So I finally became CCNA Certified on 12/21/2011. I crammed for this one but I was able to make a passing grade which is great. I was very enlightened when I finally learned about IPv6 and I cant wait to convert my network over to it. For now though we have a few other things planned that need our attention. The next project is the migration to our new virtual machine server. It is a Dell 2950 we received as a payment for some work we did a while back. We upgraded it to the specs shown below. Some parts we had from other systems. This thing smokes our old server on write/read performance .That’s only because we invested in 15K drives this time around and configured the RAID differently. We used the old platform to make this implementation even better of course.

VM Server
Make/Model: Dell 2950
Processors: Dual 2.33GHz Quad core ($50 each)
Memory: 16GB or RAM ($65 for 8GB)
Disks/Arrays: 4x 146GB 15K (RAID 5)  ($70 each)
2x 1.5TB 7.2K (RAID 1)
Controller: Adaptec 31605 w/ an added BBU w/ write cache enabled ($40 for the BBU)

Along with this migration we will be upgrading and added new services to improve our business. Our mail server is getting upgraded to Exchange 2010, using our VoIP system more, and looking into something to better manage our quoting/billing system as well. We will begin by moving over the smaller VMs then migrate the larger more important VMs slowly. FUN FUN FUN!!! Its necessary though because this is our stable network and we do a lot of this in our development network before making the changes like these live.

Once this is out of the way we will be upgrading our in house storage system to Open Solaris’ ZFS (current specs shown below). So far it has 15.54TB of raw space that will be configured and nested for reliability and speed. A while back I had an array that corrupted a bunch of data that caused serious problems. So with ZFS I want to ensure this doesn’t happen EVER AGAIN. We will be using ZFS’ various features to speed up writes and make snapshot backups of our data. We will use compression and deduplication on the data as well for different arrays. There will be a live, semi-live, backup, and archive data arrays. The primary backup array will have low level of compression enabled while the secondary archive will have a higher level for long term retention on slower low power drivers. Now with dedup we HAVE to use SSDs to speed it up so were throwing some in the mix as well. For the box it self it will be another 2950 that is being pieced together as money comes in. The plan is to have VMs on this server as well so the main chassis will hold 6x 146GB 10K drives.

ZFS Storage Server
Make/Model: Dell 2950
Processors: Dual 2.4GHz Dual core
Memory: 2GB or RAM upgrading to 8GB
Disks/Arrays: 14x 146GB 10K U320
2x 1.5TB 7.2K
5x 1.5TB 5.4K Green Drives
Controller: PERC 6/iR
PERC 4e/DC
Adaptec 5445 w/ BBU

While writing this I migrated the VM this was on without thinking and it all occurred without and issue. I had to shut down the VM only because the storage back end isn’t shared by the two boxes. A SAN is something we have been working on in our development network for a while and we will master it this year for sure.

So were on our way. PEACE!