Monday, November 2, 2009

Preferred Hardware for Virtualization Part II - Configurations & Performance

Now that you have the specs for the Dell 2900 III and the Dell T610 servers, I wanted to give some examples of configurations I use in my environment and some performance or utilization statistics (real stats from past month). Both of my configurations here will be for the 2900. The first configuration I am going to give is the configuration running the greatest number of virtual hosts. The second configuration is the server that runs half (about 32) of our Thin Clients in our production data entry facility (See post here.) and half of our servers for that location. To make it easier, I will use Retail prices for any pricing info I give, but understand that with volume licensing programs and a Dell account you may be able to get significant discounts (For example, open business licensing on datacenter edition without hyper-v is around $2,150. The servers below can get down around $6,500).

Configuration 1
Dell 2900
2 X 2.66 Ghz Processors (Intel 5355 - Quad-core)
16 GB RAM
8 X 400 GB 10k SAS drives (Raid 10 - 1.44 GB usable space)
4 X Gb NICs (Two built-in, 1 Add-in)
Total Server Cost - ~$8,500
2 X Windows DataCenter Edition Processor Licenses - 2 X $2,971
1 X VMWare ESX Standard 2 Proc. (could have used foundation) - $2,568

Total Cost for Unlimited Use - ~$17,000
Cost per Virtual Host - ~$810 (Remeber includes all server licensing costs)
Number of Virtual Hosts - 21

Server Breakdown
1 X Domain Controller
2 X Processing Box
1 X Terminal Server (Approx 10 Thin Client Users)
1 X Virtual Center Server
6 X Web Servers
2 X Backup Servers
4 X Personal Computers (Still Server Edition to take advantage of unlimited licensing)
1 X Email Archival
1 X Video Conferencing
1 X FTP Server
1 X File Server

CPU Utilization (in Mhz)
Maximum
10,646 (Almost 1 full processor)
Average
4,606 (2 Cores)

Memory (Percentage)
Maximum
86
Average
78

Disk Usage (in KBps - should support more than 40k KBps)
Maximum
8,059
Average
2,383

Network Utilization (in KBps)
Maximum
42,224 (Proof that gigabit is not always required for VMWare)
Average
3,017

So, as you can see here, we overbuilt this server. It was one of our first servers. We could have gone with one processor which would have saved ~$3,700 (1 Datacenter Proc + 1 CPU). This would have brought the system cost to ~$13,300 and then per virtual machine cost to just over $600. Plus, there is still room for growth.

Now for configuration 2. I was surprised to find that running client sessions through terminal services takes up much more processing power than most servers. It is a great way to use up extra processing power.

Configuration 2
Dell 2900 III
1 X 2.83 Ghz (Intel 5440 - Quad-core)
16 GB RAM
8 X 450 GB 15k SAS drives (Raid 6 - ~2 TB Usable Space limited by Raid controller)
4 X Gb NICs (Two built-in, 1 Add-in)
Total Server Cost - ~$8,000
1 X Windows DataCenter Edition Processor Licenses - $2,971
1 X VMWare ESX Foundation 2 Proc. (may offer single processor now) - $1,889

Total Cost for Unlimited Use - ~$12,860
Cost per Virtual Host - ~$1,286 (Remeber includes all server licensing costs)
Number of Virtual Hosts - 10

At first look, we are paying a lot more per host with this configuration, but remember there are 32 clients running on the terminal servers so even though the cost is higher we are gaining a lot of value.

Server Breakdown
1 X Domain Controller
1 X SQL Server
1 X Processing Box
1 X Security Controller
2 X File Server
2 X FTP Server (One for stateless Thin Client logins)
2 X Terminal Servers

CPU Utilization (in Mhz)
Maximum
6,291 (Little more than 1/2 full processor. Turn off error reporting or you will see huge spikes in CPU when apps crash. See here.)
Average
2,627 (1 core)

Memory (Percentage)
Maximum
63 (Terminal server sessions can eat up memory if the users are using memory intensive apps like Outlook and some browsers. Make sure you test this to get an idea how much each session will use)
Average
55

Disk Usage (in KBps)
Maximum
66,320 (Biggest offender SQL averages over 21,000)
Average
13,672 (Terminal servers average under 4)

Network Utilization (in KBps)
Maximum
6,444 (Proof that gigabit is not always required for VMWare)
Average
542

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