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drive array config for new ESXi host

Posted on 2010-01-11
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I'm about to deploy a new ESXi host.  I have 5 x physical hard disk on my server.  I have 1 x mirror that is 62gb's and 1 x RAID 5 that is 272gb's.  Is this a good config for virtual machines?  The reason I ask is that I'm asked which disk should my new virtual machine files be installed onto.  That made me wonder if this is a good config.  I thought about installing the guest OS onto the mirror and then later attaching a virtual drive from the RAID 5 drive pool...  Any suggestions?!
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Question by:gopher_49
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12 Comments
 
LVL 22

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65td earned 1000 total points
ID: 26289248
Probably best to spread the IO over as many disks as possible.
Controller type and read write cache on the controller will also affect performance as will disk speed (RPM).

Here some links:
http://www.yellow-bricks.com/2009/12/23/iops/

http://www.vmware.com/pdf/Perf_Best_Practices_vSphere4.0.pdf

http://pubs.vmware.com/vsp40/iscsi_san_config/wwhelp/wwhimpl/common/html/wwhelp.htm#href=t_use_adaptive_scheme_to_make_lun_decisions.html&single=true
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Author Comment

by:gopher_49
ID: 26289435
Ok...  Raid-10 spread across all 5 drives has better performance....  So, should I just make 1 large raid-10 logical drive via my array controller and allocate the space via VMWare client management software?
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Expert Comment

by:ryder0707
ID: 26289521
Your setup is good enuf as a start
Install esxi on raid 1 and create datastore from the raid5 disk, as long as the VMs are not on the same disk as esxi, you are on the right track
You can move to raid10 if you have the budget in the future
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Author Comment

by:gopher_49
ID: 26289586
I have the ability to replace my 2 x drives in my mirror with 2 x drives that will allow me to create a raid 10 across all 5 drives.  Originally I was going to place my ESXi host OS and the system volumes of my guest OS' on my mirror, then I was going to create my virtual data volumes on my Raid 5 and then mount them as drives to my guest OS'.  My thinking was to have the ESXi OS and all guest OS' on a mirror array and all data volumes on a raid-5 array.  Is my best option to just go ahead and create 1 large logical array with all 5 drives and make it a RAID 10?  Do I need to create a dedicated logical drive for my ESXi OS install OR just let ESXi create the logical drives within my existing raid-10 array?
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Assisted Solution

by:ryder0707
ryder0707 earned 1000 total points
ID: 26289828
well the choice is yours but installing esxi on raid10 is a bit overkill dont you think :)
in most environment i supported, esx/esxi is installed in raid1, local vmfs is not used as all VMs are stored in SAN, raid5 array
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Author Comment

by:gopher_49
ID: 26289940
Ok..  So, my mirror array will store my ESXi OS and nothing else and my raid-5 array will store both the os' and data volumes to my guest os'?  Keep in mind...  The only data being accessed is an exchange db that will never exceed 75 gb's.
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LVL 24

Expert Comment

by:ryder0707
ID: 26289983
Yeah that is fine mate, go for it!
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LVL 22

Expert Comment

by:65td
ID: 26293521
Can the server support an internal USB with ESXi on it?
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Author Comment

by:gopher_49
ID: 26293570
I have two more configs that I can do with the drives I have laying around...  Which one of the below would be better.

72 gb mirror for my ESXi host
150 gb mirror for virtual machine 1
150 gb  mirroe for virtual machine 2

OR

72 gb mirror for my ESXi host
then 4 x 150gb drives in a RAID-10 config (I can then have ESXi hand out specified sizes to my virtual machines)
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LVL 24

Expert Comment

by:ryder0707
ID: 26293585
the 2nd one
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Author Comment

by:gopher_49
ID: 26293636
that's what I was thinking.. RAID-10 is supposed to be as reliable or close to as mirrors as gets about the same speeds, but, at the same time allows large LUN's to be created...  I'll go with a mirror for my ESXi host and then one large LUN that is on a RAID-10 array.

Thanks!
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Author Closing Comment

by:gopher_49
ID: 31675843
The links provided by 65td shed light on the load that the file system takes when using VM's....  ryder0707 but it into reality for me.

Thanks to both of you for now I have a much better understanding of virtual machine and the performance they can cause on a file system and the various configs that are suggested.
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