Consolidating 6 file servers using virtual servers

Active Directory
Active Directory 2003
DNS server
Virtual Server
We have 6 file servers and 1 Active Directory server and 1 DHCP/DNS server on a 2003 active directory network. How can we consolidate these boxes using virtual servers cheaply and easily?

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First you should perform an analysis of you machines to see if they make good candidates for virtualization (monitoring performance to make sure you don’t virtualize a machine that ends up eating up all of the system resources on the host and causing the performance of your other machines to suffer). There are different tools for this (VMware makes one called Capacity Planner).

The rest is EXTREMELY dependent on what software you use for your virtual machine host.

Once that is done you will setup your virtual machine host. After that you will either convert your machines over to VM’s or build new servers and migrate the different roles to them. For your domain controller I 100% recommend building a new one and migrating it over, if not it can cause a bunch of headaches that you will have to go through fixing up.

To do this on the cheap, either go with VMware ESXi (which is free), but it is very specific as to what hardware it can run on (check out this link). If you want a more white box virtual machine host try Hyper-V server from Microsoft, which is again free.

There are so many options that I can’t list them all out here. Do a bunch of reading and see what software is out there and decide which one you want to go with.

Good luck with the project

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  • Spadasoe
    Hyper-V is really not free. What you will need to do is build yourself a Windows 2008 R2 server (a cluster with shared storage is a better solution). Enterprise 2008 come with 4 Hyper-V licenses. I have a hyper-v cluster on IBM servers with an IBM DS3000 storage array. 3TB of disk, supporting 40 virtual machines. The host servers have 64GB memory. YTou will want to allocate at least 2GB of memory to each VM, and also allow for host memory and if clustered enough memory for all VMs. Hyper-V info here
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  • Mattcassell
    Hyper-V Server 2008 R2 is also a standalone option as well that is free: You can pay for additional management software that you have to pay for, but the core bare metal hypervisor is free. As well the new version also supports clustering with other Hyper-V 2008 R2 servers. :)
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  • Featured Member: Spadasoe - ITKE Community Blog
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