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VMWARE on SAN and Windows paging file question

Posted on 2007-11-26
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I am about to build a Win2003 server on a VMWare ESX with SAN. It's an initial installation, which will - in the future - contain of 2 SANs connected by a slow (5Mbps) link for replication purposes (DR site). Also, the primary site will have 2 VMWare hosts connected to the same SAN for failover with VMotion, where the secondary only one host with it's own SAN. However, this latter is not an issue for the sake of this question. My primary concern is the performance and the amount of the data that will be replicated between the primary and secondary site SANs. I could go simple by creating one VM storage per O/S and install Win2003 together with it's swap file onto it. It's easy to manage. However my primary concern is that the paging file and it's frequent changes, would generate a lot of replication traffic, which would be completely unnecessary. I am not planning to do VMotion between the sites. How do I come about this problem? Shall I create a separate LUN on the SAN only for the purpose of the paging file and specifically tell Win2003 create a paging file on a different drive? I am a complete newbie when it goes about the SAN, we have contractors setting this up for us, and I would throw the problem on the forum to hear different approaches before I accept their solution.
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Question by:groobo
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Expert Comment

by:Rahul Misra
ID: 20351373
Set the paging file size SYSTEM MANAGED and let Windows do the management.
 
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Author Comment

by:groobo
ID: 20351777
That's not what I am asking; it's not a Windows question; more like VMW/SAN. If I keep the paging file on the volume (drive) with windows, and elect the replication of this volume, I am creating additional SAN replication traffic across sites, which is not necessary as I do not plan doing VMotion across the sites. That's why I am thinking about creating LUN specifically for the paging file for which the snapshots and replication between sites would be disabled.
However, I would still like to use the VMotion for 2 ESX hosts connected to the same SAN locally. Now the question is, will a separate LUN for the windows swap be somehow limiting to the local VMotion?
We have 3TB NetApp SAN here that 'understands' VMWare, as I have seen at initial configuration of the volume.
I hear different opinions, that's why I would like to ask the experts for best practice.
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Author Comment

by:groobo
ID: 20352737
Clarification: In above, I am talking about LUNs, where I shall rather talk about volumes. Some system/data volumes will be mirrored, where swap file volumes won't.
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robocat earned 300 total points
ID: 20352808

NetApp recommends putting the host swap files on a different VM datastore (or LUN on the NetApp). As long as you keep this datastore on shared storage, you should be able to use VMotion.

You could consider replicating this LUN to your DR site also, but less frequent, because this will make recovery during a disaster a little more easy.

We ourselves don't separate the swaps from the host directories, but we don't over commit the VMWare RAM, so there's not much paging going on.
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Author Comment

by:groobo
ID: 20353317
Found this on NetApp:

[…] Virtual machines should have their swap files, pagefiles, and user and system temp directories moved to separate virtual disks residing on separate datastores residing on NetApp volumes dedicated to this data type. In addition, the ESX servers create a VMware swap file for every running VM. These files should also be moved to a separate datastore residing on a separate NetApp volume. Figure 33 shows an example of this data layout. [...]
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