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Connect existing SAN to a Windows Virtual Server 2005

Posted on 2006-07-11
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Has anybody done this?  

We need to connect an existing SAN to an installation of Windows Virtual Server 2005 (Enterprise). We need the data on the SAN, there is not enough room for a VDH.

Thanks-
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Question by:ndegioia
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by:DaMaestro
ID: 17084224
As long as the server (host) has been configured to recognize it, any guest would be able to see it if you force a physical drive connection as opposed to the virtual disk connection. The only issue is how many Virtual Machines need access to the physical drive and how you want to handle the permissions.
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by:ndegioia
ID: 17084542
Would you suggest forcing the physical connection by modifying the BIOS of the virtual machine to to specify a SCSI disk as a start up device?

We are olny using one VM and it is on the domain?

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by:DaMaestro
ID: 17084626
The account properties in for the guest vm configuration would need to be able to access the drive on the SAN. You would probaly create a service account for this. The guest machine doesn't need to have the san drive as a startup device necesscairly, it could be setup as a secondary drive if the main purpose is to access data on the drive. The guest config will of course need to see the physical drive.
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by:ndegioia
ID: 17084658
Thanks, I will give that a shot.
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SMFX earned 500 total points
ID: 17086300
From my experience, there is no way to have the guest Virtual Machine in MS Virtual Server have access to the a physical drive on the host.  I seem to remember reading a doc to this affect, but I cannot find it now.  It is possible to use a Linked Drive file to migrate data from a physical disk to a VHD, but VS will not allow you to add the Linked Drive file as a disk in the config.

There are few other methods for access data on the SAN:
    1.  Share the SAN drive off and mount the share through networking.  If the guest is on the same network as the server that manages the SAN, it would just be like mounting a standard Shared Drive.  If the guest is not on the same network, you could have the host mount the SAN, setup a loopback adapter on the Host, connect a Virtual Network to the loopback adapter, and add an adapter to the new Virtual Network on the guest.  Then you can share out the drive from the host and mount it across the Virtual Network on the Guest.
    2.  If the SAN support iSCSI, use Microsoft's iSCSI adapter and mount the drive through a NIC that is on the same network as the iSCSI SAN target.

HTH,
SMFX
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by:ndegioia
ID: 17090157
Ok there are a few options, what we really need to do is create a Virtual Server running SQL Server 2005. My only concern about mounting the SAN as a shared drive is the ability to use is as SQL Servers Data Drive.  I remember running into issues with that before.  There may be a trace flag or setting we can change to make it work, I will have to look into that some more.

I am going to impliment one on these ideas today, any additional input would be apprecaited.  

Thanks all, I will let you know what happens.

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by:SMFX
ID: 17090928
If you're looking to attach a Database, don't do it on a share.  Network communications are not as timely, linear, or reliable for the database as local disk communications.  Plus, I don't think SQL supports it.

If you're going to use it for new databases, I would suggest you just attach the SAN LUN to the host, create a VHD (preferribly fixed sized to limit fragmentation), then use that VHD to place DB's on.  If you have room on the local system, create a seperate VHD for log files on the local drives or maybe another LUN on another stripe set of the SAN.  However, you mentioned in your first meeting that you didn't have room for VHD's so I assume you wouldn't have room for SQL DB's either; I guess you're not creating new DB's.

If they're existing DB's, it gets a bit more convoluted.  You could copy the DB's to another drive with space, delete the existing DB's on the SAN to free up space, create a new VHD in their place, then either use a linked disk driver or file copy within the guest to move the DB's into the new VHD.  Rather convoluted, but would work.

I'd love to hear other options if they're available.

Thank you,
-SMFX
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by:ndegioia
ID: 17092246
Here is the thing.. we need the existing databases to support the existing applicaitons, and we cannot modify it.  What we need is a testing enviroment.  We would like to install virtual server because all of out boxes are used up currently, and attach the SAN to it, install SQL 2005, attach the DB's and redirect the DEV applications to the 2005 instance to test it's functionality before we migrate the production side.

Do you know if it is possible to connect it as a secondary SCSI drive?  I have read something to that nature, although have not tried it.
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by:ndegioia
ID: 17092696
Ok you can use this syntax:

dbcc traceon (1807, -1)
go

sp_attach_db 'db' , '\\path\file.mdf'

To attach over a network share provided proper permissions are granted.

Performace issuses and corruption are a risk, but this is a not critical test system and the easiest way for us to do this.

I have yet to set it up and test it, let's see how it goes.
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by:ndegioia
ID: 17092701
Thanks all!
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