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Thread: Server Upgrades

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    Server Upgrades

    Hi all,

    Currently we use windows 2003 standard SP2 server infrastructure, we are thinking it to upgrade to Windows 2008 Eneprise . I was thinking to reduce the number of hardware servers and go with Virtual Servers - Hyper-V, Has anyone used Hyper-V? Would you recommend it etc?

    Many thanks,

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    We use Hyper-V with Server 2008 R2. Works fine. I'd recommend it particularly since it is included with the OS. Microsoft keeps adding good features with each release.

    Joe

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    Virtualization doesn't necessarily save money, or administration time. In fact it can add a lot of complexity that may not be out weighed by any benefits gained. It depends on the size of your environment, the critical nature of your systems, and your budget. You have a lot to think about. For one, if you need high availability (and you really should consider it), Windows licensing for virtual servers is a completely different model, and more expensive (basically double), than a one for one on a physical box. Doesn't matter who's hypervisor you are using. For an entry level system that includes redundant hosts (think automatic and seamless failover), you're looking at $15k minimum for hardware, depending on how many virtual servers you need to support. This is for two low end hosts with 16GB of RAM ea. and an entry level iSCSI SAN with 1TB of space. I have no experience with Hyper-V. I settled on Citrix XenServer. Base version is free and is far more powerful than VMWare's free offering. We have XenServer Advanced edition which gives us high availability and a few other necessities for less than $1000 per host. What I'm saying is to sit down, look at all the features of Hyper-V, XenServer, and VMWare, as well as the licensing and hardware costs, and the architecture you want (high availability & shared storage vs single host w/local storage) and decide what's the best fit for you. The good news is that you can test all them out, but it is a time consuming process.

    If you are looking at running only a single host, Windows server licensing is the same simple model as it is for a physical server. If you use Enterprise for your hypervisor, you can have 4 copies of Standard running as virtual servers with no additional licensing fees, unless you want high availability (as noted above). However, bynot using high availability you're keeping all your eggs in one basket. If the host drops, so do all your servers. Restoring VMs isn't hard, but it is time consuming because they are really just image files. Depending on VM size, they can take a long time to copy. And if its a critical server, how long can you wait for the VM to come back on line?
    Last edited by Doc Brown; 2012-01-23 at 11:29.
    Chuck

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    Virtual servers are great if you need flexibility and protection against hardware failure, but they are complex and expensive to implement. As long as your existing systems are performing well I'd stick with what you have and spend some money on backup and disaster recovery.

    cheers, Paul

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    Is it a problem for the network if you have some server on windows 2008 R2 and some on windows 2003 R2?

    Many thanks again

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    You can mix any flavour of Windows unless you are running Active Directory. I assume you have AD and it is set to 2003 native, which will be fine for all you need to do.

    BTW, 2003 R2 is a code upgrade, 2008 R2 is Windows 7 server rather than the Vista base of 2008.

    cheers, Paul

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    Paul There are 7 servers and all run windows 2003 R2 Standard Edition, I need to get a new server which will be Windows 2008 Server, I was thinking to upgrade the whole network structure but then its 7 Servers it might cost a fortune. I was recommended to get 2 powerful servers and run hyper-v on them but I am not so sure about it. In the next month or so all the data for these servers will be backed up on-line,(currently is being backed up on tapes). so I will have a proper backup.

    My questions are:

    1. Is it OK if I keep the current windows 2003 network infrastructure for a 1 more year or 2, and then upgrade gradually but just upgrade that 1 server for now.
    2. Get two powerful servers with hyper-v and run the virtual server on there. (Out of 7 servers only 2 are still under HP warranty).

    Many thanks for all your help.

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    Adding a 2008R2 server to 2003 is no problem. No need to change a thing unless the new machine is a DC - then you need to upgrade the schema.
    Tape is a proper backup, on-line is a slow joke and you have no control of your private data.

    1. Do not change anything, just install the new server as a member server.
    2. Virtual hardware with redundancy requires redundant disks - a SAN - and that is serious money and skills. As long as you have backed up all your data and shares etc you can recover to new hardware relatively quickly. You need to decide how fast you want your system back if you have a catastrophic server failure.

    cheers, Paul

    p.s. note to self, write blurb on how to back up and restore all your Windows stuff without doing a bare metal restore - the details are in head and in digital form.

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