multiple arrays or one big one for ESXi server?

Posted on 2009-12-31
Last Modified: 2013-11-14
I have 8 drives, they are all RE2 320GB WD SATA drives that I plan to use for my ESXi server.  I can either create 3 arrays of raid 1 with 2 hot spares:

Option 1
Raid 1 320GB
Raid 2 320GB
Raid 3 320GB
2 hot spares (total usable space is 960GB)

Or use all 8 drives for a raid 10 array:

Option 2
Raid 10 (8 Drives) 1.2TB

I don't mind losing the space with option 1 if i get better performance.  None of my VMs are larger then 250GB so they can all fit on a different array.  I am running Exchange, SQL, and a few XP images.  

I read that SATA drives are not full duplex which leads me to believe that I won't see much if any improvement in breaking out the drives into separate arrays.  

What would give me the best I/O performance?
Question by:menreeq
    LVL 22

    Expert Comment

    Are the arrays all off of one controller?
    Does the controller have both read and write cache (enabled).

    ESX has a doc that covers some of the issues but more in the SAN arena, it may help:

    Author Comment

    yes, all on one controller.  yes on the cache.  What do you think?
    LVL 55

    Accepted Solution

    I'd split into two RAID 10s, mainly because best practices are not to have log files on the same spindles as data so you can zero loss restores if needed. Doesn't mean just logs on one set of spindles though, can have Exchange logs on same spindles as SQL data if size dictates, the I/O is going to be to random to tune anyway under VMware.
    LVL 46

    Assisted Solution

    I changed my mind, and want add clarification, 2 x RAID10s if and only if these are industrial server-class SATA disks designed for 24x7.  Otherwise, a RAID10 and a RAID1, and use 2 hot spares.

    Author Comment

    yes, they are entrpise sata drives...sounds like i will go with 2 x raid 10's.  thanks.

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