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Defrag your SAN (exchange, VMWare, SQL)

Posted on 2010-11-21
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Last Modified: 2013-11-14
Hi,

Just wondering how many of you defrag your SANs, and if you had experience with doing so when you have any of the servers running there data on the storage (exchange, SQL and VMWare) when Mirroring is enabled?

At the moment we only do Mirroring from one site to another out of work hours, but i read doing defrags can kill the mirror because the newly defragged disk is so different to the disk its being mirrored to.

Anyone have any horror stories? or is this good practise and you've found a performance ++ from doing so? I can see a certain benefit to it but im worried how each server will react it especially VMWare (Which i know very little about) and how often it may kill the mirror and have to be recreated again.

Thanks for any advice all gratefully received

S
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Question by:stebennettsjb
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by:getzjd
ID: 34185428
The rule of thumb I have always understood is that defragging a SAN could actaully decrease the performance.  
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l4nc3r earned 250 total points
ID: 34185500
From what I've read and noticed on our production servers, there should be no reason to defragment your SAN array.  If you are using Virtual Machines hosted on the SAN's, you'll be fine.  Just treat your virtual servers like physical machines and defrag those.  I've noticed a major difference in performance after running a defrag on our main file server.  If you are going to get nitty gritty, you can also defrag your .vmdk files via VMWare, but I hear that the gain is very minimal.

Also know that if you use Veeam with reverse-incremental backups, the backups will most likely be much larger than normal for a day or two.  
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by:Luciano Patrão
Luciano Patrão earned 250 total points
ID: 34186090
Hi

Defrag on LUN level(like RAW Disks) is wrong and will decrease the performance and will take ages to finish.

If you want to defrag the Virtual Disks(inside on the Windows), yes that is ok. Here you can manage the defrag as a normal physical server.

Again, never defrag RAW disks.

Jail
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LVL 12
ID: 34186193
Defrag SAN = Bad Idea
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Author Closing Comment

by:stebennettsjb
ID: 34186792
Thanks for the replies, clears it up..
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Expert Comment

by:Shanibasha
ID: 34489174

In overall you can use a disk alignment tool (Paragon Alignment tool for example) to align SAN disks  of heavy duty applications like exchange, data ware house and defrag tool to run as a background application. Running defrag tool from "diskeeper" in background has given good performance improvement in file servers, dataware houses and exchange backend servers.
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