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Hyper-V and Virtualization - New install, need recommendations

Posted on 2009-02-19
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Last Modified: 2013-11-11
I am in the process of deploying a new Dell 2950 with DAS MD1000 that will be used for virtualization.  The questions I have are in regards to best options for which type of RAID to deploy and where certain files should be setup.  The server has 16GB RAM, (2) Quad core 3.0 processors and currently has (2) 136GB 15K SAS drives internal, and is attached to an MD1000 that currently has (3) 450GB 15K SAS drives.  I currently have the (2) 136GB drives in RAID 1 and have the Windows Server '08 (64bit) installed here.  All of this space is allocated to a single drive (C:).  I currently have the (3) 450GB drives in RAID 5, none of this space has been allocated yet.  

I am confused regarding the placement of the VHD files and the placement of where to save the actual virtual machine files.  I am open to reconfiguring the current RAID.  Is is better to mirror the (2) disks and only put the HOST install there, or should I also put the OS installs for the virtual machines there?  What is the best recommended way to go with what I currently have?  What is the best way if I were to buy additional drives?  At this point the virtual machines would be file servers, or lightly used application servers.

-mcbride
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Question by:shockey
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by:Philip Elder
ID: 23685973
Ideally, RAID 1+0 would be your best bet for disk I/O performance for the 450GB drives. Note that 4 disks would be required for this configuration giving you 900GB of usable space. Your VHDs would go there.

RAID 5 takes a pretty significant hit on performance during writes and there will be a lot of write activity on a virtual server.

Leave the OS where it is. We would leave a 25GB partition behind the OS one on that RAID 1 for the swap file to keep it on its own.

Philip
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by:shockey
ID: 23686078
So, I should break out the 136GB RAID 1 into a C: drive for the Host Server '08 OS and then break out 25GB, let's call it E: and put the page file there.  
If I put (4) 450GB drives in RAID 1+0 then I lose half of that space, which is alot, but you think that performance would be too bad if I use RAID 5 so I only lose 1 drive?
When setting up the virtual machine in Hyper-V manager it asks where I want to save the virtual machine file, then later in the wizard it ask where I want the VHD.  Should both of these be saved on the external RAID array on the MD1000 DAS , or should any of them be saved on the internal RAID 1 set?
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Philip Elder earned 900 total points
ID: 23686197
130GB RAID 1:
 100GB for OS
 30GB for SwapFile

RAID 1+0 is the best form of array configuration for high performance I/O needs. So yes, your cost is in volume relative to the performance gained. Small benifit is the ability to lose one member in each pair before the array actually fails.

If this is a highly important box, then purchase 2 450GB drives and set one up as a hot spare for the RAID 1+0 array and purchase an additional 136GB drive and set it as a hot spare for the RAID 1 array.

Some benchmarks for you:
http://www.iishacks.com/index.php/2008/03/24/dell-das-md1000-benchmarks/


The

Philip
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Author Comment

by:shockey
ID: 23686364
how do you suggest I create the structure for the directory where the virtual machine files are stored and where the VHDs are stored?  Should all of this go on the RAID 1+0?  Should I just partition this out according to how many different drives I need for each virtual server. Example:  If I am going to have 2 virtual servers using this 450GB, should I partition it up into (2) 40-40GB drives for the OS install of each virtual server then partitition the remaining up as needed for the file storage for the virtual servers?  This part isn't reall clear.  Thanks.

-mcbride
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by:shockey
ID: 23686648
is there an easy way to break off the 30GB for the swap file since I already allotted the full 130GB to the C: drive when I configured the RAID?  Or will I have to delete the current config and reconfigure, thus needing to reload the OS?
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by:Philip Elder
ID: 23686697
You could try Disk Management on the server itself. Or, use the diskpart at an elevated command line to shrink the OS partition.

Philip
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by:shockey
ID: 23691964
OK.  I shrunk the C drive and added E and moved the pagefile to E.  Now, to setup the first VM fileserver.  In the normal existing server we have (2) drives, 1 for the OS and 1 for all of the file storage.  How do I replicate this in Hyper-V?  Do I create the partitions in Disk Management first?  What size are you supposed to make the OS partition for the VM if it will be Server '08?  During the Hyper-V create a new VM wizard, when asked where I want to store the files for the VM, is this going to be yet another location separate from the OS partition and the File Storage partition?
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Author Comment

by:shockey
ID: 23692641
specifically, I would like to know the pros/cons of storing the VM config file on the host drives or on the drives for that VM.  specifically, because I have over 80GB of free space available on the C drive (host OS installled here), I was wondering if there would be any reason why I shouldnt create a directory here to store the VM files?
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by:Philip Elder
ID: 23694735
You store your VM related files on the dedicated RAID 1+0 array. Leave the OS partition to the OS.

Philip
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