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Server 2008 Hyper-V Guests: One or Multiple VHD's

Posted on 2010-11-22
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Last Modified: 2012-05-10
Hi -

I am starting to migrate our physical servers to a virtualized environment using Server 2008 Hyper-V R2 as the host.  I have a Raid 1 setup for the Host OS and then a RAID 10 setup for Guest VHDs.  

My question is for each server we are moving over, we usually have a Raid 1 for the OS drive (C) and a Raid 5 for the Data drive (D).  In the virtualized world, is it best to create one vhd per server and partition out or is it best to create a vhd for each "drive" as we have had before?  I am trying ot figure out the benefits and if there are any performance gains as all the vhds will be on the same Raid 10 array.

Thanks for your input!

- Joe
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Question by:sbma
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by:patterned
ID: 34189921
If you've got your RAID10 for data and your OS separated out on another RAID, then I see no reason for partitions.
I keep all my VHDs on a RAID5EE and have no issues with performance.  

I'm pretty sure adding partitions to your array would cause performance loss in the end run, your RAID controller has to support partitioning, and you're limiting yourself to a certain VHD size by placing it in a partition.  With just the primary partition, you are free to extend VHD disks sizes on the fly.

If your an organization freak, just use folder directories.
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by:kevinhsieh
kevinhsieh earned 83 total points
ID: 34190088
The reasons for partitioning a physical drive in order to organize the space don't make sense in a virtual environment where you can make drives as large or small as you need without partitioning, and you can grow them later is you are not using multiple partitions on a drive.

For flexibility, I would use a separate VHD for the additional drives on a guest. It makes it easier to grow drives, and I have taken data VHDs and attached them to other VMs, and it's a lot cleaner to do that when you aren't bringing the old OS along with it.
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by:sbma
ID: 34190216
I like the idea of being able to attach data VHD's on other VMs...that makes sense.  I was just not sure if there was a perofrmance issue of having two vhds versus one vhd with a c and d partition.  I could see a performance gain if I had say different disk spindels...but as I have on raid 10 for guest vhds...probably not a gain of two vhds vs. one.
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by:patterned
patterned earned 83 total points
ID: 34190460
Nope, no performance gain there splitting up VHDs.
But as kevin said, separating data pm different VHDs can give you flexibility.
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OriNetworks earned 84 total points
ID: 34193890
One vhc per drive letter in the virtual os. Even better make any addition drives on scsi instead of ice in the virtual machine configuration. Higher performance just beware that I don't think you can make the virtual machines c: vhd on scsi. Im pretty sure that has to stay on the ide.
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