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ESXi and disk I/O


bobdole369
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I've built my first ESXi box, and I have 2 winxpsp3 desktops running.

I'm thinking of perhaps using these as a remote desktop server of sorts. I could serve a couple of these desktops to remote users. Some Cisco-fu would allow me to skip the desktop that is in use and connect to the next available one.

But does anyone have real experience with what is needed?

The PC I did this on is a c2d 1.8ghz - 2GB RAM. The desktops have 256MB and 12GB disks. THe HD is a dedicated raptor (original) 10k 74GB drive.

I know that isn't enough RAM or CPU, but how about the disk? With 1 and the rare occasion 2 users logged in, will that be enough?

Also what kind of license is ESXi? Is this even permitted by vmware?

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Your hardware requirements are dictated by what applications you think your users are going to run. Think of your virtual machines as real computers. For instance if you plan on having them run Adobe Photoshop CS4 this may not meet your needs. On the other hand if they will just be doing some word processing and web surfing you should be fine.

ESXi licensing isn't to tough. You get a license depending on what features you want (if you want hot migration etc) and how many VMs you are going to run. Once you get into running multiple ESXi servers you will want to install the licensing server so that you can manage it all from one place. Also the ESXi servers will depend on this to run (remember this is only if you have multiple ESXi servers, and don't confuse this with virtual machines). Standard operating system licensing applies for each VM. Soooo. If you had 2 Windows 2003 servers, 1 Windows XP Pro, and 2 Ubuntu Servers... You would need to purchase 2 server 2003 licenses, 1 windows XP license, and 0 ubuntu licenses (i love open source).

There is a little overhead for the ESXi Kernel and you can find all of that on VMWares site. Ughhh. I'm trying to remember off the top of my (drunk) head and i wana say it will never be more than 256mb? Something like that... Anyway it isn't much.

have fun, experiment and push your new server to the limits. getting a good performance baseline is the only way you are going to know for certain what kind of hardware resources you are going to need.

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There is a little overhead for the ESXi Kernel and you can find all of that on VMWares site. Ughhh. I'm trying to remember off the top of my (drunk) head and i wana say it will never be more than 256mb? Something like that... Anyway it isn't much.

On a fresh install (in a VM :lol: ), ESXi uses about 600MB of RAM.

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Your doing it wrong, ESXi is for server virtualization (I run a Terminal Server under this), which would be a better choice if you stick to ESXi) and you need to look at VMWare VDI (Virtual Desktop Infrastructure).

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I agree with VaKo, you could be using a much better method for pushing terminal services. There are a lot of options for this, start with what he recommended.

Psycosis, Overhead for ESXi is pretty complicated. you can checkout: http://www.vmware.com/support/pubs/vi_pages/vi_pubs_35.html

Checkout Resource Management Guide. It mainly talks about giving resources to virtual machines but it also touches on depending on how many processors you give that VM, how much ram you dedicate to it will factor into how much overhead ESXi is going to take. Like i said if you want to get down to the nitty gritty of resource management in VMWare you'll have to do a lot of reading.

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and you need to look at VMWare VDI (Virtual Desktop Infrastructure).

I kinda figured as much. I'm essentially brand new to the virtualization world and I'm trying to figure out how I could best utilize ESXi in my enterprise.

As it is now - actual physical machines:

domain controller - AMD opteron 180 - 3x 750GB drives (raid 5) - functions as DC/secondary backup/DNS/WINS/file server for financials/quickbooks

File Server - P4 3.2ghz - 4GB DDR-400 - 5x 320GB drives (raid 5) - + (2 x 37GB raptors in raid0) - serves files, couple SQL databases - primary backup to external drive

Application Server - C2D 2.4ghz - 4GB DDR2-667 - 5x 74GB raptor drives (raid 5) + (2 x 37GB raptors in raid0) - more SQL databases, firebird DB, custom DB program, .NET app, DNS/WINS

former RA server - used to run RRAS and a couple front ends of the .NET apps and the custom DB program. Its basically deprecated and only hosts the AV application (symantec AV)

print server - deprecated win2k3 server only hosting printer shares. Its really just taking up space.

phone server - Using a USB device, connects to 4 skype accounts and provides 4 phone lines.

My initial thought is to concatenate the print/phone/RA server with the DC on ESXi with 2 actual win2k3 servers. That brings me from 4 physical to 1 physical with 4 virtual ones. But thinking some more, I could easily have the phone server and the print server and the AV app on one virtual, leaving the DC to its own virtual machine.

Thoughts?

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If you have money to spend, get a new server with lots of cores and as much RAM as you can afford. A dell 2970 with 2x 6 core CPUs and 32GB of RAM will be able to hold all of those servers and much more. Then move all the application servers onto this, and seperate the DC into its own physical server, along with a secondary virtual DC.

What do you have license and budget wise?

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Yeaaaah, sort of the whole reason I'm mucking about here is the lack of funds to dedicate servers. I'm really just looking to combine things into less space and heat. As for the remote desktop thing - well there is no money for a dedicated terminal services server - so I'm left to figure out how to minimize cost.

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The PC I did this on is a c2d 1.8ghz - 2GB RAM

So is there anything "wrong" with using ESXi for 2 or 4 virtualized desktops? It does seem to get the job done. From what I understand doing this is totally free besides the already owned WInXP licenses running on the machine.

Is there any other bare metal software that might do this better? I decided to try ESXi because I simply didn't have the horsepower or cash reserves to do a dedicated terminal server. And I'm not looking for application stuff, but just intranet browsing and pdf reading, ocasional data entry into a client side of a database.

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