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I am looking at small office upgrade and wanted to get some advice from the VM community. I currently have the following which is proving to be very unreliable due to several reasons.

Single server 10GB RAM, RAID 5, SATA1.35 TB running Windows 2008 and Hyper-V with 2 VMs of windows 2003 and 50 users. These Windows 2003 VMs run SQL 2005, Exchange 2003, various applications etc

This is proving to be troublesome with to many services on 2 few machines in my opinion.

I want to retain this IBM hardware and install OpenFiler to create an iSCSI SAN.

Then introduce 2 new servers running ESXi 4.0 Introduce a new 8 port gigabyte swtich for connection betweek the ESXi hosts and the iSCSI SAN. The servers will typically be 16GB RAM, XEON processor and host ESXi only on a SSD HD.

I then hope to run between 3 VMs on each server with a mixture of Windows 2008/2003 and maybe a linux server all stored on the iSCSI SAN. I am hoping to add VM licenses to this setup later on for management, HA etc.

My concerns are the SATA drives for so many VMs, users and disk requests. I would prefer SAS in RAID 10 or 5?

Comments on whether this will be sufficient to support 50 users and the number of VMs. Is ESXi the correct VMWare product in this scenario?

Thank you

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up vote 1 down vote accepted

Firstly I wouldn't waste your money on SSDs just to boot ESXi from - it's pointless, go from either a memory stick/SD-card or the cheapest R1 array you can. You should easily be able to run more than 3 VMs on those boxes too.

SAS drives would be better but you'll have 10GB to play with so most requests will be served from cache. I wouldn't worry about it just yet, just get on with it and get it working, you'll learn a lot as you go and may run into other problems but just come on here and ask.

If and when you need the benefits of SAS you should deal with it then, for now I think you'll be fine.

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