Saturday, October 4, 2008

Start Virtualization Initiative

One with the name Satyaprakash Nivarthi started discussion on linked group “Official VMware Virtualization Group” that
I have been given a mandate to kick start our Virtualization initiative by piloting either DEV or QA environments. Which one do I start? How do I plan for the initiative? Any documentation available?

Then he also provide more inputs like :
Thanks. Yes, the first plan is to choose ESX and download the free version of ESXi. Criteria is a bit hazy now but contains the following: - Consolidating 15-20 servers to 2 or 3
- 99.99% availability
- Creating new Test environments quickly
- Disaster Recovery
- Cost saving
- Backup and Restore

Is there any documentation available regarding the planning aspects of Virtualization?

To start with follow this:
Procurement phase:
Hardware :

What kind of hardware you are going to use for testing phase?
This will depends upon various factor like memory/CPU/NIC/Storage. Now if you say you want to migrate X virtual machine with Y amount of memory then you have to go with X*Y +30% extra memory
Similarly you have to go for CPU and Storage.
CPU if you are going to have total X machine with Y Hz of CPU =X*Y* No. of Core. If you are placing 2vCPU machine that does not mean it needs 2 Physical CPU. CPU scheduling in VMware world happen in different way.
For Storage start with local storage. So if you say you are going to place XGB of Virtual Machine then go for X+40% of extra space because of Swap files and future expansion. VMware hypervisior does not consume much space. Say if you have local 1TB of space then you would get around 950GB of space to play around for VM’s.

NIC is the crucial part of the Hardware planning. But to began with use DUAL gig bit NIC. One dedicated for service console and one for Virtual Machine Network. Here you also have to consider if you want machine with multiple Network which means you need to perform VLAN trunking on your Virtual Machine Network.

So if you have decided on above configuration then research for Hardware on internet. Contact multiple vendor and ask for Quotes. I can suggest you to go for HP DL385 which will have 8CPU (4*4) with 32 GB of memory with 1TB of local HDD. Add dual 1GB NIC into it. In US such configuration will cost you around 8K to 10K based on vendor you choose.

Assembling Hardware:
Now once you hardware with you, it has to be racked and cable it. Make sure you have connected you NIC to two different SWICH port. Now one NIC will be assigned as a service console and one will be your VM network. Work with your N/W engineer to assign the port to appropriate VLAN. Make sure you have physical access to the machine using ILO or whatever you are using. This will help you with installation. Once you are done with cabling now you need to make sure your machine is set to correct RAID level or else you will not see all the 1TB or whatever you have space you want. I would usually set for RAID 5 and select all the space. Also make sure you have enabled your BIOS for Virtualization or else you will have difficulties with 64 bit machine.

Installing ESX:
Before you start installing you should be ready with following information:
Host name : FQDN name
DNS: Primary and secondary
IP address: This IP address will be assigned to Service console or management network. All subnet and Gateway as well.
Once you have all the information in hand start your installation (Assuming you have already downloaded ESX version. Remember that trial version last for 45 days after that you cannot power on ANY VM’s on it. But if any VM’s is powered on then it will remain powered on) with all default setting (I am trying to make things simple for you instead complicated). Once you have completed the installation you need a management interface to manage it.

Management of Physical Host:
You need to have Virtual Center client to manage the host. Download the Virtual Center client on your machine and connect to the host. You need to use name as DNS name of IP address. User name should be “root”. If everything is good you will see beautiful interface through which you can manage the host.
Post Configuration:
Once If you are into VC then you have to setup VM network. By default it will have all default settings. You need to configure VM network with appropriate VLAN ID. And if you have decided to have VLAN trunking then you need to have portgroup created for each individual network.

Migrating Physical machine to ESX : Assuming that your host is ready then use free convertor to convert your physical machine to Virtual Machine. Once you have migrated to VM power of your physical machine.

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