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mid-range server + virtualization articles ?

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3 years ago I bought a "huge" poweredge2900 server. I thought it would:
- replace 3 half-assed machines that were running as server
- provide storage and backup for all the Lan.

It did more than this, because I added virtualization to the mix. What I have, roughly, is a big NAS + an appliance server that runs virtual client machines or servers. I almost stopped buying computers or upgrade parts: everything is concentrated on the server (even the support contract.) I don't regret the initial overkill on the server at all.

Based on this experience, I think buying a larger server and concentrating services on it is of interest to small businesses. Especially when I see the price tag of high end NASes.
There is, I think, a lot to say about networking, protocols, availability, management, choosing the right VM (or OS) for the job, layering services, etc.

How about some articles on virtualization on a mid-range server, from an SMB standpoint ?
Oops. I should have searched better.
I don't remember reading the article. I will, and comment if I think there are other aspects to the story.
Some thoughts

After reading the article (seriously this time) I decided to see how VMWare's bare-metal virtualization solution would fare on my PE2900.
All looked awfully nice, until the management app told me it wasn't able to make my PERC controller emerge as a native device to a guest VM (chipset "too old", sheesh.) Meaning I was to create a big "datapool" with my RAID arrays, and use only the virtual disks within the VMs (and bye-bye to running Dell OMSA in a VM)

This is a step I refuse to take because I want to preserve long term availability on my data. EXT3 will not last a thousand years, but possibly longer than some sort of vendor specific filesystem. I feel the need for OMSA also vital.
Being in the process of redefining the structure of services (and networking), I'll look instead into kvm and the older ESX Server product.
My host OS will include the Dell management suite (OMSA) + IPMI for hardware management, NFS (I don't think I have the use for iSCSI), and the VM solution. I guess the bridging stuff will be there too. The general idea will be to keep the configuration tidy. From there, I will use VMs to add services as needed.
Basically this is my current setup, except the host went a bit untidy after 3 years, and with more VMs.

I guess the general issue is around choosing "standards" for interfacing with the VMs, and/or what to keep native and what can be virtualized on a machine, with respect to mid-term availability (and possibly performance.)

I wasn't aware of the 'inadequacies' of the chipset on this server. Nor that my Xeons are ok for VT, but not for VT-d, or whatever the heck the name is for what's required to fully support bare-metal virtualization and selective passthrough of key hardware components in the machine.

And, thanks for the article, very useful as usual.


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