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Virtualise 5 servers for under 30k... can it be done?

Discussion in 'Business & Enterprise Computing' started by Nyarghnia, Jun 25, 2010.

  1. Nyarghnia

    Nyarghnia (Taking a Break)

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    Just thought i'd throw this out there... there seems to be a lot of experience in virtualization. I've been discussing this on and off with a couple of solution providers for some time now, i've got a bunch of old servers, I really don't want to go and replace like for like, i'd like to cut down on the number of servers I am running.

    My problem is that my damned budget is barely over $30k, yet every solution provider I speak to is throwing solutions at me with budgets well over $100k, I know that the SAN's are expensive, but I just aint got the dollars for that.

    So, is anyone out there running Server Attached Storage for the VM's?

    I'm aware of the potential pitfalls of the 'all in one box' solution, but I'm hoping to get a budget for some kind of SAN later on or maybe in the 2011/2012 financial year, but I need something to get into virtualization now.

    I had one solution provider tell me the other day that it was impossible to put anything together for less than $55k for two hosts + SAN + ESX.

    So, what have people here done? I am looking at some IBM/HP 4/5U servers with plenty of Sever Attached Storage that can handle future addition of FC of iSCSI down the track.

    This approach has a higher risk profile which the business would need to be aware of, but there's just no way that I can find to get the 'two hosts + SAN + Sofware' for under 30k...

    I guess you could call it the 'one slightly bigger host + Software' for under 30k.

    -NyarghNia
     
  2. NSanity

    NSanity Member

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    So long as you can do the work, You could do it for around 45k. You'd have a lower standard of support though (and you'd have to bring your own software licensing outside vmware), and thats assuming you have switches suitable for jumbo frames and iSCSI support.

    $20k Dell MD3000i w/ 15k SAS drives (thats what it cost us, 15x 300gb 15k sas drives)
    2x $8k Hosts (mid-low end dual quad xeons, 32gb ram)
    VMWare Acceleration Kit Advanced for 6 processors w/ 1 yr gold support ($12k list - you should be able to get it for around 8-10k).
     
    Last edited: Jun 25, 2010
  3. Crusher

    Crusher Member

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    It depends on how hands on you want to get. Buying a beefy server with 32gb ram and 15K SAS drives would cost you around 10-15k. If its a single box solution deploy ESXi for now.

    Get 4 hour hardware support to lower risk on hardware failure.

    Can you reuse your current backup solution?

    I have done plenty of single box with DAS VM deployments for smaller clients who have a few old boxes that are consolidated down to 1.
     
  4. Kodaz

    Kodaz Member

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    We paid $15k for an MD3000i with 10x146GB 15k and 5x750GB 7.2k disks. Virtual Infrastructure Foundation Accleration kit for 6 Processors was $5.5k (purchased through Dell, cheapest we could find).

    Now a quick config on the Dell website you can get a couple of R710's for $5k each (factoring a price reduction from their online price) with the following specs:

    2x Quad Core E5506 (no idea on your environment but usually memory is the limitation not CPU)
    24GB Memory (12x2GB) (again no idea on your environment but 5 virtual servers should fit across two hosts with RAM to spare)
    RAID 1, 250GB 7.2K RPM SATA (only needs to be fast enough to load ESX)
    3x Broadcom 5709 Dual Port 1GbE NIC (production, SAN & management)
    2U Sliding Rail (why isn't this standard)
    Energy Smart Power Supply, Redundant
    3 Yrs Next Business Day Onsite (with two servers you can fail over to the one in the meantime).

    Means doing the setup yourself but it's piss easy and Dell supply technical docs on how to setup the SAN side. With some shrewd negoitaiton you should be able to get what you need at your price (or close enough to lean on managment as a solution with better DR\BC options).

    Only thing left is a VCC server and backup solution. But you could use an older server for this and stay with your current agent based backup (big assumption you do that). We paid $3k for 4 processors licenses for vRanger pro but this was priced as a seperate backup solution (all up another $15k including 10TB and LTO4 tape backup for D2D2T).
     
    Last edited: Jun 25, 2010
  5. kbekus

    kbekus Member

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    I've got a couple of current IBM 4U servers with 6x hard disks, so using direct attached storage, running ESX 3.5. No problem with this as long as you accept the risk of having lots of eggs in the one basket :) You could then add a SAN at a later point and so reap the benefit of high availability if you so wish.

    I went with this method so that I could have several small VMs deployed for the developers at any one point, using current (supported) hardware and a reliable platform. Got us off a load of crappy old P3 and P4 whitebox servers that fell over often and were a pain in the arse to support.
     
  6. afterburner7

    afterburner7 Member

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    i got a quote on 2 x Dell R710's and a big Equalogic box and VMware. Came to $75k or so.

    Am trying to calculate a ROI using hardware maintenance + replacing like for like old physical machines + buying new machines for new apps + power and cooling savings.

    Any good virtual calculators out there?
     
  7. Rampage101

    Rampage101 Member

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    What sort of performance do you require for the VM's? I'm hosting about 8 VM's on OpenFiler iSCSI SAN (on a Raid5 H/A, which is not the best).
    Couple of servers, build a whitebox SAN with OpenFiler to start you off, script regular machine exports for a full backup, and backup the actual data like normal.
    XenServer is free, we are moving to Citrix Essentials for XenServer and getting a SAN, however we have been running a live production environment for 6months+.
     
  8. Kodaz

    Kodaz Member

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    Exactly what are your requirements now. What are the specs and usage of the servers\storage you have.

    I bet it is entirely possible as long as you are prepared to do the racking\install\setup yourself which isn't hard at all.
     
  9. leighr

    leighr Member

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    I went down this path a number of years ago.

    I had a Dell 2950, with as many local disks as it could hold, then a SAS attached MD1000. 32GB of RAM, ran approximately 40 dev/test machines. Performance dropped a bit, but it was acceptable for the task. Would probably have come in under your limit.
     
  10. fR33z3

    fR33z3 Member

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    to me, you are trying to make a "massive" "improvement" (a non-HA to HA setup is a massive improvement) to the environment and coming up unhappy that the improvements cost money (when i say "you", i mean your organisation).

    If all of these servers are legacy servers with no HA, unsupported hardware etc etc, then p2v'ing them onto a single esxi host with the same backup strategy is closer to a like-for-like refresh, and I would expect that to come out way ahead in terms of cost vs buying new hardware for each server.
     
  11. NSanity

    NSanity Member

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    take some money out of your dmz email server solution and put it towards this environment...
     
  12. TehCamel

    TehCamel Member

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    consider this:

    use two servers, say Dell R610s. Specced accordingly.
    A Dell MD3000 with appropriate disks.

    put SAS HBAs in each server, use the SAS HBAs in the MD3000

    cable Server1:hba1 to md3000:0.0 and S1:hba2 to Md3000:1.0
    Cable server2:hba1 to MD3000:1.0 and S2:hba2 to MD3000:1.1

    you'd still need your vmware licensing, but you could also consider HyperV.

    if i remember though, you won't be able to expand beyond two nodes with this scenario.


    ?If you're a dell partner, or if you get special pricing, you may be able to:
    MD3000 with 15x300GB disks, dual controllers, for about 10K
    Spec the servers right, and you get two 610s for close to 10K each as well.
     
  13. wellonchompy

    wellonchompy Member

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    (Disclaimer: I work for Red Hat)

    Have you looked at solutions other than VMware? Using Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization, you can keep your storage on iSCSI or NFS rather than a dedicated SAN, for budgetary constraints. The hypervisors use KVM on Linux (not that you need to know Linux to use them), and you get HA.

    A starter kit is ~US$3000/year and gives you the manager (roughly equivalent to VSphere), and hypervisor licenses for 6 sockets (so up to 3 dual-socket servers, unlimited cores per socket). Much cheaper than VMware.
     
  14. Rampage101

    Rampage101 Member

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    XenServer and an iSCSI SAN, other than the hardware its free. You can do live migration etc, you just don't get the automatic H/A, need the licensing for that. Surely you can get 2 nicely spec'd servers and a something like the MD3000 (I'm sure I read there is an iSCSI version) for around $30k.
    XenServer is constantly improving, 5.6 just added heaps of nice little things over 5.5 (we're still running the free version atm).
     
  15. Kodaz

    Kodaz Member

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    So $5.5k for VMware foundation and first year support with $1k for each additonal year. 3 years cost (general life of server gear and likely the software before it's revisited) is $7.5k.

    Your Red Hat for $3k USD a year works out a little over $10k after 3 years at current exchange reates. I fail to see how that could even remotely be much cheaper???

    With VMware foundation you may not get vmotion but you get HA which is enough for non 24/7 environments to work with (ie you can get a suitable maintenance window to shut down and migrate versus having to do that live).
     
  16. OP
    OP
    Nyarghnia

    Nyarghnia (Taking a Break)

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    Thanks for all the really useful info here guys, it's been of huge help! :)

    I'm currently speccing stuff up now based on advise received here.

    -NyarghNia
     
  17. wellonchompy

    wellonchompy Member

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    I'm comparing it to a setup with VMotion. In that case, it is MUCH cheaper.
     
  18. Draemad

    Draemad Member

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    hahahahahha.

    VMWare are like coca-cola. Everyone on here just assumes that it has to be VMWare to virtulise.

    Having run both 'ware and hyper-v for hosting companies I can tell you that hyper-v stacks up on any measure you'd care to mention.
     
  19. Rexy

    Rexy Member

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    I did a ghetto install on a single server. VM3.5 ESXi running one DC/file/print, one IIS box and a couple of small monitoring servers on a single box. 6 x 142's in RAID10. We couldn't justify a SAN either. ESXi has some serious limitations but we worked around them in various ways eg backing up the IIS server to the DC via winbackup, then putting the DC to LTO3 to overcome ESXi's lack of backup. Its not ideal but then again the whole lot cost $15k. In the VM world you could easily pay that in licensing fees alone, and I wonder what the point is of virtualising only to move the hardware cost into the licensing cost - you may as well just buy more hardware in some cases. I think that grey area in $20-50k budgets can't afford VM in many instances.

    I'm not a convert to the virtualise everything model. When we upgraded our Ex03 to Ex2010 server, I didn't virtualise and put everything on 2008 bare metal.

    Then again, I'm old school and grew up being trained to put critical servers on individual boxes for redundancy. I live in fear of VM and everything going to shit because we couldn't spend $100k+ on a "proper" VM solution with vmotion etc.
     
  20. AzzKikr

    AzzKikr Member

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    Hmmm: http://www.microsoft.com/windowsserver2008/en/us/hyperv-supported-guest-os.aspx

    Call me when Hyper-V finally gets vendor-neutral and starts supporting more than two distributions of Linux (VMWare, on the other hand, supports more OS-es than I care to mention).

    Until Hyper-V improves the hypervisor memory usage and guest OS support, it'll forever be regarded as another feeble imitation from Microsoft.

    -A.
     

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