May 23, 2011

I'm Switching To Open Source Virtualization

You read that right my friends. Even though I am VMware certified, and I love their products the fact is that the new company I work for is on a shoe string budget and can't afford the expensive cost of VMware. Now we do have a 3 node ESX cluster using VMware advanced edition, but that is the limit my company wants to spend which is to say it costs a lot just for that.

That cluster is in our colo and hosts my company's production websites which are our money makers, so of course they were willing to spend money on that, but my home office environment? That is a different story. It is completely done with whatever the hell the previous admin could put together to make things work. Don't believe me? Here is a picture of the server room I inherited:

Yes, those are all just stacked on each other without rails, and yes the top four boxes are desktop computer running as servers. I am not making this shit up! Not only that but if you can't tell, the bottom servers are old HP DL360 G3's! Those came out in 2004! WTF?

Well, I can certainly do better I think even with a limited budget. What I want to do is buy two low end SuperMicro servers with a crap load of RAM, and an 8TB iSCSI NAS. Then on the two servers I want to install a really cool open source virtualization system built on Debian Etch and uses KVM and OpenVZ virtualization technologies. It is called Proxmox VE. Unlike other free virtualization servers like ESXi, it supports clustering and live migration! That means I can start with the two servers, and as the business grows, I can just add more servers to the cluster! Mmmm, smells like scalability!

Also, if I even need to do maintenance I can migrate my VMs over to the other node while I take the other one offline. Smells like 3 nines of uptime baby! Also it supports backups of full VMs all in one easy to use web based console!

Here is a video I grabbed off the Proxmox wiki showing how easy it is to setup a two node cluster:



I know SuperMicro servers are really cheap, but they can hold way more RAM than the DL360 G3's which only hold 4GB of RAM each. Plus the 8TB NAS I want to get runs on SATA drives, but then so do the desktop servers above. My plan is to setup the two servers, with the iSCSI and virtualize all the other servers in the room and get rid of it all.

I think with the size of my company a two node Proxmox VE cluster will keep us running at the home office fore quite some time. What do you think? Are you going to give Proxmox VE a try? Do you use a different alternative to VMware in your environment? Let us know in the comments. tags:             

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