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ESXi Disk Fault Tolerance Best Practice

Posted on 2010-08-20
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Last Modified: 2012-05-10
For Windows-based server installations we generally deployed to a server with 5 disks. Two of these (lower capacity generally) were configured as RAID1 and would be for the OS and the other three with RAID5 for the data.

We now use ESXi as the base OS and deploy Windows servers as virtual machines to take advantage of general virtualisation features.

What is the best practice strategy for deploying ESXi (or ESX)? Would you still use two of mirrored disks for ESX and then create a RAID5 array for the data and host the virutal machines on there?

I'm speculating that regardless of the RAID5 fault tolerance, you'd still configure the Windows virutal servers partitions to accommodate a system and data partition (or as dictated by the appilcations installed therein)?
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Question by:Hypervizor
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coolsport00 earned 668 total points
ID: 33484314
Yep...you could use a RAID1 for the hypervisor and stick with RAID5 for your datastores. If you need a bit more performance, you can go with RAID10. You can actually install ESXi on a USB stick to free up 2 more disks. You can make a copy of it on a 2nd stick for backup. The only downside to that is you have downtime if your hypervisor install messes up, but only a few seconds it takes to plug in the 2nd stick, as well as the fact that you have to be on-site to do so. But, it is an option.

You are correct in your assumption about Windows partitions.


Regards,
~coolsport00
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by:Mike Thomas
Mike Thomas earned 668 total points
ID: 33484324
I run a mirror with a raid 5 for the data but it doesnt matter, it all comes down to if or not you plan to upgrade local disk storage, with the mirror upgrading the raid  5 is easier I guess but a full rebuild is not much hassle either so long as you back up the VM's

and yes you would build the VMs as you do physical, with 1 partition for os and another for the data and so on.




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by:davismisbehavis
davismisbehavis earned 664 total points
ID: 33491311
I always go with a local RAID 1 set for the ESX installation and then RAID 5 on shared storage for the VMFS datastores. If you are looking at very I/O intensive VM's (Databases, transactional systems) then there may well be benefit to having some RAID 10 datastores to service the I/O. This is what I do for more mission critical performance centric virtual machines
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