1 Copper

consolidate using Blade and iSCSI SAN

I am working on a scenario to consolidate using Blade server, virtualization and iSCSI based SAN. The company would like to have following applications and servers on the network. Total number of network users presently is around 200 and is expected to increase will 10 % every year with more remote branch expected in the future.
1) One file and print server running on windows 2008 enterprise edition
2) One Windows Domain with 2 Domain controllers on 2 servers running windows 2008 enterprise edition.
3) Mail server running on Microsoft Exchange server 2007 Enterprise with 3 servers.
4) In the future would like to have Microsoft Office Communication 2007 enterprise edition
5) SQL Server 2008 enterprise in clustered environment with 2 servers.
6) SharePoint server 2007 Enterprise 1 server
7) MS project server 2007 1 server
8) Microsoft IIS Web server with at least 2 server for NLB.
9) Other Database servers (Arc GIS and LIMS) on 2 servers.
They like to introduce virtual tape library (VTL) for efficient storage.
I would like to know the following:
1) Which virtualization product to chose ( VMWare, Citrix Xen, HyperV)
2) Which Blades model and configuration would best fit the above scenario and the least number of blades need.
3) Which SAN technology would be best?
4) What are the license requirement for virtualization or for the Blade and SAN management software
5) Also keeping HA and very less down time what is the point to consider in the design.
Also recommend any design and hardware spec. with scalability, performance and not very expensive solution.

Thank you

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2 Replies
Scott Hanson
3 Argentium

RE: consolidate using Blade and iSCSI SAN

First, I highly recommend looking into getting a Dell Virtualization Readiness Assessment (VRA) - - It's designed to tackle design questions like you've asked here.

This conversation can go in many directions, so I'll start with some thoughts, and encourge others on the site to chime in as well.

The question of which hypervisor to use can typically start a "holy war" with many people 🙂 ... you might as well ask which is the best car 🙂 ... you'll find passionate responses on all sides, but in the end all cars will get you from point A to B. Some take a little longer, some burn more gas, some carry more passengers, some look better, etc .. this is where the passionate discussion comes in. I'm partial to VMware because I started with it and as most familiar with it. That's typically what it boils down to, are you comfortable managing it day to day. Also VMware has a solid history with enterprise applications like Exchange and SQL.

Do a Google search on "Todd Muirhead Exchange VMware". Todd used to work for Dell and is now part of VMware's performance team doing work around enterprise apps on VMware. You'll find some great papers and benchmark data from Todd on the subject. He's also easy to get in touch with via Twitter @VirtualTodd.

On the Blade front if you're goal is most VM's per blade I'd look at the M710. 2S Xeon 5500 (Nehalem) and supports up to 144GB of RAM, Specs here --> ,also keep an eye out for the M910 in the near future. 4S blade based on Nehalem EX with more memory support. Some people prefer to "scale-out" more than "scale-up", which might make sense if you build out an HA/DRS type environment where the VMs are free to flow from server to server in the farm. If that's the case then .
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Scott Hanson
3 Argentium

RE: consolidate using Blade and iSCSI SAN

M610 might be the best choice.

For iSCSI, it's hard to not go wrong with EqualLogic, simple, easy, fast, and proven with virtualization solutions. -

We are also offering "Business Ready Configurations" .. You should take a look at these. Even if you don't go down the path of purchasing, it will give you some ideas as to the design of a solution like you are proposing -->

Here's the solution guide with blades based on the BRC's -

We had a chat on the BRC's a few months back, might be of interest for you to read -

Well this should start you off in a direction, I encourage others to weigh in as well. Hope this helps.
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