Server Fault is a question and answer site for system and network administrators. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

Currently we have these servers :

  1. Windows SBS 2003 premium on IBM X266 double Xeon F43, 2GB ram. DC, exchange (70 users), Mssql.
  2. Windows 2003 R2 32bit on IBM x3400 with double XEON E5310 and 4GB ram. Terminal server (40+ users), ERP application based on uniPaaS platform from Magicsoftware, and Pervasive sql.
  3. Ubuntu 8.04 (simple pc box) with squid proxy, GLPI system and PHPBB3 forum for internal use.

Recently number of concurrent users on Terminal server passed 40 users in rush hours and it gets stuck frequently. Therefore we need an upgrade. I think about transfer all physical servers to virtual servers based on cluster of 2 physical servers for reducing downtime. I think we will grow till 50-60 concurrent terminal users in rush hours. I also plan to virtualize 10-15 Win XP/7 workstation (office,ERP etc), and there is a little probability for Asterisk\Hylafax for 100 users (if it possible on same VM). Also we need NAS storage for 2-3TB.

  1. What hardware upgrade/purchase we need for complete this task?
  2. Which VM solution is preferable VmWare or Hyper-V?
  3. What backup software should we choose? Acronis or something another?

Thank you in advance.

share|improve this question
up vote 1 down vote accepted
  • Cluster will NOT help unless you actually have a SAN behind for shared storage. Otherwise the failover just is slow (has to copy the discs). If you go "bigger" a small SAN box is definitel in order.

  • I would go with Hyper-V.... it is free and most important integrated into windows. If you ever upgrade (2008 server upward) the client components are part of the OS install and thus maintaqined with Windows Update - while VmWare is yet another component to maintain on the VM instances.

  • Hardware: you need lots of memroy (obviously) and a lot of disc IO capcity, too. Basically IO is the slow part of a server, if stressed, and on a virtualizatoin server you get a LOT of servers on one hardware platform, so normal discs just do not cut it. a RAID 10 of nic 10.000 RPM upward discs (Velociraptor) or even SAS discs pretty much is a given, especially if you run an active exchange. Even more so if you run an active SQL Server.

  • Consider upgrading to 64 bit Windows 2008 R2 for the windows servers if you can. 32 bit is very limiting (the VM may want to get more at one point).

  • Platform wise I am a fan of AMD Opterons. A dual Slot box can give you a nice 12 processor cores and the aiblity to have up to 128gb RAM (64gb with cheaper modules). Sounds like plenty for you.

If you decide not to cluster, SuperMicro has a nice case (2 rack units high) that has 24 SAS disc slots (2.5" discs) in the front. As SAS and SATA are compatible, you can plug in up to 24 discs in one small case. Adaptec has great RAID controllers, btw. - I use the same setup myself.

Backup IS critical here. You can run backup external (from the virtualization layer) or internal (in the vm's) and depending on your VM one or the other is better.

share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.