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Virtual machines, secondary drives?

i just virtualized an old unstable machine using vmware esxi/converter. the machine imaged perfectly and is up and running with it's C drive. My question is, I am almost out of space on my esx server and i need the D drive for the machine, it's almost 300 gb. so my dilemma is: do i buy a san/nas to hold the drive? if i do will i be able to "mount" it and have the virtualized server see it, it has installed programs on it that the server uses so i need to make sure it's an exact duplicate and will be able to mount properly. i have multiple other servers i will be doing this with, so any info would be greatly appreciated!
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justyn8490
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justyn8490
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coolsport00Commented:
What storage do you have the VM you just converted on?...is it local storage on the ESXi host? I do recommend getting shared storage (SAN, NAS, NFS, iSCSI) if you can. You don't need to 'mount' anything necessarily. You can just create a 2nd disk on the VM with the appropriate size (make sure you use the proper block size for the amt of storage you need for the 2nd disk). If you do get a SAN, you could also create the storage on the SAN, then use RDM (raw device mapping) to connect the volume to the VM directly. So, as you can see, there are a couple options. It just depends on what you're wanting to spend. If you just want to add disks to your host (i.e. local storage), I recommend to at least, minimally, to use RAID1 (mirror) for HD failure purposes. If you do this, you can just add that storage as another datastore, then create your 2nd disk on the VM using that storage.

Hope that helps.

Regards,
~coolsport00
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justyn8490Author Commented:
ok thanks for the info, but a couple questions based on your response:

1) im assuming when you say "create a 2nd disk", that you mean to do this in virtual machine properties/hardware/add new?

2) with a san i could put the .vmk images on the san server and using "raw device mapping", make the .vmk look like a local drive? I'm not familiar with raw device mapping. is it a tool within the console on the esx server?
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coolsport00Commented:
1. Yes :)
2. Yes # 2 :)
When you add a disk to your VM, you will have that option in the wizard. You create the storage on the SAN (a "LUN" let's say) and point that LUN to the ESX host. You will then 'see' that disk in the 'Add HD' wizard. How to project that SAN volume to your host is diverse because it's different with each SAN architecture (NAS, FC, iSCSI). The easiest route would be to just get a couple large disks, mirror them in the host BIOS, then add them as a datastore. You would then just add another HD (vmdk) to your VM (right-click on the VM -> Edit Settings -> Add a HD).

~coolsport00
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securitythreatCommented:
I agree with Cool.  However, you seem to have a storage issue that you need to address if you are going to take full control of your enviroment.  I would recomment looking at iSCSI storage to share between host to keep redundancy.  If you are still limited, there is a product called VSA (Virtual SAN Appliance) that allows you to use the existing space on your ESX host and mirror them, as cool mentioned.  I believe HP has one that was originally developed by LeftHand Networks.  It works well and is fairly reasonably priced.
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justyn8490Author Commented:
coolsport00,

thanks for the info! i'll be accepting your solution within the next day or 2. just had one more quick question and figured id leave the question open so i can ask it. this is not contingent on you answering, youve got the points in the next day or two!

question: i need a 4 tb san. recommendations? im looking at an emc ax4 but that is getting pretty pricey. suggestions?
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coolsport00Commented:
I have an EMC CX4-120, but in all honesty that's expensive as well. At my org, I'm everything - Exchg Admin, AD/GP Admin, Server Admin, Storage Admin, etc.; what that means is I do a lot of stuff and don't get a chance to be a superior master of anything specific (well, except VMware...I think I've got that handled pretty well :P ). That being said, I'm not too familiar with storage other than EMC products. I've heard Dell and HP solutions being tossed around on this Zone a bit, especially as of late. You may want to check those out. What's your budget for a SAN?

~coolsport00
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justyn8490Author Commented:
Well I'm in the same boat as you, one man many hats type job. Well I think I could push $8k maybe more. But this being my first esx server....first San/nas I'd love it if I could get something functioning for less than $5k since it is a learning experience. I'm getting an "official" quote on an emc ax4 on Monday.
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coolsport00Commented:
I would *seriously* look into a HP solution at least "justyn8490". EMC is the industry leader & as such is going to cost you way more than you probably need to pay...just my 2ยข. :)
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