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Here's what I want to setup: 1 quad core server running ESXi, a lower end server running ESXi as a failover option, a NAS system to house my virtual machines (Windows, Linux) as well shared data (photos, movies, music, etc) accessible from various virtual machines.

My thinking is that is my quad core system goes down, I'll still have access to everything via the lower end server and obviously it'll run slower.

I'd like some feedback this setup and potential NAS systems.


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closed as off topic by Sam Jan 19 '12 at 11:31

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You'll need to setup vCenter so that you can setup a cluster between the hosts. You'll want to either have the vCenter server running on the backup machine, or on a separate physical server. If the vCenter server is running on the host that fails it wont be available to restart the VMs on the other machine.

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Why not use something like ghettovcb to replicate guests to a backup host? Ok, it's not automatic failover but it's free and doesn't require any additional hardware. If the main box goes down, you can just start the guests up on the 2nd host. - Free alternative for backing up VM's for ESX(i) 3.5 and 4.x+

If you're still looking into a cheap NAS box (I assume the budget is fairly low), it might be worth looking at something like the Iomega storcenter ix-200s. They are VMware certified for NFS and iSCSI.

StorCenter ix2-200 Specs

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So what you're saying is you prefer the single point of failure to be an expensive NAS box holding your data instead of the cheap boxes holding the operating system? Why not just two boxes and backup to the NAS?

If you're talking about "failover" as in vmotion, there is nothing "low end" about a setup that will reliably support that.

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If I'm using two boxes, how to replicate the VM's from one box to another with ESXi? I don't need HA, I'm just looking for backup ability so I don't lose everything in the event of a failure. – atldawg Jul 30 '10 at 21:09
@atldawg, Store the virtual machines on the NAS and you don't need to deal with replication. The NAS must support NFS or iSCSI. – Zoredache Jul 31 '10 at 6:27

I like the idea of using ghettoVCB, seems like a good way to go to give me good backup coverage for the VM's. I guess the next part I need to figure out is what to do about data? Do I store the data on the VM's and the let ghettoVCB handle the backups or do I get a NAS or two and mirror the data?

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Just remember that mirroring isn't a backup, you need backup as well ^^ – Oskar Duveborn Aug 1 '10 at 15:45
Good point. Since this is a home system, what's the best way of backing up lots of data (500 GB or so)? – atsldawg Aug 1 '10 at 19:01