Thursday, July 08, 2010

Vmware - Leasons Learned - View ESX vs ESXi ISCSI Backup

Wow, Its been interesting.

Designing and Deployment of a fully virtualized enterprise.

This includes:
1. Replacement of all desktops with thin clients.
2. Move from hosted email to a virtulized exchange environment.
3. iscsi based storage for everthing.
4. Blade Based Servers

Leasons Learned:
1. When your designing your blades, use at least a single SSD
drive to host ESX hypervisor. Yes, you can boot iScsi, yes you can
use a SD card.

But:
a. A SD Card means your running ESXi, your updates consists of re-installating. I've had to do it three times. Vs ESX on a SSD drive you
can use update manager.

b. iscsi boot - Its a rather "flakey" feature. I put some time on this
there are two problems
1) Only a select number of iscsi HBA are supported.
2) It consumes a LUN on your raid for each blade.
c. If I use SSD, I can even ghost one to another using FOG.

2. Storage
My primary storage is a Dell Equal Logic Raid. A PS4000 to be
exact.
Leasons:
a) Get the biggest that will not get you ask to leave :)
I'm buying my second one, people tend to keep a lot of garbage
b) Make sure you put the latest firmware on the device Day 1
c) Be very careful about your storage Design. The EqualLogic
has great features. Such as overcommit at the LUN level.
The problem is when the Volume/LUN gets full, its gets marked
offline. And any VM's in the VMFS associated are pretty much
dead. So you key servers put in separate LUN's. A DC, and
exchange for example in my case should be allocated a dedicated volume. Then you dont have to worry that one overcommit takes out all. I would not recommend you do it for everything but some good division can save your bacon.
d) I would recommend for key servers, Domain Controller, Exchange, your Vcenter you dont thin provision them. You make sure space
is allocated all the way down. In that way you know there is not a lurking storage outage waiting.


3. Memory - Get lots, 8 x what you need. Blads + Vmware is not cheap, the
reality is vmware on the CPU side is great and pretty good on the memory side as well. What I found on the blades, is I could put 10x more vm's from a cpu point of view, but memory was red-lined. So I could get more value buying more memory than buy cpu's. So when I expand, I'll up my memory from 12G per blade to at least 48G.

4. Backup - Vreeam Rocks - Make sure you setup jumbo packets, and be a bit
patient on setup to learn the product. But it really works quite well. You need scratch space to dump the backup file. And use Yosemite to write the backup image to the tape library. Make sure the NICs can run jumbo frames it make a big difference, and get you a nice quad port gig-e card or a 10g interface.

5. What not to buy - Dont use a Dell R200 for anything for a couple of reasons. No Jumbo Frames, and second the CPU is just under powered.
Also it would not leat me use some ESX features, so ended up uses native.

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