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Planning The Virtual Solution
For each business, there is a unique set of requirements -- from security to availability to price. For custom system builders, the technologies available for flexible, virtualized solutions continue to increase. Intel, for example, provides nice two- and four-socket CPU solutions for VM deployment -- and the technology continues to impress us in the CRN Test Center Lab.
In particular, for higher-end solutions, we love the Xeon 5500 Series. For example, we’ve been able to take a server built with dual Intel Xeon 5570 processors, 24 GB of memory, Windows Server 2008 R2 running Hyper-V, and create what amounted to a data center in a box: a server with 20 “virtual servers.” And we were able to do it in about an hour by cloning the Hyper-V virtual machines.
More recently, on the lower end of the scale, we found that a simple, sub-$400 tower server, built with an Intel Core i5 processor, was also able to support Microsoft’s Hyper-V technology (with virtualization enabled in the BIOS).
Beyond the CPU, virtualization is critically dependent on memory -- even in deployments targeted at small and midsize enterprises. For example, while the Core i5 solution did support Hyper-V, the server itself was built with 8 GB of DDR 3 and 1,333 MHz -- and that was barely enough to support two, simultaneously running virtual machines.
For solutions like file-and-print serving, or basic small-scale network management, that might be fine. But with a more ambitious solution -- like transaction processing, for example -- the CRN Test Center has found that at least double the memory (16 GB) and dual CPUs have the reliability that a lower-end solution does not.
NEXT: Evaluating Virtualization Solutions