Clustering with virtualization noob question.
Let me start out by saying I am sorry if I am not posting this in the right place because it covers a few topics. Some of what I wish to do may not even be possible and maybe I have the wrong concept on things. Ok here I go.
I am looking for a list for the best free solution to be able run windows server on linux in a virtual enviornment but in a server cluster. I am tring to find an alternative to microsofts new server 2008 with hyper v for a more cost effective solution. If I can only do this with a paid distro or a paid distro is way better for this please let me know that as well. I honestly don't even know if server 2008 can do what I am about to ask but it sure sounds like it.
This is where my know how is a little fuzzy and I don't even know if you can do this. I want to be able to cluster a bunch of older servers to make one or more faster virtual servers. I can't seem to find any information on if clustering can do this for me. When I read tutorials and faqs on clustering I hear mostly about load balancing. To me load balancing sounds more like you have many users accessing stuff in a cluster at the load balancing server and the load balancing server then sends the user to the slave server with the least load. But one server alone is providing the power that user needs. Also load balncing clusters are used for redundency and to be fail safe in case a server goes down. Let me give an exact example of what I am looking to do.
One of the virtual servers on my cluster would say contain windows server running sql. I would like to get the performance increase of more then one server and the redundency factor. Can this be done or will a cluster with virtualization just give me a redundency factor. I am looking to make many virtual servers my cluster of computers to give the most power to the servers that need it. The problem I am currently having is I need a server to run say a simple app that needs almost no power at all but needs its own enviornment because doesn't play nice with other apps (I work for a small bank and you knows how banks run on old technology). While I have other servers that are bogged down and need more power. I would like to combine all my servers into one cluster and have it run many virtual servers so the power goes to where is most needed. I would also like to ge the fail safe environment. Is this even possible and if so what is the best distro to use with the most information available on how to set it up? What software would I use for the virtualization,are there any free solutions? I know this may be complicated and I hope that I made some sense. Thanks for your help. I'm not a noob to computers but I am to linux.
Also does it matter if my servers are of different specs or do I need something more like a blade server if I can even do this? With Linux I think I have heard people talk about taking old servers and clustering them together.