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We would like to build our own private cloud on Ubuntu. The services will be served via VMs are: Active directory, DNS, File serving, ERP application server, SMTP server, Continuous integration Build server, backup services and other.

Which hardware specs should be suitable for this scenario?

PS: Sorry for the generality of my question, I look for some generic ideas to start searching about!!

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Thank you for your answers! I'll send here the specs and the purposes of the machine when it will be finished. – fotag Apr 28 '11 at 15:25
up vote 6 down vote accepted

If you're trying to virtualize multiple services:

  • CPU - A Multi-core multi-CPU setup is preferable to ensure availability of processor resources. In my experience, though, CPU resources for VMs rarely max out. I'd be more concerned about core count than raw speed.
  • MEMORY RAM will generally be your limiting factor as you grow. Make sure you get enough or can upgrade. I'd estimate 512MB-1GB per VM, just to be on the safe side. If you know that a service will need more, then account for it.
  • STORAGE If you are going to have more than one server hosting VMs, you'll probably want shared storage of some kind. This can be a cheap Openfiler-based solution all the way to a multimillion dollar enterprise storage system like Symmetrix. You'll probably want to run all the storage on RAID1 or equivalent, or at least RAID6.
  • NETWORK Multiple NICs are essential as you grow. Having the ability to trunk multiple VLANs and team NICs is very important.
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This is unanswerable as-is. You're only naming services, not indicating how many VM guests of what type will be needed, and how many clients they will be servicing. Imagine the same scenario without virtualization - how many hardware machines you would need will depend on the number of clients and other things that impact the expected load. Virtualization lets you consolidate so you're not wasting resources, but it doesn't reduce the load from users and internal processes.

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