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Simple server virtualisation

Project ID: 
Current stage: 

Description: We currently minimize the number of services running on any one server to reduce the dependencies when we perform the annual DICE upgrade. The downside to this is that we have a larger number of servers to maintain with resulting financial and environmental costs. Server virtualisation is a technology which would give us virtual servers to achieve the same desired goal whilst reducing the number of physical servers.

Deliverables: This project will have multiple phases.

  1. A simple interim solution to give us experience of running virtual machines and prove that the financial benefits do exist.
  2. Engagement with a university wide investigation into server virtualisation (Paul's virtual datacentre proposal).
  3. Decision on whether to follow the university chosen technology (preference) or go our own way.
  4. Implementation of decision.

Customer: Computing staff (to run our services) and potentially users (to run self-managed machines without needing physical hardware)

Case statement: Server virtualisation should save us money and be more friendly to the environment.

Benefits are :-

  • Reduced capital expenditure on server kit
  • Reduced energy consumption
  • Reduced effort on maintaining physical kit
  • Faster to deploy new virtual machine than install new hardware

There are downsides, however :-

  • Need to purchase more beefy machines which need SAN connectivity
  • Any physical failure affects more services


  • 16th March 09 - Documentation on setting up a new VM host now completed and tested
  • Feb 09 - interim solution in place using VMware server 2.0. Documentation on how to create and interact with VMs has been authored. Documentation on setting up a new VM host remains to be authored.
  • Aug 09 - talk on choosing an appropriate technology was presented and project presented for signoff

Timescales: Interim simple virtualisation almost complete (Feb 09).

Anticipate that university wide discussions will start spring 2009.

Priority: High priority - school plan for 2008/2009 and also in University plan.




Resources: Milestone 4.0 should need no more than 1 days effort (Alastair)



Dependencies: Phases 2 and later depend on IS and others in the university.



Proposed date Achieved date Name Description
2009-02-01 2009-02-01 1.0 Decision on which interim virtualisation solution to use
2009-02-14 2009-02-14 2.0 Produce documentation on how to interact with VMs
2009-02-17 2009-02-23 3.0 Produce documentation on how to create a new VM
2009-03-16 2009-03-12 4.0 Produce documentation on how to create a new VMware server host.
2009-04-16 2009-05-01 5.0 Produce notes on how to migrate VMs from one VM server to another.