I've been asked to setup a Windows server, and also help purchase it. I am in academia, so educational discounts apply. However, we do not have an unlimited budget; it's around $6k.
I'm looking for recommendations for the following requirements:
- Be able to run a virtual instance (or two) of XP
- Simultaneously, be able to run a virtual instance of Windows7
- Connect to any VM with remote desktop, as well as the host
- Each VM needs 1-2 cores and 2-4GB of RAM
- Rack server needs redundant power supplies and multiple ethernet ports
- Is Windows Server 2008 the best choice for the host OS? Linux is an option, too.
- Is the Microsoft virtualization software better or worse than VMware?
- What's included with Server 2008 as far as licenses for running virtual machines?
I've been looking at Dell rack servers with 2 sockets and 4-core Intel CPUs, 12-16GB RAM. Disk space is not a huge requirement here, just enough to hold multiple VMs, so mirror 500GB drives.
Workload in the VMs is mostly continuous, automated data processing, CPU-bound. No SQL servers required. I'm I in the right ballpark as far as hardware selection? Do I need more/less?
Recommended reading would also be helpful.