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Should I virtualise all my companies servers?

By ScottyC ·
Hi everyone,

I've always found the information I've needed on this fantastic site but I've got a bit of an issue which has popped up and I have no time to experiment myself. Hoping someone in the know can advise one way or the other.

My company deploys a lot of new computers with customised software installations. We run five servers for the entire company.

Server 1 is a domain controller running 2003 Standard x32, Exchange 2003 Standard and handles remote access for site staff to connect via VPN. It has its own dedicated internet connection.

Server 2 is also a domain controller and running 2003 Standard x32. It runs multiple SQL 2005 databases and is also used as a file server.

Server 3 is used for image deployment (Not on Domain). Again 2003 Server Standard x32 and we use a custom application developed in-house for image deployment. This machine is connected to the office network by a single nic and has an aggregated link/team of 4 nics for the deployment network. This server has 10TB of internal RAID 5 storage for holding the images for the PC's we deploy. We found performance is maximised if we do not use this server for any other services.

Server 4 is 2008 R2 Standard (Not on domain) and runs WSUS and antivirus/malware deployment software and also supplies DHCP for the entire network.

Server 5 is running Windows 7 x64 and is used to run the companies IPPBX software.

All servers are HP DL360/380 G3/G4 multi CPU with dual PSU's etc.

We have an impending upgrade to our custom CRM system which requires we migrate to exchange 2010 and as such, Server 1 will need to be upgraded to 2008 R2 as a minimum.

We have found that our server rack with these servers, KVM's, switches etc are costing the company about $600/month in electricity to keep running based on some testing we did with a data logging power analyser.

I would like to look at buying a new, more efficient 12 core server and virtualising some of these servers with ESXi/vSphere. Can I safely virtualise Server 1, Server 2 and Server 5 given these are the servers on/managing the domain? ie there would be no domain controllers outside of the virtual environment and if so, can I allocate one of the nics on the physical server to only be available to Server 1 for the flow of email to and from exchange and for remote access?

I can't really find a difinitive answer one way or the other as to whether it's a good idea to virtualise DC's or not.

Any feedback or advice would be appreciated.


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Repost as 'Q&A'

by HAL 9000 Moderator In reply to Should I virtualise all m ...

Try reposting this in the 'Q&A' forum. The 'Discussion' forum is for matters of general discussion, not specific problems in search of a solution. The 'Water Cooler' is for non-technical discussions. You can submit a question to 'Q&A' here:;content

There are TR members who specifically seek out problems in need of a solution. Although there is some overlap between the forums, you'll find more of those members in 'Q&A' than in 'Discussions' or 'Water Cooler'.

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