PE2850/PV220s & VMware ESXi configuration?

Robert von Bismarck robert.vonbismarck at
Tue Jul 13 03:52:59 CDT 2010


> Hello Derek
> > I was thinking (conceptually) of building a VMWare ESXi environment 
> > out of them to replace the two-dozen Sun SparcStation 
> 20/Ultra 1/Ultra 
> > 10 boxes that are dying to be replaced.  (or they're just dying 
> > anyway, seeing how three has died in a week)
> Sorry , but the first question would be is the old PV220S 
> still supported by ESXi?
> What kind of drives are in, 73GB or 146GB? May be it's more 
> easy to make this with some big local drives?
> Years before we used some PV220S for fileservice and they 
> were slow at all. We didn't use split mode.
> Regards Gregor

Been there, done that. 
We have used a PE2850+PV220S connected to a PERC 4/E as an ESXi box.
ESXi had no issues recognizing the PERC as a storage device, but it
cannot monitor it, as there's no ESXi hardware monitoring module for it.
So it won't be able to send you snmp traps when a disk/fan fails on the
PV220, and it will not appear in the "health status" applet in the
vsphere client either when it's degraded. This means a walk into the
datacenter every morning to see if the dreaded amber light is lit (or
use a webcam looking at your rack if you're lazy like me :-)
As well, the old generation Xeons and the PERC4 are slow as molasses in
a virtualized environment, so unless you have plenty of RAM and fast
(15k rpm) disks, I'd not recommend that setup for production unless you
virtualize Really Old Stuff(tm) that does not need a lot of IO's or a
lot of CPU. If it's only a couple webservers or fileservers with static
content, you should be fine. 
As well virtualizing sparc's is tedious as it's not an x86 cpu, so you
can't do a straight P2V. You will have to migrate the apps to solaris
x86, or to some linux/bsd flavor and migrate the content, then do all
the regression testing to see if everything works.
Another thing to keep in mind is ROI, as the SCSI disks for PE2850 and
PV220 are way more expensive than the SAS/SATA disks for a newer server.
If you have to buy new disks, the price difference may well pay for a
new server (R410's with 4x1TB SATA are cheap and good frontends for
virtualization in a low-perf environment).



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