Saturday, February 5, 2011

A question of service, or just another Hyper-V vs. VMware discussion?

Recently, one of my costumers contacted me.
They had some old servers (really old hardware, struggling with backups, stability and so on), and asked me to give them my recommendation in competition with two other vendors.

I was the only one who included Hyper-V – the rest included VMware.
Off course we offered a cheaper solution, because of the licensing in Windows Server 2008 R2 Enterprise (which includes 4 guest OS). And we could document our qualifications and expertise on the technology. So we were off running quite early with this one.

This costumer – a government department had already some agreement with another vendor for hosting their infrastructure (Exchange, Web, AD DS and so on) which was outsourced a year ago, but had some servers locally that were used for the health department in a so called ‘secure zone’.
They also had a file and print server, and last – a terminal server. The OS installed was primarily Windows Server 2000 and Windows Server 2003.

The challenge in this scenario would definitely be the health-department server. The person who installed this years ago was out of reach, and there was no documentation. This would be the ideal candidate for a P2V.
Also, the servers involved were located in three different networks.

And here`s why Hyper-V and SCVMM are some beautiful tools:

The Hyper-V server

-          1 Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1 with Hyper-V role enabled
-          6 NICs installed on the host
-          RAID 1 for the OS partition
-          RAID 5 for the DATA partition (and plenty of storage)
-          24 GB RAM
-          And a ‘decent’CPU J
Job plan:
Install a DC and SCVMM as VMs in Hyper-V, connected to each other on a Private Virtual Network (SCVMM requires an Active Directory infrastructure).
Create External Virtual NICs connected to their respective networks, and assign vNICs to the VMM server so it could connect to the servers intended for P2V.

So, after my presentation of how we should solve this, the customer went for our services.

After things were ready, we had to contact the vendor who was responsible for their infrastructure.
They reacted very negative about the entire project - though the costumer required this service for their servers locally. Actually, they did not understood how we should manage to get all this done.
I explained how the architecture of Hyper-V worked, and that the System Center Virtual Machine Manager would take care of the old servers, and move them to new fresh hardware and have a backup solution ready. They seemed a bit confused of how we could move the server to a new hardware. After repeating the word ‘Hyper-V’ again, it all came clear. They used VMware on the other side, and did not want a Hyper-V under their wings. The reason why the old servers were never moved to their datacenter was because their environment did not ‘support’ x86 servers…
And the staff that was responsible for the VMware servers, did not want another Hypervisor to manage.
Anyhow, the customer decided this, and wanted our solution. So after the VMware guys provided us with some IP-addresses, the Hyper-V solution is alive and doing fine. And they have now a backup/restore plan that is actually working.


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