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I have inherited an few servers some of which could be made virtual, I am thinking of putting the print server, ppp, dhcp, web proxy programmes together on an virtual machine on an existing ESX server.

Would any Linux distribution be good enough or can anyone recommend a one that is "better" suited to these tasks as a virual machine ?

Does anyone had advice about what to consider and the precticalities of such a move?

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Moving TO ESX 3.5??? That's confusing. I know a lot of people who have taken their time and are only just moving from 3.5, it's seriously out of date, it's been replaced twice after all. What's your driver for going to 3.5 rather than 4 or 5? –  Chopper3 Aug 11 '11 at 8:51
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3.5? I can't even remember where you load that up with coal any more! –  RobM Aug 11 '11 at 9:00
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3 Answers

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I would recommend using Ubuntu or RHEL because I have successfully installed the VMware Tools on both of these distros without a problem but they should install on any distro on the supported list.

When you're moving these onto the server I would highly recommend you look out for the following issues:

  1. Make sure you have enough disk space. I don't think ESX 3.5 supported thin provisioned disks and this can bite you in the butt.
  2. Make sure you install the VMware tools.
  3. Upgrade ESX. I would highly recommend you update to ESXi 4.1 unless you have an application that uses the console port (if you should upgrade to ESX 4.1 and look to move away from this application).
  4. It sounds like you're trying to recreate the servers as VMs and I would highly recommend doing a physical to virtual migration using VMware Converter.
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Not sure on the conversion - these often result in over specced VMs - e.g. multiple processors, too much RAM etc. In this case, the OP is looking to consolidate services onto a single VM anyway. –  dunxd Aug 12 '11 at 10:38
    
@Scott Warren Thanks for the advice. –  Tim the Enchanter Aug 15 '11 at 11:11
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Back in the day when I had to ski to school with only one ski and wolves chased me, we ran those light niche services such as dhcpd or print spooler on a single server and WE WERE HAPPY.

So the question is: is the virtualization even necessary or could you just install a single server and put couple of daemons there? Why is it that every single service, no matter how light they are, require a separate server? Perhaps it's Microsoft who has told us to do so. And VMware. Mmm... licensing costs ...

But if you actually need to virtualize, do you need some other operating systems than Linux? If not, then something like xen or KVM might work for you, too.

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He said that: "I am thinking of putting the print server, ppp, dhcp, web proxy programmes together on an virtual machine on an existing ESX server" –  dunxd Aug 11 '11 at 15:36
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Go with any Linux distro that VMWare have provided documentation for for your version of ESX, and whichever one you are most familiar with.

If you aren't familiar with any, then just go with whatever version of Linux they were already running on.

If that isn't consistent, then probably go with Ubuntu because it is quite well documented for a Linux newbie.

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