I've been working with our E-Learning Team on designing a new Platform for Blackboard (Blackboard is a learning / course management tool). Our design has concluded with running Blackboard Enterprise on (4) Dell R900 Quad Proc / Quad Core systems with 32gb RAM via VMWare ESX 3.5 connected to a Network Appliance 3040c SAN. We will be running (28) 300 GB fiber channel drives over 4GB fiber for the back end drives. This should provide plenty of disk IO. The High IO apps like our SQL Database VMs will run over Fiber Channel and the smaller systems like QuestionMark will run via VMWare over NFS.
This design, while very new, will provide a very reliable, highly available learning management system. All systems, both Hardware and Apps are configured in some kind of cluster to minimize all single points of failure.
Performance really should be no issue, as the horsepower we can give the Virtual Machines is higher than we were able to dedicate on the old standalone physical systems.