Nehalem has made my life hard, I need to decide to go for a Nehalem platform with or without the use of VMware for server virtualization.
On this platform I've got 90 users with average office IT activities. They logon to a Windows server 2008 environment, send email, got files and all that.
With 100% compatibility I could consolidate the CPU/RAM/DISK capacity of all current 7 servers on one Dell R710 server easily...
My suppliers are screaming VMWare into my ear.
In terms of nuts and bolts they offer a VMWare scenario which will get me 3 servers and a storage array. When I make a scenario without VMware I end up with 4-5 servers and no storage array.
Both scenario´s have one fully loaded R710 en more R610 machines as needed.
VMware leaves me with less physical servers, this saves me energy and hardware costs.
I've been told that if one my VMWare servers dies on me I can have it back up and running again in an hour using snapshots.
This gives me extremely high availability for the OS and applications, to be complete, the hardware itself would have 24x7x4 Mission Critical.
To me, Nehalem hardware effectively scales to the performance need of the system the same way as VMware software does. That then leaves the savings of 2 physical servers by using VMWare. These savings get less if I put in Nehalem based servers that without VMware already scale themselves to the real consumption need.
Then I have high availability left, this I cannot compensate with Nehalem hardware.
Windows is not perfect and applications can be a hassle so there will be times when you just want to go back to the way it was.
This strategy will have extra costs, if I make on the hour snapshots of all servers there will be heavy
server activity making these snapshots. To add, if the server breaks down on the hardware level having a snapshot will not make it work again in one hour. In the case of VMware it can bring down all VMWare servers on that machine.
These are my visible pro´s and con´s, there´s some side issues too.
VMWare is expensive, the implementation, licenses and maintenance will leave me without an arm and possibly a leg. I do not want a virtual DC or Exchange server for that matter. Adding a VMware layer without good reason leaves me with an extra part in the machine that can and will break down.
Lastly, saving energy is a hard value in this migration, servers will be fitted with all available energy saving options without compromise.
I´ve got a real decision to make and a budget that fits both options.
Any input is welcome and will aid me in making the right choice.
Thanks in advance, you may fire when ready.