Improved configuration and lower costs are on John E Quigley II’s wish list for VMware ESX. In the meantime, Quigley is moving ESX to the back burner.
Today, Quigley — a senior network engineer — told me that his firm, Total Quality Logistics, LLC, will be migrating over to Microsoft Virtual Server 2005 R2, over the next 45 days. TQL — up to now a VMware shop — will only use ESX in the lab. ESX is too expensive to upgrade and requires more training and resources than TQL can deliver, Quigley said.
“ESX is an good product, but we are seeing issues with the configuration. And replication inside of VMware has always had issues. I have found problems with RPC communications, which affects Exchange and Active Directory. I found the issues during a prototyping exercise with Microsoft and some black belts a few years ago.”
At that time, Microsoft actually recommended using VMware to prototype the network configuration for an Exchange 2000/2003 rollout. Microsoft provided “a bunch of work-arounds for the known issues with the RPC issues.” He’s since replicated this environment with Virtual Server and “never saw any issues that they were apparent with VMware.”
“We are running several SQL servers sessions on ESX, and performance is not what we expected. I have created a new Virtual Server session for a new SQL 2005 server requirement, and it is outperforming the ESX session hands down. With ESX, we can’t easily import or export sessions, and a key lib file has died, and we are getting errors (on) all Internet searches…The only fix is to re-format and install ESX from scratch. It is locking the sessions up, and currently we can only admin from the Web console, as the management application crashes the ESX server.”
Quigley finds using Virtual Server simple and straightforward and gets plenty of documentation on configuration and tuning from Microsoft.
“Microsoft is willing to support many of the services that we are running under VS, not VM. Microsoft is willing to assist with consulting and services to better implement the product. The ROI on Microsoft is much better.”
Quigley says he’s pleased with Microsoft products overall, particularly the performance and troubleshooting capabilities of Microsoft AD/Exchange/SQL performance and troubleshooting
“I have been running the product since the Alpha, and really like the results that I am seeing. With the beta of what they are offering on the Longhorn, I see a lot of promise.”
After discussing this subject with John, I checked out Scott Lowe’s
How to Provision VMs Using NetApp FlexClones. Scott has some great info on working with ESX in Windows environments on his blog; but I didn’t find anything relating directly to John’s problems.
An article on SearchDataCenter.com, however, discusses the fact that “backing up VMware’s ESX Server is a fairly clunky process” and some of the third-party companies — like NSI Software Inc., Asigra Inc. and Vizioncore Inc. — that are releasing products that assist in replication on ESX.
Is anyone out there sharing John Quigley’s experiences with ESX configuration and cost problems or having no problems with those issues at all? Let me know by commenting here or writing to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.