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VMWare questions

Since we are on the subject of virtualization, I have a few questions.
First, we have 5 Supermicro based servers each with 64GB of memory and
Intel Woodcrest 2 dual core 2.66 GHz CPUs + 1 6U monster with 4
Woodcrest 3.4GHz CPUs. We are looking into a single VMWare server to
help and possibly begin to replace any server that dies. The new server
would have at minimum 2 Intel Nehalem 8 core CPUs (or AMD equivalent)
and 128GB memory. Storage is not an issue since most of the storage
would be from the NAS device, but the VMs and snapshots would be stored
locally. The type of work we do in our shop is financial modeling, or
running simulations on a number of financial instruments, which is very
memory intensive. Most of the VMs would be running RHEL 5.2 or later
with possibly a couple of Windows 7 or Windows 2008 server. Our IT
people are going to purchase and preconfigure the box with the latest
VMware bare metal product whatever they decide to call it. In any case,
my concern is with memory use. Some of the things we do, such as the
modeling is very memory and CPU intensive, and some things much less. I
don't want to have to configure each VM with a large amount of memory,
but I would like it to be able to use additional available memory if
available (eg memory on demand). Some of the VMs would be somewhat
permanently running, and some would be brought up and down as needed. My
concern is that 128GB is too limiting, but I'm not sure at this point
even how the system will be used.

The real question is can we configure a VMWare vSphere  VM to use
something like a range from something like 4GB to 64GB. And, if so, can
the VM that expanded return that back to the pool.

Jerry Feldman <gaf-mNDKBlG2WHs at>
Boston Linux and Unix
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