Documenting a virtualization project

Experiences in Virtualization

The testlab

Posted by martijnl on July 13, 2006

The testing lab gave us some headaches because of the capital involved with the hardware. We did the ESX3 beta on one spare IBM xSeries 346 (our standard 2U server) but for all the advanced options in the VI3 release (such as DRS and HA) and for vMotion testing we needed two dual CPU servers with some extra internal memory.

At first we looked at renting the servers for a few months but the pricetag for two HP DL 385’s for 10 weeks was a whopping € 3500,-. Combined with the fact that the impact of a one time renting fee on our budget is rather heavy (compared to just the two or three months depreciation for a server that we own) this was not an option for us.

After some creative thinking we ended up upgrading the testing server and buying a second X346 for which we both have a use after the VMWare testing is over.

The first server will become our VirtualCenter management server. We got the tip that having the management server outside of the cluster of VMWare servers is the better option should the cluster fail.

The second server will become our monitoring server (we use NimBUS from NimSoft). Having the monitoring server outside of the cluster seemed a good idea for the same reason.

In the end the testing servers were configured as follows:

  • IBM xSeries 346
  • Dual Intel Xeon 3,6Ghz CPU
  • 7GB internal memory each
  • 2x 36 GB 15k SCSI disk for VMWare ESX installation
  • IBM 2Gb Fiber HBA
  • Intel Dual Gbit NIC

As I wrote earlier everything is installed and running. We have some VM’s online at the moment to get some load going. The biggest applications running now are Exchange 2003 Enterprise (which we use to do restores on, sometimes that’s easier than restore groups in Exchange) and the server we use for configurating the NimBUS monitoring application. To be added in the near future are testing environments for CODA, Oracle 10g Application server and Oracle 9i database, Tridion CMS and SuperOffice CRM.

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