Hyper V drive configuration

Posted on 2008-10-31
Last Modified: 2012-06-21
I am going to be setting up a Windows 2008 server with hyper V, replacing some current servers. Thsi is a small shop with 30 users. I want to know if the folowing makes sense.

Host OS with be 2008, and will be AD, DHCP and DNS, and backup Exec, about 30 BG partition.
1 VM for Exchagne 2007
1 VM for MOSS 2007
1 VM for file sharing and other 32 bit apps (Windows 2003 server)

My question is, I am putting in 6 x 450 GB 15k drives. Should I make 1 array with all drives, then partition it up for a seperate partition for each VM? What is the best way to use the drives?

Question by:slypig61
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Expert Comment

ID: 22851977
I would run 3 sets of mirrored drives that would give you a formatted capicity of over 400 GB for each drive.

Run the server that is going to require the least amount of storage needed on the same mirror set as the host drive.

So I would create 3 mirrored arrays, install Windows 2008 to array 1 (you can partition this drive if you would like but you don't have to) and run the virtual server that is going to require the least amount of disk space and disk access on it.

Then you can run each remaining virtual machine on it's own set of mirrored drives.

This will give you the best availability in the event of a drive failure. The downside is it gives you least amount of storage space.

As long as the drive's are hot-swappable you can replace a failed drive without needing to power the machine off.

If there is a problem with the physical hardware and the one host machine goes down, all of the other machines go down with it.

If you are going to run this type of setup, I would suggest you have an identical server that could be used in the event of a hardware failure.

AD, DHCP and DNS - can all be configured on the secondary machine. In the event of a failure, you would transfer the hard drives to the secondary server and start up the machines in HyperV.

Expert Comment

ID: 22851992
Sorry to clarify my first sentence you would not get 400+ GB for each drive but for each disk array.
LVL 58

Accepted Solution

tigermatt earned 500 total points
ID: 22853309

It is not recommended in any virtualised environment, but particularly a Hyper-V one, that you run any roles in the Host OS other than Hyper-V. This is essential if you want good disaster recovery, since running roles in the host OS means you lose the ability to snapshot those roles, easily migrate their VHDs to another server, and there is the possibility that the performance of the VMs will be affected, because while you can control the resources a VM can use, you do not have this level of control for roles on the host machine.

If licensing is an issue, then remember that Windows Server 2008 Enterprise Edition enables you to install 1 license in the host OS, and then 4 Virtual Machines using the SAME license - this can save a lot of money on licensing.

Personally I would build at least a RAID 1 array (Mirror) for your databases - that is the Exchange 2007 and MOSS SQL Server databases. In a larger environment, a RAID 10 setup would be best for these, but for 30 users there will be little impact on performance. This leaves you 4 drives. If your budget can stretch, I would get a fifth (so totalling 7 drives), and setup a RAID 5 array across all 5. This would ultimately enable you to partition off say 20 - 30GB for the host OS, then use the remaining space for the VM VHDs. This would be good for Read/Write for the File Server, and AD/DNS/DHCP doesn't really do much on disk as such that would warrant it having any special attention.

I hope this helps, and let me know if you have any questions.


Author Comment

ID: 22853532
Would it be ok to install Backup Exec on the host OS?
LVL 58

Assisted Solution

tigermatt earned 500 total points
ID: 22853679

I would make an exception for Backup Exec, since that would probably have to go into the host OS for you to be able to connect to your Tape Drive / USB / SCSI attached remote backup storage system. My preferred approach for running Backup Exec would be to deploy it in the host OS, and then purchase the appropriate Remote Agents (Exchange / SQL Server / General Remote File Server Connectivity) to install in the Virtual Machines for backup purposes.


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