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Suggestions for VMware ESXi RAID arrays usage for best performance

Hi,

I am setting up a new WEB + MAIL + SQL server on brand new hardware.
As basis, ESXi is used with 2 Virtual Machines, running Windows 2008 Server 64-bit.

Now, server has 2 RAID arrays setup as follows:
RAID 10 array with 4 x 1TB SATA disks = approx. 2 TB of storage space
RAID 1 array with 2 x 300GB SAS 15k disks = approx. 300 GB of fast system space

Now, could you recommend me how to configure virtual machines/ESXi to gain the best performance out of these disks?
What to put where, how much space should I allocate for what etc.
I am kinda new into VMware.

thanx.
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Andrej Pirman
Asked:
Andrej Pirman
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2 Solutions
 
Andrej PirmanAuthor Commented:
ADD-ON:
By "best performance" I mean, that I am looking for suggestions how to configure things to establish the fastest environment for WEB, MAIL and SQL servers inside ESXi.

Should I put virtual machines onto fast RAID 1 SAS array, and configure slower RAID 10 with SATA drives as D:\ drive for WEB and MAIL?
Or should I configure it somehow different?
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philtpaikCommented:
SATA 7200RPM Drives?

If so, you may want to make that your data drives. Since you will have SQL attached to the data drive also, I wouldn't go less than RAID10 on those drives. Your RAID 1 config for VMs should be fine with only 3 VMs. Once servers have booted up and you're not writing to the C drive, very little I/O occurs.
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Andrej PirmanAuthor Commented:
Which means, I could use RAID 1 SAS array for SQL logging, and performance would be better, than in case of using SATA RAID 10 array for both, SQL DB and LOGS, right?
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philtpaikCommented:
In best case scenarios, you want your OS, LOGS, and DATA to be on different spindles. If you only have those two logical disks to write to, then yes I would keep LOGS with my OS and DATA on the RAID 10.

If you have a test environment and can simulate production loads, it would be a good idea to keep an eye on the I/O for both drives. But as long as your DB is not too intense, I would probably set it up this way.
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Andrej PirmanAuthor Commented:
Thank you.
I'll wait for another week to see if any other better answers are given, and will reward and close question then.
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aldanchCommented:
I agree with the recommendation by philtpaik.

For web
SAS (Either on the same VMDK or separate)
OS
Page File

SATA
Data

For mail - (Exchange? - http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/bb124875(EXCHG.65).aspx, http://www.petri.co.il/sizing_exchange_part_2.htm)

Mail storage breakdown
Simple
SAS - RAID1
VMDK1 - OS, Page File
VMDK2 - SG_Logs > SG1, SG2, SG3, SG4 (each have a folder)
SATA - RAID10
VMDK3 - SG_DB > SG1, SG2, SG3, SG4 (each have a folder)
VMDK4 - Content Indexing, SMTP & MTA Queues (each have a folder)

Complex (Each has their own VMDK)
SAS - RAID1
OS
Page File
SG1_Logs
SG2_Logs
SG3_Logs
SG4_Logs
SATA - RAID10
Content Indexing
SMTP Queue
MTA Queue
SG1_DB
SG2_DB
SG3_DB
SG4_DB

Note: You don't have to create a separate VMDK for each one, so long as they are on a RAID1 array. For larger deployments with a SAN backend, creating a disk for each one is feasible.

For DB (SQL? - http://www.microsoft.com/technet/prodtechnol/sql/bestpractice/storage-top-10.mspx)

Simple
SAS - RAID1
VMDK1 - OS, Page File
VMDK2 - DB_Logs > DB1, DB2, DB3
SATA - RAID10
VMDK3 - DB > DB1, DB2, DB3

Complex (Each has their own VMDK)
SAS - RAID1
OS
Page File
DB1_Logs
DB2_Logs
DB3_Logs
SATA - RAID10
DB1
DB2
DB3

Note: Make sure to backup your mail and database servers in order to flush the Transaction logs because they will consume disk space if you don't.

What type of mail server are you setting up? Microsoft Exchange (2003 or 2007, Standard or Enterprise?), Novell Groupwise?

What type of database server are you setting up? SQL, Oracle, MySQL, etc?

Set your OS partition to have 21 GB (20 GB when formatted). If you want a smaller OS size, than start with 11GB.

If it's running low on disk space than simply power down the VM, mount a Linux CD or ISO image - I use Ubuntu 8.04 or 8.10, boot into the live CD and use GParted (Disk Partitioner) to extend the OS partition. Once it's extended, I reboot back to Windows, login, wait for Windows to recognize the disk change, and then reboot when prompted. You can do this with any of the partitions that are running low on HDD space.
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Andrej PirmanAuthor Commented:
Thanx for answers and sorry for delayed response.
Both answers are accepted and awarded, Philtpaik gets 200 pts for being the first and correct, and Aldanch 300 for being correct and very detailed, which is actually what I needed most.
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