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NAS as VMWare server datastore
Author: Insu Song
Setup your own professional virtualization infrastructure
This article describes how to setup a VMWare server that stores VMWare images on an external independent NAS. For this setup, you need the following hardware:
Computer 1: This runs VMWare vSphere server. It is best to use a server class computer with lots of computer memory and CPUs. A server can cost from US$500 to US$10,000 depending on the amount of memory and the number of CPUs.
Computer 2: This runs a VMWare client to configure and monitor the VMWare host. This can be any of your laptop computers.
NAS (Network Attached Storage). E.g., Synology DS1815+, which can cost about US$1,000.
Hard disk drives for the NAS. You need to buy them separately.
UPS power supplies.
High speed network Switch: Fast network switch to connect the computers and NAS.
A high speed Internet connection. 1Gbps fiber optic services are now available in residential units. You can start your own internet company.
Once you have the components ready, you can configure your virtualization infrastructure. For Synology NAS, refer to this document.
Install vSphere on Computer 1
Install VMWare client and connect to the VMWare server.
Add LUNs of NAS as datastores of the VMWare server.
Upload VMWare images to the datastores
Start VMWare hosts. The VMWare hosts runs on Computer 1, but data are stored in the NAS.
You will be able to run hundreds of VMWare virtual machines concurrently depending on the amount of memory and CPUs on computer 1. Now you are ready to sell your virtual machines as virtual private servers to customers at US$30/month each.
Can we run data intensive data mining tasks on this infrastructure? Yes, but there are some some goods and bads:
It is cheaper and easier to use NAS than more advanced approaches like Hadoop. This shared storage infrastructure is easy to setup and manage and costs much less than more advanced approaches.
However, since all virtual machines will be utilizing the same network connection to the data storage, it will get slower as we have more servers and data.
You can overcome this by adding more network cards and independant NAS units, but this will make it harder to manage.
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