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Old 04-01-2008, 03:52 PM   #1 (permalink)
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I am looking for opinions and ideas on putting BES in a virtual environment. I am under the school of thought that the SQL database should not be virtualized but the BES itself can be???? Or am i misunderstanding this?

Also which do you prefer/recommend, VMWare or MS Virtual Server? What are the pros/cons of either??

Jeff
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Old 04-01-2008, 04:24 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by jeffro01 View Post
I am looking for opinions and ideas on putting BES in a virtual environment. I am under the school of thought that the SQL database should not be virtualized but the BES itself can be???? Or am i misunderstanding this?

Also which do you prefer/recommend, VMWare or MS Virtual Server? What are the pros/cons of either??

Jeff
There is nothing wrong with virtualizing SQL. It's all a matter of size and business of the databases vs how much hardware you can throw at it. I run several SQL 2000 and 2005 servers under ESX 3.5 with no problems.

RIM will only support BES virtualized under VMWare ESX 3.x. It can work wit MSVS, but won't be supported. I'd use MS in a lab but never in prod.
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Old 04-01-2008, 04:30 PM   #3 (permalink)
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I built our BES here from the ground up as a VM and have never had any issues with it (knock on wood!!). Got about 120 users running off of it and it works great!
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Old 04-01-2008, 08:02 PM   #4 (permalink)
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2 questions, whats the difference between VMWare the free edition and VMWare ESX?

And "Fletchi18" are you running your SQL in this virtual machine as well?

Jeff
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Old 04-01-2008, 08:08 PM   #5 (permalink)
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How many users will you have initially? What do you expect the growth to be in 1-3 years? ... figuring that is how long you'll replace the server with another.
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Old 04-01-2008, 08:21 PM   #6 (permalink)
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14 initially and although our company president says no more blackberries i do not believe him, so i would expect us to push 30 at some point.

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Old 04-01-2008, 09:20 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Without knowing the size of the mailboxes and how heavily they'd be used I'd still feel pretty comfortable saying you can virtualize the whole thing without any issues.

I wouldn't bother using full blown sql server; use msde or sql express 2005. Just give yourself enough disk space and 1GB of RAM if you can.
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Old 04-01-2008, 09:39 PM   #8 (permalink)
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for the users that would be on the BES, the mailbox sizes range from 9GB (yeah i know, it's huge) on the high side to 2GB on the low side. I have a total of 85 users on my exchange server.

At some point soon we are going to a limit of 1GB per mailbox but that might not apply to our VIPs of which the 5-9GB mailboxes that have blackberries are located.

What do you think?

Jeff
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Old 04-01-2008, 09:42 PM   #9 (permalink)
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You're probably fine. As long as Exchange is dying with the load your BES should be fine.

As them to be nice and at least try to organize their inbox / sent items / deleted items. lots and lots of folders generally aren't a problem; organization is key ... keeping folders so they have only a few hundred items in them at most if at all possible.
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Old 04-01-2008, 11:24 PM   #10 (permalink)
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they are all extremely orgainized but for the longest time EVERYTHING they did was done over email, tons and tons of attachments going back years. Like i said though I am about to start enforcing mailbox sizes so all of that may get better. My exchange server is a dual quad core xeon (2Ghz Clovertown core) with 4GB of ram running Server 2003 R2 SP2, and its doing oustanding, the ram is the only thing on the short side but seeing as its exchange 2003 going higher than 4 really doesn't help it at all.

I was going to put the BES/SQL on a seperate Dell PE 2950 in a VM environment so thats why is started this thread. That server is a dual, dual core xeon (2Ghz Woodcrest core), 4GB ram again running Server 2003 R2 SP2. That server is running Deltek software which relys on an SQL database (not the full blown SQL, SQL Express\MSDE). Deltek is running natively but is extremely light on the server so thats why i figured it was a good candidate for a VM setup on top of it. There is an unused logical drive on there thats part of the RAID that would be perfect to house the VM.

Thoughts? I really appreciate it.

Jeff
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Old 04-02-2008, 12:06 AM   #11 (permalink)
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hi all,
nice to meet you guys. anyway this is my first post to this particular forum.
i just wanted to share with you guys. i have just manage to migrate from a tower server to a virtual environment. my BES server is running on 4.1.1.10 (havent patch yet, looking forward to it) on domino 7.0, on windows server. the virtual environment is esx 3.5.
the migration have been done using the P2V (partition to virtual) process. for the first day it was a success. but we got into some kind of problem when the virtual server suddenly change the date and time by itself. some investigation that have been carried out shows that the image/guest server changed its date and time according to the hardware clock. (the vendor should check this at the early stage of virtualizing the server).
the consequences was quite harsh. the timestamp of notes database (.nsf) and the template (.ntf) changed to the wrong date. right now im still in a process of creating a new copy of all .nsf files on the server. but luckily the server is running well. the only problem that i have right now is i cant add or delete blackberry users. (but its solved finally).
moral of the story, pls ensure that your date and time setting on the esx server tally with hardware clock of the machines. its good practices to have a NTP server so that you can ensure that the date and time is matched on every server before the virtualization took place.
so far i didnt across any problem with the sql server, yet... errr..
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Old 04-03-2008, 09:55 AM   #12 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jeffro01 View Post
2 questions, whats the difference between VMWare the free edition and VMWare ESX?
Jeff
VMWare Server (free) relies on either a Windows or Linux host. It runs as an application on the host. ESX is a 'bare-metal' technology. Although heavily based on the Linux kernel, is is the host OS in and of itself.

Overall ESX is a much better performer and more stable.
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Old 04-03-2008, 10:07 AM   #13 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by jeffro01 View Post
whats the difference between VMWare the free edition and VMWare ESX?
About $3000.00
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Old 04-03-2008, 10:14 AM   #14 (permalink)
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and in numbers: with VMWare ESX you use about 98% of your systems resource for your virtual machine, if you use the free version, you windows takes up already 30%, zo you can only use 70% of your system resources...
basically for school testing purposes, the free version has it all...
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Old 04-03-2008, 11:02 AM   #15 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jeffro01 View Post
for the users that would be on the BES, the mailbox sizes range from 9GB (yeah i know, it's huge) on the high side to 2GB on the low side. I have a total of 85 users on my exchange server.

At some point soon we are going to a limit of 1GB per mailbox but that might not apply to our VIPs of which the 5-9GB mailboxes that have blackberries are located.

What do you think?

Jeff
only 9 GB???? I've had users peak over 20 GB, currently top dawg is ~16 GB with several closing in on his heels. Where I see the issues with the large mailboxes in on the rescans on the mailboxes after a service startup. Obviously, scanning a 10-16 GB mailbox is going to take a few. For some of the VIPs I have allocated them their own mailbox agent.
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Old 04-09-2008, 01:36 PM   #16 (permalink)
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Interesting strategy in regards to the mailbox agent. How did you do that?

My boss is not interested in purchasing VMWareESX because of the cost so i was informed that if i wanted to virtualize BES (which i do), i have 2 choices, MS Virtual Server (which i am using now in a test setup) or VMWare. Both of which would run on top of server 2003 R2 SP2. The up side here is the PE2950 that i would be running it on has plenty of resources to spare... So i guess i have a decision to make. The PE2950 does have 2 NICs so i can completely isolate the network traffic which i'm sure will come in handy.

On a side note, does anyone here have any experience ghosting Server 2003 with an active SQL database on it? If so, i will explain the details.

Thanks
Jeff
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Old 04-09-2008, 03:53 PM   #17 (permalink)
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Sorry about the delay in my answer, Jeffro! We are using MSDE for our BES, residing on the same server, and again, things are running pretty well.

And to add, that $3000 difference is just the purchasing cost. Oh, you want support? That'll be another $1000 a year (or something stupid like that!! heh heh)!!
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Old 04-09-2008, 08:26 PM   #18 (permalink)
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But to be fair, both MS Virtual server and VMWare Server require a license of Windows to RUN the software, so the difference is less.

VMWare ESX Foundation + Gold 1 year support is $1,540. WIndows Server Standard is about $1,000. So for $500 more, you get a more robust, support platform.

It's 3am, your BES goes down. You call RIM and after you tell them BES is virtual NOT on ESX, they tell you they can't help. Is that worth $500?

Last edited by CanuckBB : 04-09-2008 at 08:30 PM.
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Old 04-09-2008, 08:59 PM   #19 (permalink)
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Quote:
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But to be fair, both MS Virtual server and VMWare Server require a license of Windows to RUN the software, so the difference is less.

VMWare ESX Foundation + Gold 1 year support is $1,540. WIndows Server Standard is about $1,000. So for $500 more, you get a more robust, support platform.

It's 3am, your BES goes down. You call RIM and after you tell them BES is virtual NOT on ESX, they tell you they can't help. Is that worth $500?
Good point ... but as an MS Partner I get lots of free server licenses ... but no free VMWare licenses.

That said, at 3am, I will be the one picking up the phone ... and when I call RIM to tell them I'm using something other than ESX they'll support me. RIM has taken much the same approach as MS with Virtualization, where they won't not support you unless the problem points to the virtualized environment or if they can't rule out virtualization.
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Old 04-10-2008, 12:38 AM   #20 (permalink)
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Good point ... but as an MS Partner I get lots of free server licenses ... but no free VMWare licenses.

That said, at 3am, I will be the one picking up the phone ... and when I call RIM to tell them I'm using something other than ESX they'll support me. RIM has taken much the same approach as MS with Virtualization, where they won't not support you unless the problem points to the virtualized environment or if they can't rule out virtualization.
You do. But the OP does not necessarely have that kind of relationship with either MS or RIM.
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