Monday, 10 November 2014

Review - VMWare's ESXi 5.5.0

In my most recent project, when we first started out, our infrastructure demands were fairly modest. Really all we needed was a build server (we used Jenkins), a Maven Repository (Nexus), a DEV environment for daily deployments (database + application) and a QA environment for occasional releases (again database + application).

Since we did not anticipate much use for hardware, and we had plenty of good old AMD Athlon X2s available, we just started to use them. Life was good... I mean sure the servers were slow... but they weren't too shabby either.

And then our demands grew... well more like the *hardware* started dying out for some reason. After 3 such occurrences (you'd think one would be enough eh?), we knew it was time for a proper server. And with the *Cloud* and *PaaS* buzzwords floating out there, why not virtualize our own little platform in house?

Okay wait, that wasn't really our reason for virtualization. We wanted our new environment brought online ASAP, preferably without having to reconfigure all our servers.

What we really needed was a way to move our physical boxes into Virtual servers (p2v). Our first attempt was to use Xen as our platform. Unfortunately, Xen decided to charge customers for the converter....grr...too bad actually, because Xen is pretty light weight and is pretty easy to work with (or at least that is what I felt at the time).

We could still work around the problem, by figuring out other ways to virtualize our physical boxes, but again, we wanted something quick.

In comes ESXi. Using VMWare vCenter Converter, converting physical to virtual machines could not be more trivial. The only difficult part was that you needed to be *Administrator* to run the converter...a small price to pay. You also need to be administrator on the boxes you want to convert...which makes sense if you think about it.

So now all our boxes (windows and linux) are ported over. To manage them however, we needed to install vSphere Client (which is 385MB!). With Xen on the other hand, you can simply perform all configurations through their web client. Again, is it really a big deal...probably not. ESXi is remarkably similar to the VMWare player... so once you have everything up and running; its pretty easy to work with.

No comments:

Post a Comment