Documenting a virtualization project

Experiences in Virtualization

The budget: hardware is half the fun

Posted by martijnl on July 1, 2006

In our particular businesscase it certainly isn’t as the software licenses we need add up to roughly one third of the total cost.

Firstly there is the VMWare Virtual Infrastructure licensing. Compared to the different ESX server licenses it has become much easier to select the right package for your needs. The different VI3 editions described on the VMWare website should give all the information you need.

vmware.gifFor our particular case the choice was easy. Because of our recently renewed focus on Business Continuity Management (partly because of an ongoing effort to get ISO27001 certified) having the ability to use the new High Availability and VMotion options were “must-haves”. This meant that we needed the “Enterprise” version of VI3. Retail pricing for our setup (8 x 2 CPU seats, VMWare is licensed per CPU seat and not per core — kudos to them) will end up around € 40000.

There are a number of other software tools that can make your life and the migration to a Virtual Infrastructure a lot easier. During our preparations for this project we had a look at two vendors:

  • Platespin (see links in sidebar)
    • PowerConvert, which streams servers from physical machines to virtual machines and image archives over the network (and vice versa and a lot of other directions, depending on product version).
    • PowerRecon, which can be used for consolidation planning. It scans your existing network gathering data on machine utilization and workload levels and stores it in a database. After enough data has been gathered (preferably one month or longer) PowerRecon can provide a detailed report on the consolidation options for the different machines in the network. Depending on the VMWare experience available to you/your company this product competes with VMWare’s own planning and sizing programme. The consultant running this programme has to be certified (VMWare Certified Professional with specific additional training if my information is correct) to do so however. Again, it will depend on your preference. Do you want to keep it in house or hire external expertise or make a combination of both.
    • Platespin offers a (paid) Proof of Concept Package that is good for 10 Physical to Virtual (P2V) conversions and PowerRecon for 10 servers. We are in the middle of testing this package so I will write more about this in later posts. Should we decide to buy the application we will probably go for the 100 server package (about € 10000-15000) and not the Universal. For us the extra flexibility doesn’t weigh up to the price difference. Maybe if we get more and more hands-on experience this will change and we’ll upgrade at a later date.
  • Vizioncore
    • Of the products that Vizioncore offers we have had a look at ESXRanger. This can make hot backups of a running VM. It is unlikely that we will be buying it as VI3 also offers a consolidated backup solution and we have a completely different backup and DR strategy at the moment but it deserves a look if you are planning your VI.

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