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We have two physical servers that we want to turn in to virtual hosts. I've been looking at the VMware vSphere 5 Essentials Kit for 3 hosts (Max 2 processors per host) and 192 GB vRAM entitlement + Subscription for 1 year for around $500. This I think seems best for what we want;

  • Two physical servers
  • Two VMs on each server (windows server 2008 r2 64)
  • To be able to take a backup of the entire virtual server to boot elsewhere if the hardware dies for some reason - hopefully can automate the backups?

Is this the correct version of vmware to run? The choice is pretty overwhelming to say the least!


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closed as not constructive by Sven, womble, Khaled, Shane Madden, Ward May 1 '12 at 20:33

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So you are going to run a total of 4 vm's, do you expect much growth? Is all the storage going to be local? Also this is not a production enviro correct? – tony roth May 1 '12 at 14:04
4 VMs yeah, it's for our office so all local. Not much growth to be honest at the moment – Tom Beech May 1 '12 at 14:14
why pay for vmware both xen and hyper-v will do the job quite nicely and for free. – tony roth May 1 '12 at 14:32
also if you are just looking for portability for DR purposes just use native vhd boot to cover your basis. – tony roth May 1 '12 at 14:36
It scares the powers that be i'm afraid. I'm a KVM fan of virtulisation but they want VMWare. I think they like the fact if box a goes bang, box b can run windows xp with vmplayer and run the vm that went bang – Tom Beech May 1 '12 at 15:17
up vote 2 down vote accepted

This is very close. The Essentials kit provides everything except for a means of full VM backup. vSphere Data Recovery is available in the Essentials Plus kit, which is roughly 8x the cost of the lower-end Essentials kit. Since you're not looking at shared storage and would not be able to leverage some of the higher-end features of the Essentials Plus kit, I'd go with the $500 kit you've selected and look into third-party VM-based backup solutions...

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Thanks for that. If I suspend the VM, can I just take a copy of the VM as a backup? – Tom Beech May 1 '12 at 12:26
It's more involved than that. You need a backup target and a way of managing jobs, etc. There are numerous products available that can accomplish this, though. – ewwhite May 1 '12 at 12:29
Do you know of any open source ones? – Tom Beech May 1 '12 at 12:38
@adaptr -sure, if he always wants to do his backups manually. He did ask for automating the backups. He can script all of it himself, including notifications and error-catching, or he can find/purchase a product that will do that for him. – mfinni May 1 '12 at 13:41
VM Explorer can make hot copies/backups of running virtual machines. The free version allows you to do this manually, the paid version allows you to schedule it. – joeqwerty May 1 '12 at 16:00

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