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Help with Hyper-V Planning for Intel Modular Server

Posted on 2009-12-30
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Hi everyone!

I'm looking to get some assistance on how to best design & revamp our entire organization with Hyper-V. Some questions I have are not Hyper-V specific as well. Think of this post as being able to give your input on how to best design & optimize an entirely clean slate of a network, as we'll only planning to migrate data over from our old servers.

Through some research & vendor talk, here's the list of the fun new hardware & software I've obtained:

Intel Modular Server Chassis MFSYS25
2 Compute Modules (blades) MFS5520VI
Both Modules have 2 Xeon 5520 CPUs & 16GB of 1066 DDR3 RAM
Currently have 7 SAS 10k disks
Intel Shared LUN Key
Windows Server 2008 R2 Enterprise (gives us 4-5 virtual server licenses)

I have many questions bouncing around my head, but let me toss a few on the bigger ones out, and perhaps everything else will become more clear as I move along during testing.

1)   I am totally unfamiliar with clustering, of any kind. I do have a partition that has a shared LUN on the chassis level, and I see the disk marked as offline on both of my 2008 Enterprise test servers. What do I need to do now to enable that partition as a shared volume or cluster between the 2 servers ? Also, I'd like to toy around with Hyper-V clustering, so I can see how it works and then decide if & where it makes sense for our infrastructure.

2)   I am very concerned about overall disk I/O. There will initally be about 5 servers running off these 7 disks. I have the ability to purchase and make it 8 disks total, if that helps with a better overall RAID solution, for maximizing I/O performance across the board. The server types will be a couple of DC's, a file server, a SQL server, and an Exchange server. This is to support a LAN of about 60 users.

3)   How do I setup the fixed size VHD's & disk partitions for maximum performance ? Do I need to worry about certain data types being on RAID1 vs RAID5 vs RAID10 ? Split the OS partitions from data partitions, even if they are on a VHD ?

Even though I'm a bit fuzzy on certain areas of this project right now, I learn quickly by testing things out, and am very excited to start!

Thanks
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Question by:budgetblinds
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by:Netcraft
ID: 26149269
1) Sorry, no experience with clustering.

2) B
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Netcraft earned 750 total points
ID: 26149350
1) Sorry, no experience with clustering.

2) Best performance is from RAID-10, since you read from 4 drives and write only to two. 8 drives give you two RAID-10's, so I'd go for the extra drive, and split your VM's on the 2 volumes.

3) Just use RAID-10 for all disks, and balance the VM's according to the most intensive use, e.g. if mail and filesharing are both heavily used, store their VM's on different volumes.

If you split the VM's in a VHD for the OS and a VHD for the data, you can easily create a new OS-VHD when one machine goes corrupt. Just copy the OS-VHD from a working machine, give it a unique ID and name, configure it with the data-VHD as second drive, and shut down the machine. When the original machine gets corrupted, you can quickly start the backup and you're up and running again.
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by:Patrick Nunez
Patrick Nunez earned 750 total points
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I have experience with Clustering on the Intel Modular Server.  Just finished implementing a similar configuration utilzing 6 blades, 14 300gb SAS drives, Dual Storage Controllers, the LUN Key, external storage and an external tape drive.

I recommend that you create 2 storage pools.  Storage pool A will be for the host operating systems on the blades.  Storage pool B will be for the shared storage that you will implement using the Failover Cluster Manager and the CSV.  Storage Pool B will host your VHD's.  How big are the drives?  This factor, in addition to performance requirements, will dictate the number of drives to place in each pool.  When looking at the host operating system I recommend at least a 50gb partition.

QUICK NOTES: Make sure that you have a physical DC because if you shut down the entire cluster for any reason you will not get it back online without a lot of intensive labor.  Also, consider making the VHD's dynamic versus assigning all the disk space at one time.  Makes for easier data recovery.

If I can answer any more questions with this config let me know.
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Author Closing Comment

by:budgetblinds
ID: 31671383
Will break down into separate questions if I need further assistance. Thanks
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by:Philip Elder
ID: 26207263
Realizing that I am a little late to the game, our IMS Hyper-V Server 2008 R2 chronicles are ongoing and here:
IMS: http://blog.mpecsinc.ca/search/label/Intel%20Modular%20Server
Clusters: http://blog.mpecsinc.ca/search/label/Clusters

Philip
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Author Comment

by:budgetblinds
ID: 26210961
Philip,

I haven't had time to read them yet, but will make a point to ASAP. Thank you very much for chiming in with your info!

And please, anyone else with an Intel Modular Server and doing similar setups, add to this thread. I will do the same as we go through our testing, setup, and deployment.
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by:Philip Elder
ID: 26211297
No worries. We are having a lot of fun delving into the set up process and are about ready to create the cluster.

Our client's IMS setup:
 MFSYS25
 MFS5520VI x3 Compute Modules
 Gigabit Mezzanine cards for all three compute modules (requires second switch)
 Dual Xeon 5530s/Module
 48GB Kingston Quad Rank KVR1333xxx/4Gi (runs at 1066MHz)
 13x 146GB 15K Seagate SAS
 Second SCM controller module
 Second SWM Ethernet module

An Intel SR1630HGP with L3426 and 16GB of RAM will provide the Read Only DC functionality for the cluster as well as host System Center Virtual Machine Manager (which we will not use until our third test run). We want to run everything on the native tools before jumping into SCVMM.

Philip
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by:Philip Elder
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I forgot that we also have the shared LUN key too.

Philip
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by:Philip Elder
ID: 26329463
BB,

We have now successfully built a High Availability Hyper-V Server 2008 R2 cluster on top of the IMS.

Philip
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by:Patrick Nunez
ID: 26334099
Congratulations Philip.  The IMS with Hyper-V is a great solution.  Will you be backing up any data to tape?  If so, you will be very happy with the throughput of externally SAS attached tape drives.  With a Quantum SuperLoader we are getting in excess of 1gb/min.

Cheers.
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Author Comment

by:budgetblinds
ID: 26338529
Hi Phillip,

I've been a bit distracted the past week from working on the virtualization project, but am now about to be in full swing on it this week. I've just started to skim your articles. I'll contact you if I need more specifics that may not be outlined in your articles.

Thanks so much.
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