My ramblings on the stuff that holds it all together
vTARDIS.next runs on vSphere 5.0
I have been working furiously on an updated version of the vTARDIS based around vSphere 5, and now it’s in the open (I was on the heavily NDA’d beta programme) the goal is the same: lowest cost possible physical hardware, but the ability to build complex production like ESX environments and run large amounts of virtual ESX hypervisors and guests.
This time round, and due to some VERY cool [UNSUPPORTED] features of ESX 5 you can run more than just clusters of nested ESX virtual machines as I did in the original vTARDIS, but you can also run all the following on a SINGLE physical server running vSphere 5 – this is seriously cool IMHO
- Run 64-bit guests inside an ESX virtual machine (you couldn’t do this previously as it didn’t pass through the x64 extensions)
- Run HyperV under ESX as a virtual machine,
and allow it to run nested guests*and even build clusters of Hyper V servers
- Run XenServers under ESX as a virtual machine
and allow it to run nested guests –to be tested
- Fully stateless deployment of ESX guests using my former colleague’s amazing PXE Manager so no need to configure lots of hosts
- Run large vSphere clusters
- Multiple Virtual Storage Appliances
*I have had problems with the guests inside virtual Hyper-V nodes, more on this soon as I think it was just a config problem
In the past I used the HP ML1xx range of PC-servers, they’re great bits of kit but I was starting to run into challenges with the 8Gb RAM limit, so I have branched out a bit and gone for an HP DL380 G5 – yes it’s not quiet enough to put under your bed 😉 but they are reasonably cheap 2nd hand on eBay and more importantly they take up to 32Gb of RAM. and in day to day use it’s not too noisy
Total acquisition cost of this server as follows (all from eBay and out of my own pocket)
|HP DL380 G5, 2 x dual core Xeon 2.0GHz, 8Gb RAM, 2 x 72Gb SAS disks, P400 array controller, redundant PSU, iLo advanced license.||£550 (Refurbished)|
|6 x 72Gb 10k RPM SAS HP Disks||£270 (Refurbished)|
|32Gb RAM||£520 (!) ouch new.|
|Sold supplied 8Gb RAM kit from server||-£150|
This box has a good pedigree as you’ll see because it’s former owners didn’t erase the iLo settings before they decommissioned it (oops).
Whilst it’s noisy as hell, it seems surprisingly frugal when it comes to power consumption with approx 50% CPU load on the physical host
Local DAS array of 8 x 72Gb SFF hot-plug HP drives, I’m also backing them up to my Iomega NAS using Veeam Backup and Replication 5.
I did this work with the beta and Release Candidate (RC) builds of ESX and vCenter, I used the Windows vCenter installation rather than the appliance.
Next… The iTARDIS* more soon!
*Don’t try this at home.. you won’t be able to make it work (yet), there are some firmware issues that stop it working on a Mac Mini – but I had access to some internal resources whilst working at VMware to get around it
Stay tuned for step-by-step instructions