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I am just getting started with virtualisation after being pointed towards it via another question on SF. I have installed vmware vSphere on one of our servers (HP ProLiant DL360 3.0GHz, 4GB RAM, 70GB HDD in Raid 1).

I have a few questions regarding vmware and virtualisation in general.

1) The server has two NIC's. When using vmware vsphere, is there any benefit in connecting both?

2) If I get some IP addresses from our ISP is it as simple as adding a route to our router that points the virtual instances's static IP?

3) Is vSphere really free? Ive registered and installed my license and I have any servers with more than 4 cores.

4) I have a server running Windows Server 2008 on an identical HP ProLiant server. How simple is it to convert it to a virtual server?

Thanks!

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3 Answers 3

up vote 3 down vote accepted
  1. VMware actually recommends at least 4 NICs for a single standalone virtual server. Two for the console connection and two for the virtual machines. Once you get into a clustered setup then you'll want to add two more for vMotion, but that's later on.

  2. Yep.

  3. It can be if you are using the ESXi license. You don't get some features, but if you don't need those features (clustering, HA, etc) then you are fine.

  4. If you purchase vCenter then you get the VMware converter which can quickly and easily convert physical servers to virtual machines. Without VMware converter you can still do it, but it's a bit harder and takes a few steps to get it done.

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Thanks! For very low level use would 2 NIC's be adequate? I'm not sure that I can add more NIC's to the server. Nor do I know how to configure them in vmware vSphere! –  dannymcc Jun 23 '11 at 21:05
    
Yes, use one for the host console and one for the VMs. As long as you've got on open PCIx or PCIe slot you can add more NICs to a DL360. As long as the NIC is supported in VMware you just need to connect it to the correct vSwitch using the VMware Client and it'll start using it. –  mrdenny Jun 23 '11 at 21:27
  • The server has two NIC's. When using vmware vsphere, is there any benefit in connecting both?

Absolutely. You can distribute the network load of multiple virtual machines across the two interfaces, which -- depending on your network topology -- may yield performance benefits. You also get enhanced reliability, since if properly configured your virtual machines will continue to have network access if one of the interfaces fails (or a cable is pulled, or a switch port fails, etc).

  • If I get some IP addresses from our ISP is it as simple as adding a route to our router that points the virtual instances's static IP?

Managing network on a virtual machine is typically the same as managing networking on a physical machine, provided you've got your VMware instance configured correctly. VMware typically acts as switch, connecting the "internal" layer network of vmware to your external layer 2 network.

So, "yes" is the short answer.

  • Is vSphere really free? Ive registered and installed my license and I have any servers with more than 4 cores.

I think the basic version here. There are fancier features that are available as additional cost options. They become more attractive as your number of physical hosts grows larger.

  • I have a server running Windows Server 2008 on an identical HP ProLiant server. How simple is it to convert it to a virtual server?

Converting a physical host into a virtual machine is not especially difficult. For Windows, it usually means installing some new device drivers (since you will effectively be swapping out your video adapter and network cards with new ones). VMware provides a tool to make the process easier but you nesed to purchase it. You obviously need to figure out how to get the data from your physical disk onto a virtual disk image -- tools like Ghost or any of various similar systems can help with this.

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  1. You can split the traffic/network roles between the physical NICs which will typically allow you to tune the overall network performance based upon your VMs' network requirements

  2. That depends on how your overall network is setup in relations to the host - simplest configuration examples may be to have your VMs sitting within your DMZ on the assigned ISP subscriber network

  3. Yes, the "pay hook" is when you have multiple hosts and want to manage them under a unified view, then the licensing starts...

  4. VMware provides tools as well as 3rd party publishers which help in the conversion, their degrees of automation will vary, but most of the tasks can also be performed manually as well (e.g. mainly swapping out device drivers - physical for virtual)

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