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raid, logical drives, VMWare and sbs 2008 Premium

Hi,
I am wanting to use VMWare ESXi to virtualise sbs 2008 premium. I have 6 x 146GB 10k SAS drives running on 2x1.6 Quad Core HP DL350 server. My Raid controller will only run to raid 5.
I am seeking opinions, pros and cons of the following options:

Option 1: Run raid 5 across the 6 drives inone logical drive, then VMWare, with one instance of virtual SBS2008 (running 3 partitions a) 80GB OS/DC, b) 20GB swap, c) data), and other instance of virtual Server2008 (running Server2080 OS, SQL2005 and a couple of ther legacy apps which won't run on sbs2008 - haven't thought of partitioning yet). OR

Option 2: Array A: raid 5 on 5 drives, with sbs2008 (running 3 partitions a) 80GB OS/DC, b) 20GB swap, c) data), PLUS Array B: buy additional 2 drives and run Raid ? on 3 drives (running Server2080 OS, SQL2005 and a couple of ther legacy apps which won't run on sbs2008).

Option 3: I am completely offtrack with both above suggestions and you have a better idea ... if so please elaborate

I am thinking that Option 2 would not require virtualisation, but will require an additional $1100 investment in drives.

The things I need to consider are: speed, storage, redundancy, ease of installation, ease of maintenance.

Any thoughts??

regards

James
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betterlifedirections
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betterlifedirections
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1 Solution
 
Philip ElderTechnical Architect - HA/Compute/StorageCommented:
When virtualizing any server or servers for production, something to keep in mind is that one of the most serious bottlenecks that will be in the system is the Disk I/O subsystem.

Add-in RAID is better than on board RAID.

RAID 5 write performance is no where near as good as RAID 1+0.

Because VMs will be using a significant amount of disk I/O for reads but most especially for writes, RAID 1+0 is the better route to take. The catch though, is the cost in the RAID array's volume.

Our virtualization solutions run a dedicated RAID 1 pair with two partitions for the OS and the swap file respectively. We would then have at least 4 more spindles for the RAID 1+0 array, and at least one global hot spare to catch any drive failure in either RAID 1 or RAID 1+0 array.

Philip
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betterlifedirectionsAuthor Commented:
Thanks Philip,

looking at the Microsoft recommended virtualisation option - Server 2008 as parent running HyperV role, with SBS2008 child, and server2008 child,

are you saying that you would install the parent onto a raid 1 pair, and the rest (2 child virtualised instances) on to a raid 1+0  grouping of 4 discs?
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Philip ElderTechnical Architect - HA/Compute/StorageCommented:
Yes.
Host OS = RAID 1 with two partitions. One for the OS and one (2.5* Memory) for Swap File.

VHDs and VMCs on partition that takes up the entire RAID 1+0 array.

Philip
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betterlifedirectionsAuthor Commented:
So that Raid 1+0 array would all be one logical drive, formatted NTFS as a basic volume (eg D Drive) and not partitioned?

Then would I use that D Drive to have Hyper-V manager save the files for virtual machine and virtual disks ... eg creat Virtual Machines first, then create vhds for each vmc in the same sort of configuration for each machine eg xGB for OS, yGB for pagefile, xGB for data??

James
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CorpCompCommented:
Please DO NOT run SQL 2005 on ESXi if the database is high use, the IO bottleneck will kill you.
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betterlifedirectionsAuthor Commented:
I veered away from ESXi and installed server 2008 with Hyper V Role as parent. The question that I have is with the D Drive mentioned above ... do I first split that into two VHDs FIRST to install the two child OS's I want on there (SBS2008 as DC as one and server2008 as the other)?
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Philip ElderTechnical Architect - HA/Compute/StorageCommented:
You are correct. A basic Volume as Dynamic Disks are not required.

You would set your defaults in VMWare to place your VHDs and VMC files into folders on the dedicated RAID 1+0 array.

You can configure your VMs in a similar manner:
 VHD1: OS + Swap File.
 VHD2: Data.

Philip
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Philip ElderTechnical Architect - HA/Compute/StorageCommented:
You can run the VM create wizard to configure your first VM and create a VHD as well. From there, you create the second VHD using the Hyper-V Manager, then attach that newly created VHD to the VM via its settings.

Philip
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betterlifedirectionsAuthor Commented:
thanks for your help
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Philip ElderTechnical Architect - HA/Compute/StorageCommented:
You are very welcome! :)

Philip
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