After reviewing some pricing and spec sheets, Eric decided to go with two stacks of Catalyst 3750E switches and push the still-serviceable 4503s out to the network edge. One pair of switches would reside in the telco room near the fiber terminations and perform core routing duties, while the other pair would sit down the hall and switch the server farm.
In an attempt to future-proof himself, Eric decided to get models that could support a pair of 10G links between the two stacks. These switches would ultimately cost almost as much as getting a single, highly redundant Catalyst 6500-series switch, but he would have had to retain the massive bundle of copper running from the telco room to the datacenter, or extend the fiber drops through to the datacenter to make that work. Neither prospect was appealing.
The total platform cost
All told, the virtualization hardware and software budget was hanging right around $300,000. That included about $110,000 in server hardware, $40,000 in network hardware, $100,000 in storage hardware, and about $50,000 in VMware licensing.
This budget was based on the independent consultant’s capacity planning report, which indicated that this server configuration would conservatively achieve a 10:1 consolidation ratio of virtual to physical servers, meaning 8 physical servers to handle the 72 application servers needed. Adding some failover and growth capacity brought Eric up to nine virtualization hosts and a management blade.
This approach meant that each virtualized server -- including a completely redundant storage and core network infrastructure but excluding labor and software licensing costs -- would cost about $4,200. Given that an average commodity server generally costs somewhere between $5,000 and $6,000, this seemed like a good deal. When Eric factored in the fact that commodity servers don’t offer any kind of non-application-specific high availability or load balancing capabilities, and are likely to sit more than 90-percent idle, it was an amazing deal.
Before they knew it, Eric and Brad had gotten Bob’s budget approval and were faxing out purchase orders.
The rest of the virtual virtualization case study
Introduction: The Fergenschmeir case study
Stage 1: Determining a rationale
Stage 2: Doing a reality check
Stage 3: Planning around capacity
Stage 5: Deploying the virtualized servers
Stage 6: Learning from the experience