jeff on 21 Jun 2008 21:02:22 -0700

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Re: [PLUG] Why Virtualize? (Win servers)

JP Vossen wrote:
> More on that below.  I think this group has a less-than-mainstream 
> perspective on the issue.  :-)

why ever would you say that?

> But:
> 	-1 potentially, for licensing costs if using EvilEmpire(tm)

as an aside, VMware is licensed by processor slot.

> coexist, like F&P, DNS, DHCP.  Then again, with AD, how many people put 
> services on whatever they call the domain controller now?  So you've got 
> a big hairy box dedicated to--authentication...  Plus the backup DCs...
> Anyone who works in a big Windows shop chime in (we promise not to bite. 
>   Too much. :).  

Terrified as I am to stand up, we're roughly 20 servers.  I'm not sure 
where that puts us but they're all Windows.  We only recently retasked a 
positively ancient Dell server to run Ubuntu.  It does a minor amount of 
print serving, runs MRTG so my desktop doesn't have to, and is part of 
my Great Syslog Testing Experiment.

We spread out the various networking services and attempted to have 
backups or redundancies for them.  We're also going to a pure 2003 
networking environment before virtualization.  Everything's going on one 
virtual server (assuming it will agree to do so).  We could also do it 
with the One True OS<tm> but I'd prefer not to at this moment because, 
well, I've never done it before and we're talking about a production 
environment.  No playing around.

> But that's what I've seen, you've got a ton of Windows 
> boxes each only doing one thing,

absent networking, this is also true.

> Except...  If you app is very CPU or disk intensive, think again.  For 
> example, I personally wouldn't run an heavy-duty Oracle server in a VM. 

also a concern.  Every software vendor of ours told us not to virtualize 
their app.  One said they wouldn't support it if we did.  Another said 
everyone who virtualized wound up going back.  Mind you, a consultant 
from the same company told us it worked fine.

We were told there are some special considerations for virtualizing 
Exchange or anything with the letters S, Q, and L in them, but it's 
eminently possible.  Our consultant's shop did their Exchange box with 
absolutely no grief.  That will be pretty cool because it gives us a lot 
of grief on its own iron.

> Having said all of this, my admin and design experience in the Windows 
> world is thankfully getting very dated. 

Life is good.

> I was a consultant and MCSE in 
> the 90's but have been only an end-user on Windows at work for the last 
> 6+ years.  

does that mean you lost less hair or more?

> A final funny, anyone using VMware GSX server is effectively running 
> Linux in production, even if they are otherwise Windows only.

ESX too.

I'm royally pissed that there's no VMware System Center client for 
linux.  That is beyond mere stupid.  This means I'll be running the VM 
client inside a VM running XP.

Two steps forward, one step back.

... Jeff for President - a chipotle in every pot
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