToddM And more than Powervault Md3000i
DELL-ToddM The cool thing about the Equallogic is that you get all software options - included
durkinr Yes the Md3000i is not as 'feature rich' as the Eq stuff.
DELL-ToddM The Md3000i is entry level - and doesn't have nearly the features of the Equallogic arrays
DELL-ToddM It may be that the advisor will say that you have enough storage - and don't need anything additional
durkinr I find entry-level to be a scary term when used for It gear. Thankfully, so does my boss.
DELL-ToddM durkinr - Do you have a preference for the server that you will use for Esx?
DELL-ScottH durkinr, you get props for quote-of-the-week !
durkinr Not really. I'm familiar with 2950s, but the 805 might be preferable. I guess it all depends on what resources we need, as identified by the Vra.
Robby correct me if I'm wrong, but the 2950 limit out at 2 processors and what Gb Ram?
durkinr And for the other people, I don;t work for Dell or Equallogic.
DELL-ToddM I think that the R805 is very good fit for many
durkinr 32 Gb
DELL-ToddM I have started a page that has all the servers side by side, with points below for each -
DELL-ToddM I'm calling it the decision matrix -
Robby for that reason, we wwnt with the r900s. It is probably overkill for our situation, but we wanted the scalability down the road.
DELL-ToddM The r900 provides twice as many memory slots and twice as many processors
DELL-ToddM So it clearly has more scalability
DELL-ToddM One nice thing about virtualization is that it also scales well with additional servers
DELL-ToddM With Vmotion you can easily bring a new server into your farm and add Vms to it
DELL-ToddM But - if you have to get as much as you can up front - the R900 may be a better choice
DELL-ToddM Or the R905 (which is Amd four socket)
durkinr But you need to watch the Cpu architecture, I've learned. That's why we will probably buy 3 host servers up-front.
DELL-ToddM True - Vmotion does not work across all servers - it depends on Cpu generation as well as Intel vs Amd
DELL-ToddM There is a matrix that we have on the site that shows Vmmotion compatability by server model
DELL-ScottH The Dell Virt Engineering team puts out a Vmotion compatability matix that helps --
DELL-ScottH not that one --
DELL-ScottH that one
durkinr I'll check out the vmotion link, thanks
DELL-ToddM This is one reason why you will see people choose either Amd or Intel and stick with them across several server types
DELL-ToddM But just the Amd or Intel doesn't guarantee that Vmotion will work - so you need the link that Scott gave above
DELL-ToddM Anybody here a fan of using blades for virtualization?
durkinr We don't have blades but have considered it. Any pros and cons you can list?
mhenrichsen I am considering consolidation of servers and would like to minimize backup power needs.
DELL-ToddM The big advantages, in my opinion, are reduced cables, higher density, lower power consumption, and reduced number of needed network ports
DELL-ToddM The blades do require 220 power - which most datacenters have
DELL-ToddM And you really need to be using most of the chassis (16 blades max) for the econimic and power advantages to play out
DELL-ToddM mhenrichsen - can you elaborate on what you mean by minimize backup power?
DELL-ScottH you're already going to save a ton on power consumption with consolidation if you take the old servers out of service -- I did a study --
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mhenrichsen We have around 20 servers right now some pushing 10 years old. Are Ups's are to the point of needing replaced.
DELL-ToddM By consolidating to fewer servers with vmware - you will need less Ups units
DELL-ScottH 286's ? You're not with nasa and the space shuttle program are you ? :-)
DELL-ToddM Scott's study was with 3 year old servers - and he got some really compelling numbers in terms of power savings with consolidation
Mark you could also perform a physical to virtual conversion of those older servers, so that you don't have to rebuild them, assuming the Os isn't so out of date
DELL-ScottH yeah, see the study I pointed to, you can most likely consolidate all onto one, but do two for redundancy, and I have a demo of phys to virtual conversion .. used that to consolidate my workloads
DELL-ScottH it's describes exactly what you are trying to do
mhenrichsen Oldest machines 486 Prosignias purchased 1998 Nt4
DELL-ScottH holy !!! cromollly ! call the smithsonian !
DELL-ToddM btucholka - Did you get the info you were looking for to help you with your decision around servers?
DELL-ScottH but a testament to "if it ain't broke -- don't fix it ! "
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btucholka yes, looks like we should be able to start with the general network service consolidation with servers on hand, the 2x1950s
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DELL-ToddM I agree - and you should probably look at the 2950iii or R805 for future
DELL-ToddM I want to thank everybody for attending today's chat!
DELL-ToddM Great discussion
btucholka later guys...thanks!
DELL-ToddM We are going to continue the conversation on the site with discussion threads and another chat next week
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DELL-ToddM Same bat time, same bat channel
DELL-ScottH thanks everybody !
DELL-ToddM Probably doesn't translate if you didn't watch Batman as a kid - so same time and place next week
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