Hyper-V and SQL Server 2008 R2 Raid Configuration

Posted on 2010-11-08
Last Modified: 2012-05-10
1. Virtualize old servers to eliminate some hardware and reduce power usage.
2. Allow us to move VHD's for redundancy reasons.
3. Allow us to upgrade servers in the future without reinstalling each server.
4. Upgrade SQL Server 2000 to SQL Server 2008.

We just picked up another Dell 2950 server. We currently have 3 old 4U sized servers we would like to turn into VM's.  The first server (Server1) is a file server (primarily for archiving), Server2 is serving a proprietary network app, and Server3 is a SQL Server, and Server4 is a AD, DNS, and Anti-Virus, and Print server.  All of which have very low-overhead with the exception of Server3 (SQL).

More on our environment:
1. 25 Users
2. Servers and power users are on Gigabit LAN.
3. Intranet and proprietary net app our very dependent on SQL

New Server:
1. Dual Xeon Quad core
2. 16GB RAM
3. Qty. 6 - 146GB 15K SAS Drives

Our requirements is that all data is mirrored.  Our current SQL Server is split across 3 RAID-1 partitions/drives, so we don't get any of the speed advantages of a parity RAID.

My first thought is setup the OS (2008 R2) on RAID 1 (2x146GB) and use the rest of the drives for my VHD's (4x 146GB) in a RAID-10.

Will this be a bottle-neck since my SQL Server won't be able to put my log files, tempdb, and data on separate partitions/drives? Should I use 3 separate RAID-1's?  Or 1 large RAID-10?
Question by:CtrlAltDl
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LVL 23

Accepted Solution

jakethecatuk earned 500 total points
ID: 34088237
Are you looking to put all your current servers onto your new DELL2950 running HYPER-V?  If you are, then the first thing you need to consider is your AD.  You must have a physical box running AD as well for security and resilence.

SQL 2008 sits nicely on HYPER-V/ESX so that's not a problem.  With only 25 users, you won't see too much of a performance hit with disk access.  The new server will have faster better disks which will compensate for the switch from physical to VHD.

If you are concerned about log, data and tempdb going on the same disk then you could look at have two RAID 1 arrays instead of 1 RAID 10 array.

Overall though - I don't think you will see too many problems.
LVL 14

Author Comment

ID: 34088484
Not all of my servers will be VM's.  I plan on keeping my Exchange (and Intranet) on an existing 2950 and another 2950 as AD, DNS, DFS, and a dev server.

I was planning on making the new server (host OS) an additional AD.
LVL 23

Expert Comment

ID: 34088532
Microsoft don't recommend installing any other roles or features on an AD server.  About the only exception to this would be DNS/DHCP.

Installing AD on your HYPER-V server isn't something I would do or recommend.  Similarly, your 2950 hosting AD, DNS, DFS and dev server shouldn't have DFS or dev on it for the same reasons.

That aside, everything else should be ok.
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LVL 16

Expert Comment

by:John Tsioumpris
ID: 34088632
Well the recommendation for SQL is
1 storage Unit for OS (raid1)
1 storage Unit for Temp (Raid 1)
1 storage Unit for DATA (raid 10)
Personally if u certain u want ur SQL Virtualized i would only put Hyper-V+SQL on ur new server,nothing else...SQL is performance  nothing more nothing less and to be honest SQL is not a piece of Software with peculiar needs.It can run smoothly on your multi thousand dollars server as ur cheap 2nd laptop.What i am saying is that SQL is just a plain installation ....set the Collation and off u go...not much fuss....if u want redudancy just make a virtual copy.
Much better to either keep ur other servers or buy another lowend server with plenty of ram for ur Virtualization needs
LVL 23

Expert Comment

ID: 34088652
tsgiannis's comments are valid - but I would say that they are only valid when you have a higher user count than you do.  25 users is a very low user count for a SQL database.
LVL 14

Author Comment

ID: 34088691
I understand that our current AD config is not recommended, but I have a hard time justifying a $5000 server doing nothing but AD (DNS) for 25 users.  It's been that way for a couple years without any issues.

The reason I wanted to put AD on the Hyper-V server is that an AD needs to be up and running before the VM's can boot and I can't imagine an AD server is recommended as a VM.
LVL 23

Expert Comment

ID: 34088734
AD can be a VM, but you need to have at least one physical AD server.

With your HYPER-V server booting up, it will look at other AD servers during it's boot process so it won't need AD itself to start up.

However, your original question was about SQL and I don't see you having any problems with your config.
LVL 14

Author Comment

ID: 34088790
tsgiannis, I only have 6 drives to work with, so two RAID-1's and an RAID-10 isn't possible.  I'm leaning towards jaethecatuk's advice and running 3 RAID-1's like our existing SQL Server.

The SQL Server is by far the most demanding and the other servers are currently running on P4's with 1GB RAM or less.

I have to replace two servers and only have one server to do it with, so I'm pretty much stuck with VM's or one server running several roles (SQL, AD, Archive/BU, etc.).
LVL 16

Expert Comment

by:John Tsioumpris
ID: 34090473
Can u clarify this
In ur new server do u have 6 drives available or 6 drives are the maximum that ur machine can accomodate.
Also can we have the specs of all ur servers .... and probably ur opinion of how ur current situation is handling the "load"...don't count the new server .
LVL 14

Author Comment

ID: 34106822
6 drives are the max in a Dell PowerEdge 2950 2U chassis.

Thanks for all your input.  We ended up doing 3 RAID-1's, which is the way the current SQL Server is configured.

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