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I was considering migrating the fileserver to the ESXi box and having it use its own datastore and separate drives. Is this a bad idea? With the backups for the ESXi servers on there, it kind of worries me if the SHTF.

Long story short, we needed a faster computer to replace our main RIP server. Being on a tight budget we sold off our old Dell P4 & Pentium D servers and bought a used Dual Xeon dual core 3ghz box with and virtualized the servers with ESXi 4.1. We are just using the free plan, and using internal storage (12 - 7200rpm SATA bays). The ESXi server is not being hit hard, and with 5-6 servers it idles 60% of the time.

We can keep it on the PowerEdge 850 if that's a better option. I was thinking of storing an extra copy of the VMs on the server and pointing Workstation or Fusion to those to help out in a pinch if there is a hardware failure. If I had the fileserver on the ESXi box, that would be a lot more work to recover it….am I worrying too much being it is a small shop?

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Regarding the last part about backup: The size is not always the main reason. The question is more how long can the business live without the servers running. If the boss is OK if the servers are offline for 2 days per year then you use a cheaper option than in other cases. –  Raffael Luthiger Jun 13 '11 at 20:21
    
Interesting... yes the extra $200 would be handy with the $800 ESXi budget :) A half day would be about the max downtime they would deal with...deadlines can be ruthless! After more thought I could make a cron job to dump the files nightly to a cheap 2TB USB drive as insurance. –  SkinnyGeek1010 Jun 14 '11 at 0:21
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up vote 2 down vote accepted

We do this for large file shares/servers at my company and there are no problems at all. There are ~1000-5000 people concurrently accessing shares on the server and we experience no degradation in performance over its previous physical implementation. This is done in a vSphere ESX 4.0 (not free) environment with all the datastores/guest VMs on a SAN.

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