Looking at New Virtual Host Servers (ESXi)



  • SMB with around 25 VMs and 8TB of data . Currently have two R720XDs with OBR10 of 3.5" 7200 RPM NLSAS drives and two sockets with 128GB of RAM. I want to at least double the capabilities/capacities.

    Should I be considering a couple HCI (like VXRail), or just go with traditional servers?



  • @wrx7m What platform are they currently using? Hyper-V, ESXi, etc?



  • We always buy from xByte


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    @wrx7m said in Looking at New Virtual Host Servers (ESXi):

    Should I be considering a couple HCI (like VXRail), or just go with traditional servers?

    Seems like at your size, likely still overkill.


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    @travisdh1 said in Looking at New Virtual Host Servers (ESXi):

    @wrx7m What platform are they currently using? Hyper-V, ESXi, etc?

    ESXi in the past too, I'm pretty sure.


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    @wrx7m said in Looking at New Virtual Host Servers (ESXi):

    Currently have two R720XDs with OBR10 of 3.5" 7200 RPM NLSAS drives and two sockets with 128GB of RAM. I want to at least double the capabilities/capacities.

    Two R740xd with 256GB or more should do the trick no problem. If you need HA, just look at @StarWind_Software which will work with ESXi (or others.) Lower cost, and the higher availability of just two nodes. Going to three adds complexity.

    @KOOLER



  • @wrx7m said in Looking at New Virtual Host Servers (ESXi):

    SMB with around 25 VMs and 8TB of data . Currently have two R720XDs with OBR10 of 3.5" 7200 RPM NLSAS drives and two sockets with 128GB of RAM. I want to at least double the capabilities/capacities.

    At what capacity are you currently operating? Do you need more RAM, storage, cores, or all of the above? 🙂



  • @scottalanmiller said in Looking at New Virtual Host Servers (ESXi):

    @travisdh1 said in Looking at New Virtual Host Servers (ESXi):

    @wrx7m What platform are they currently using? Hyper-V, ESXi, etc?

    ESXi in the past too, I'm pretty sure.

    The first thought that had jumped into my mind was a Scale cluster, but wasn't sure if that was overkill or not. If the environment is Hyper-V, then two more servers makes sense, whereas ESXi gets into different licensing with 4 nodes rather than 3. We really need to know a lot more about the environment too give a good recommendation.

    That said, two more servers from xByte and Starwind to share storage is about the best we can do with what we know.


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    @travisdh1 said in Looking at New Virtual Host Servers (ESXi):

    @scottalanmiller said in Looking at New Virtual Host Servers (ESXi):

    @travisdh1 said in Looking at New Virtual Host Servers (ESXi):

    @wrx7m What platform are they currently using? Hyper-V, ESXi, etc?

    ESXi in the past too, I'm pretty sure.

    The first thought that had jumped into my mind was a Scale cluster, but wasn't sure if that was overkill or not.

    He's still in the two node range. Not in scale out. Scale would make a lot of sense if he needed scale out, and wasn't looking at VMware ESXi. The ESXi requirement makes Starwind the absolutely choice, basically with no competition.

    If he needed ten nodes, then Starwind would be up against VxRAIL. But if he needed forty nodes, it would be only Starwind again. Starwind plays in a LOT more spaces than anyone else.



  • @travisdh1 - Currently ESXi



  • @scottalanmiller - Going to three adds too much complexity even with Starwind?



  • @danp said in Looking at New Virtual Host Servers (ESXi):

    @wrx7m said in Looking at New Virtual Host Servers (ESXi):

    SMB with around 25 VMs and 8TB of data . Currently have two R720XDs with OBR10 of 3.5" 7200 RPM NLSAS drives and two sockets with 128GB of RAM. I want to at least double the capabilities/capacities.

    At what capacity are you currently operating? Do you need more RAM, storage, cores, or all of the above? 🙂

    Need more of everything. 🙂



  • @travisdh1 said in Looking at New Virtual Host Servers (ESXi):

    @scottalanmiller said in Looking at New Virtual Host Servers (ESXi):

    @travisdh1 said in Looking at New Virtual Host Servers (ESXi):

    @wrx7m What platform are they currently using? Hyper-V, ESXi, etc?

    ESXi in the past too, I'm pretty sure.

    The first thought that had jumped into my mind was a Scale cluster, but wasn't sure if that was overkill or not. If the environment is Hyper-V, then two more servers makes sense, whereas ESXi gets into different licensing with 4 nodes rather than 3. We really need to know a lot more about the environment too give a good recommendation.

    That said, two more servers from xByte and Starwind to share storage is about the best we can do with what we know.

    Yeah, we are licensed for essentials plus - 6 CPU licenses of vSphere Essentials Plus (for 3 servers with up to 2 processors each) and 1 license for vCenter Server Essentials.



  • @scottalanmiller said in Looking at New Virtual Host Servers (ESXi):

    @travisdh1 said in Looking at New Virtual Host Servers (ESXi):

    @scottalanmiller said in Looking at New Virtual Host Servers (ESXi):

    @travisdh1 said in Looking at New Virtual Host Servers (ESXi):

    @wrx7m What platform are they currently using? Hyper-V, ESXi, etc?

    ESXi in the past too, I'm pretty sure.

    The first thought that had jumped into my mind was a Scale cluster, but wasn't sure if that was overkill or not.

    He's still in the two node range. Not in scale out. Scale would make a lot of sense if he needed scale out, and wasn't looking at VMware ESXi. The ESXi requirement makes Starwind the absolutely choice, basically with no competition.

    If he needed ten nodes, then Starwind would be up against VxRAIL. But if he needed forty nodes, it would be only Starwind again. Starwind plays in a LOT more spaces than anyone else.

    Interesting



  • Should I stick with 2 CPUs? We currently have 4 cores per CPU and 2 CPUs per server. I would be looking at increasing the core count, too. I don't think adding pCPUs would benefit me.


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    @wrx7m said in Looking at New Virtual Host Servers (ESXi):

    @scottalanmiller - Going to three adds too much complexity even with Starwind?

    It adds a lot no matter what. Even if only talking physical complexity from the total number of moving parts.


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    @wrx7m said in Looking at New Virtual Host Servers (ESXi):

    Should I stick with 2 CPUs? We currently have 4 cores per CPU and 2 CPUs per server. I would be looking at increasing the core count, too. I don't think adding pCPUs would benefit me.

    No, when possible you want fewer CPUs, not more. All other things being equal, more CPUs is a negative. CPU count isn't beneficial.

    What you really want is performance per thread, and thread count. Those are what you want to increase as needed. In many cases, you can only get what you need by increasing CPU count, but if you can avoid it, it is better.

    At your size, it sounds like you can easily grow dramatically while going down to a single CPU. You can get single CPUs that will create licensing headaches for you. Right now you have eight cores. Consider a single sixteen core CPU as a starting point. That's way more performance per thread (just because these are two generations newer machines) and double the threads and reducing the CPU to CPU overhead. Two huge wins, and one small one.



  • @scottalanmiller said in Looking at New Virtual Host Servers (ESXi):

    @wrx7m said in Looking at New Virtual Host Servers (ESXi):

    Should I stick with 2 CPUs? We currently have 4 cores per CPU and 2 CPUs per server. I would be looking at increasing the core count, too. I don't think adding pCPUs would benefit me.

    No, when possible you want fewer CPUs, not more. All other things being equal, more CPUs is a negative. CPU count isn't beneficial.

    What you really want is performance per thread, and thread count. Those are what you want to increase as needed. In many cases, you can only get what you need by increasing CPU count, but if you can avoid it, it is better.

    At your size, it sounds like you can easily grow dramatically while going down to a single CPU. You can get single CPUs that will create licensing headaches for you. Right now you have eight cores. Consider a single sixteen core CPU as a starting point. That's way more performance per thread (just because these are two generations newer machines) and double the threads and reducing the CPU to CPU overhead. Two huge wins, and one small one.

    Will I still be able to get 256 GB of RAM on one CPU?


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    @wrx7m said in Looking at New Virtual Host Servers (ESXi):

    @scottalanmiller said in Looking at New Virtual Host Servers (ESXi):

    @wrx7m said in Looking at New Virtual Host Servers (ESXi):

    Should I stick with 2 CPUs? We currently have 4 cores per CPU and 2 CPUs per server. I would be looking at increasing the core count, too. I don't think adding pCPUs would benefit me.

    No, when possible you want fewer CPUs, not more. All other things being equal, more CPUs is a negative. CPU count isn't beneficial.

    What you really want is performance per thread, and thread count. Those are what you want to increase as needed. In many cases, you can only get what you need by increasing CPU count, but if you can avoid it, it is better.

    At your size, it sounds like you can easily grow dramatically while going down to a single CPU. You can get single CPUs that will create licensing headaches for you. Right now you have eight cores. Consider a single sixteen core CPU as a starting point. That's way more performance per thread (just because these are two generations newer machines) and double the threads and reducing the CPU to CPU overhead. Two huge wins, and one small one.

    Will I still be able to get 256 GB of RAM on one CPU?

    Double check with your vendor (duh, xByte) but the R740xd should do 1.5TB on a single CPU. 256GB is nothing on a per CPU basis these days.



  • @scottalanmiller Cool. Thanks. I will check it out.



  • @wrx7m said in Looking at New Virtual Host Servers (ESXi):

    Should I stick with 2 CPUs? We currently have 4 cores per CPU and 2 CPUs per server. I would be looking at increasing the core count, too. I don't think adding pCPUs would benefit me.

    A pair of 6134 would avoid the Windows Server core tax. It’s the best bang for the GHz buck and our goto for most builds.

    Need more pRAM then 6134M to gain access to 3TB per node.



  • Even though it's a small workload, I would still look at storage performance requirements closely before you make a purchase so you get the correct speed of drives. How is the OBR10 with 7200 RPM drives performing today? Would looking at 10K RPM drives improve performance and make a true business impact with your applications?



  • And since you have already paid for Essentials Plus, I can see how something like Starwind makes sense to pool your storage together. And I like the idea of single CPU. Even though your vSphere license covers up to 2 CPU in each host, you can certainly add a physical CPU later and only if needed to save a little cost on the front side.

    I saw VxRail mentioned, and I saw Starwind mentioned. But there is another option here. You could go single CPU and license vSAN for either two or 3 hosts. A two host configuration does require a witness (basically a VM that must run outside the cluster, even if on a free ESXi host), where a 3-node cluster would not. With vSAN Standard, you can do a hybrid vSAN and use disk groups made up of one caching drive (SSD) and multiple capacity drives. With a 3-node cluster, there would be a copy of each VMDK on two hosts in the cluster and a witness component on the 3rd host, allowing one host to be put in maintenance node or even to completely fail without losing data.

    https://cormachogan.com/2017/03/27/debunking-behavior-myths-3-node-vsan-cluster

    Remember, as you are looking to do this, let your decision fall on something that will give you more capacity, better performance, and easy of management for future upgrades so you can stop focusing quite so much on keeping the lights on and use more time to innovate on other projects. Regardless of what you go with, I would plan this project so that you leave open drive bays in the hosts you are getting so you can scale up the storage in the future if you have the need.



  • @networknerd said in Looking at New Virtual Host Servers (ESXi):

    Even though it's a small workload, I would still look at storage performance requirements closely before you make a purchase so you get the correct speed of drives. How is the OBR10 with 7200 RPM drives performing today? Would looking at 10K RPM drives improve performance and make a true business impact with your applications?

    You're correct that it's important to first look at storage performance requirements closely.

    OBR10 with big TB 7200 RPM drives is still slow as hell for a big hypervisor. I know this for a fact and experienced it first hand on a host with about (back then, 50) running VMs using 6x 8TB 3.5" spinners (RAID10) as the main storage for the VMs, with a bunch of 1.8" SSDs for read/write caching.

    When I had the SSD caching disabled for some planned and scheduled maintenance, the whole thing crawled. You do not want to run a bunch of VMs on a few 7200 RPM drives. You can't get high-capacity HDDs at 10k+ RPM, so if you're limited to 4-8 or so 3.5" bays, you need the big slow ones generally.

    Basically, if you will be running a large number of VMs on a small number of 7200 RPM spinners even in a RAID10, you'll need to use some kind of r/w or read caching technology, typically, if your VMs are doing things.



  • @obsolesce said in Looking at New Virtual Host Servers (ESXi):

    @networknerd said in Looking at New Virtual Host Servers (ESXi):

    Even though it's a small workload, I would still look at storage performance requirements closely before you make a purchase so you get the correct speed of drives. How is the OBR10 with 7200 RPM drives performing today? Would looking at 10K RPM drives improve performance and make a true business impact with your applications?

    You're correct that it's important to first look at storage performance requirements closely.

    OBR10 with big TB 7200 RPM drives is still slow as hell for a big hypervisor. I know this for a fact and experienced it first hand on a host with about (back then, 50) running VMs using 6x 8TB 3.5" spinners (RAID10) as the main storage for the VMs, with a bunch of 1.8" SSDs for read/write caching.

    When I had the SSD caching disabled for some planned and scheduled maintenance, the whole thing crawled. You do not want to run a bunch of VMs on a few 7200 RPM drives. You can't get high-capacity HDDs at 10k+ RPM, so if you're limited to 4-8 or so 3.5" bays, you need the big slow ones generally.

    Basically, if you will be running a large number of VMs on a small number of 7200 RPM spinners even in a RAID10, you'll need to use some kind of r/w or read caching technology, typically, if your VMs are doing things.

    Could be an option to have both. One RAID1 array with SSDs say 2x4TB and one RAID1 with 3.5" HDDs, for example 2x10TB Ultrastar He10. Fast SSD storage for VMs that need that and plenty of slow storage for VMs that need that.


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    @phlipelder said in Looking at New Virtual Host Servers (ESXi):

    @wrx7m said in Looking at New Virtual Host Servers (ESXi):

    Should I stick with 2 CPUs? We currently have 4 cores per CPU and 2 CPUs per server. I would be looking at increasing the core count, too. I don't think adding pCPUs would benefit me.

    A pair of 6134 would avoid the Windows Server core tax. It’s tje nest bang for the GHz buck and our goto for most builds.

    Need more pRAM then 6134M to gain access to 3TB per node.

    That would reduce CPU performance though, in order to get access to RAM sizes above 600% of his current need, not much of a benefit.



  • @scottalanmiller said in Looking at New Virtual Host Servers (ESXi):

    @wrx7m said in Looking at New Virtual Host Servers (ESXi):

    Should I stick with 2 CPUs? We currently have 4 cores per CPU and 2 CPUs per server. I would be looking at increasing the core count, too. I don't think adding pCPUs would benefit me.

    ...That's way more performance per thread (just because these are two generations newer machines) and double the threads and reducing the CPU to CPU overhead...

    Are you talking about if the workload has to shift from one pCPU to the other one as some kind of bottle neck? If so, I've never thought of it this way but it would be an interesting point.



  • @scottalanmiller said in Looking at New Virtual Host Servers (ESXi):

    @phlipelder said in Looking at New Virtual Host Servers (ESXi):

    @wrx7m said in Looking at New Virtual Host Servers (ESXi):

    Should I stick with 2 CPUs? We currently have 4 cores per CPU and 2 CPUs per server. I would be looking at increasing the core count, too. I don't think adding pCPUs would benefit me.

    A pair of 6134 would avoid the Windows Server core tax. It’s tje nest bang for the GHz buck and our goto for most builds.

    Need more pRAM then 6134M to gain access to 3TB per node.

    That would reduce CPU performance though, in order to get access to RAM sizes above 600% of his current need, not much of a benefit.

    I'm not sure I understand?


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    @phlipelder said in Looking at New Virtual Host Servers (ESXi):

    @scottalanmiller said in Looking at New Virtual Host Servers (ESXi):

    @phlipelder said in Looking at New Virtual Host Servers (ESXi):

    @wrx7m said in Looking at New Virtual Host Servers (ESXi):

    Should I stick with 2 CPUs? We currently have 4 cores per CPU and 2 CPUs per server. I would be looking at increasing the core count, too. I don't think adding pCPUs would benefit me.

    A pair of 6134 would avoid the Windows Server core tax. It’s tje nest bang for the GHz buck and our goto for most builds.

    Need more pRAM then 6134M to gain access to 3TB per node.

    That would reduce CPU performance though, in order to get access to RAM sizes above 600% of his current need, not much of a benefit.

    I'm not sure I understand?

    CPU performance will be impacted a little, which means workloads will run slower. With the only benefit being that in case he later needed a RAM increase of a completely absurd amount that would never, ever happen, he theoretically could do it.

    While it sounds nice to have access to memory options greater than 1.5TB, it's not of any real world value to the OP, he doesn't need anywhere close to that. But having slower CPUs will affect him, even if just a tiny bit, in the real world every day that they own the server.


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    Also, with very rare exception, single CPU approaches use less power meaning lower cost of operating, better carbon footprint, less HVAC needs, less noise, etc.