Is it time for an upgrade or a new server and looking at the new small business server 2008 and getting a little confused? Want to give virtualization a try?
SBS 2008 Premium is a licensing steal by Microsoft. It provides your with physical and virtual licesenses for SBS 2008 and Server Standard 2008 32/64 bit. As well as a full SQL 2008 license.
That is 5 licenses for the price of one and a modest price at that.
Ok, so you are sold on the license but what hardware to buy?
Things to consider when buying hardware for a virtualized environment:
- Buy Mainstream – (Dell, HP, Major Brands) Why? No not a sales pitch per se but this is new for Microsoft so they go to Dell and HP for driver support first not the stuff you can buy from random build our own sites. Sorry.
- Get the right processor – make sure you are buying a virtualization ready or newer processor. This is an Intel Processor most likely made in the last 2 years at least
- RAM – the more the better. If you use server core installation of windows server 2008 and hyper-v the non GUI install still has a RAM overhead so 12GB of RAM total will really probably give you about 10.5GB of RAM for your virtual machines. I would say 12GB is a minimum for running 2 64bit servers. That will give each about 6GB of RAM.
- RAID – pay attention to the RAID card make sure it is from a major manufacturer and has some way of indicating failure since the virtual machines will not be able to detect it.
- SAN – (Storage Area Network) is an array of disks in a separate box. While the new Hyper-V beta is the only starting to support live migration. I just want to make sure we always let clients know between v=Vmware or future Microsoft a shared storage device is required for live migration ( for this discussion lets ignore this for now)
Install Considerations Read more »
You may have heard or read the hype over the last 10 years about the “cloud” and “virtualization” to consolidate your network hardware. It all sounds “neat” and a little confusing but how does it really help? Let me share a real story of a time when virtualization has made a difference in our business. (Note names have been changed but the facts in this case are real)
I had been working hard getting a 2 NFR licsenses from Lexis Nexis Time Matters enterprise working on 2 servers, one in our main office in Milwaukee and one in our Madison office. The purpose was to demonstrate the use of SQL replication technology. That is SQL’s ability to keep to SQL databases perfectly in sync. This mixed with Time Matters 9.0 Enterprise can create 2 or more databases all over the U.S. which stay in sync in real time but individuals can still connect locally not using VPN, Terminal Server or Citirix. Neat stuff and very useful for some of our mid to large clients.
I digress. I was using a vmware virtual machine of Server 2003 to demonstrate mostly because I could work on it on my mac in vmware fusion when I had time and then could ultimately transfer it to a more powerful machine in the Madison office whenever I needed it. Using a virtual machine or a “VM” allowed me to configure the server and have all those settings maintained no matter which machine I hit “play” on. Really it can be that simple. Vmware stores the entire OS, settings, files in a matter of a couple files which can be transfered and with vmware player (free, http://www.vmware.com/download/player/) you push a green play button and your in action.
True story, the morning of the demo for the client the hard drive on the machine I was going to demo it on failed. I did not panic I did not even call our main office. Instead I drove to our datacenter with the vm on a usb hard drive. Plugged it into one of our existing servers and hit “play”. The demo was never reschedule on our client and I think our sales team at ITP may have even been a little impressed.
Vmware, Hyper-V or Xen – virtualization is coming to the SMB market and to the home user. I answer virtualization questions daily from friends, family and colleagues. I called a maintence guy in Florida to ask about the internet setup for one of our traveling clients and he said “Hey, you got a minute for a question about vmware fusion…?”
I will work up a post on virtualiztion basics so that we can demystify virtualiztion. It is not marketing this technology makes business sense.