Adios Hyper-V R2, Part 1

So I’m in the mood to upgrade my virtual server.  Right now it’s running some Phenom II Quadcore with 8GB of RAM.  There are 2 320GB disks in a Raid 1 using the onboard nvdia controller.

The disk configuration was a big deciding factor when I was trying to choose between Hyper-V R2 or ESXi 4.x.  Simply put, ESXi doesn’t recognize the controller as anything more than a standard SATA controller, so RAID and thus ESXi were a no-go.

Microsoft’s built in management tools for Hyper-V never appealed to me.  I don’t feel like I can do enough to the host OS.  Plus, getting them to work in the first place is an ordeal itself.  See  Now that everything is up and running, I don’t want to touch it lest I break anything.  I hate this kind of feeling with systems and replace them with something more manageable ASAP.

I’m not sure how well Systems Center works for managing multiple Hyper-Vs in an enterprise, but vCenter works very well and it’s quite robust.  I feel like it is a very complete management solution for a virtual machine environment.  I digress though, this is just for home and only 1 machine.

Another thing that I don’t like is the lack of memory overcommit.  Hyper-V won’t let me provision more than 7 of the 8GB for the guest systems.  As I experiment and put in new systems, this is becoming a real hard limit and I’m pretty much stuck right now.

So, I’ve made the decision to do what it takes to get onto ESXi.  First thing I need to do is replace the RAID controller.  I picked up a Dell Perc 6i WITH battery (score!) off of eBay for cheap.  Almost all of the controllers do NOT come with brackets, so I had to purchase one from Mouser electronics.  My plan is go at least 2 1TB drives for OS and at least 2 2TB drives for a file server all a minimum of RAID1.  I might do something else if I can pick up more drives, but no 0.  To get this going, I need a 32-pin to 4 SATA cable.  One can be had from Dell or Amazon for about $20.

Once this is in, I’m going to have to P2V all the servers from Hyper-V hell using VMware Workstation on my desktop as purgatory before I bring up the ESXi host and then import them into VMware heaven.

I’m then going to up the memory on a couple of systems to see what performance is like when I overcommit.  If it’s acceptable, then I’ll be happy for about 5 minutes.  At some point, I’m going to pull all that RAM and add 4 4GB sticks to max out the system at 16GB of RAM anyway.

Right now I’m just waiting on the cables from Amazon and then I have to order hard drives from Newegg.  One other thing I’m worried about is heat.  The case I have does not have any cooling over the hard drives and I noticed the ones in place now are pretty hot.  That may be another cost that I’m eventually going to have to consider, but I’ll cross that bridge when I get to it.


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