File-Server | physical or over VMware vSphere? Need advice
maybe you have a suggestion for me.
We are running two SF 5.1 SP1 [Enterprise with Option MS Cluster Enterprise] on two MS Server 2003 Enterprise R2 x64 Cluster Nodes right know.
There are some storage-arrays [DAS] directly on the server-machines - clustering is possible, because of two controllers in the disk-arrays. And there is some real SAN-storage over FC.
My vision/planning for the future is to build up more storage in the SAN over FC or iSCSI to get away from DAS-storage and to manage all of it over SF (again).
We also planning to virtualize our servers (up to 6-7 servers (Exchange, DFS, DC/DNS, Lizenzmanager-Server, etc.)) to run all of them on one or two physical servers; maybe a third standby-ESX.
So there is the question to virtualize both of the enterprise cluster nodes and let them run as virtual machines or let them stay as physical machines?
• "double failsafe", because the enterprise servers are cluster nodes right know [failsafe 1] and if the physical ESX is going down this virtual machine(s) will switch automatically to the second ESX [failsafe 2].
• Faster server-hardware change in the future. Build up a new ESX on more performant hardware; move the vm-server to it; shut down the old ESX which isn't performant enough anymore - no downtime.
...ok, ok, I have a cluster, so changing hardware would be possible without downtime, too.
• Maybe better possibility to trunk the networkports. I'm not using vSphere right now, I only remembering some stuff from VMware webcasts.
• Better utilization of the physical hardware! That's why you will virtualize all servers.
• Making snapshots before upgrade software on the servers. Faster "recovery" of the old status. "Never touch a running system" is the past.
• Better allocation of the physical RAM to different servers.
• Will SF run as good as it does on the physical environment right now? Or are there any restrictions - maybe because of drivers, the hypervisor, anything else?
• Will SF be (more) performant than right now or will it slow down everything, especially if I use VxCache with 8GB RAM or more?
• I need lots of RAM
Would be nice to here some comments or another ideas from you.
Thanks in advance.