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VMWare ESX/VSphere: Does "system" disk performance matter?

Posted on 2010-11-24
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Last Modified: 2012-05-10
Does the type of disk used for the service console/root filesystem affect performance in ESX/VSphere?  I'm going to store my guest machines on an Openfiler SAN with 10k SAS disks and am thinking I can go with cheap 7.2k SATA storage on the host machines.  

This is for my home so I want to keep costs down.  Going SAS will require me to buy a more expensive motherboard with PCI-E slots as well as a SAS card in addition to significantly more expensive disks.  I suppose I could go SSD, but that also adds significant cost.  I don't mind spending a few extra bucks if it's worthwhile, but if it doesn't really matter why bother?
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Question by:eugene81
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danm66 earned 63 total points
ID: 34209333
The only time I've seen performance issues with the service console disk is when the disk or controller are failing or having issues.  The logs will be written to that disk and not much else, so having SATA as your installation disk drive should be fine.  You might also consider buying a good quality USB stick to install ESXi onto and boot from that.  That would save you some money, too.
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by:David
ID: 34209488
Nope, it is quite common for people to use a 2GB USB stick  for the "system" device.
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by:David
ID: 34209507
(My comment was not addressed to danm66 my comment is to the author.  I would go with a premium stick also,  a SANdisk cruzer is a higher-quality stick.   But you can also go with a small industrial class flash device that is not USB-attached, but plugs into an IDE port on a motherboard.  You should be able to pick one up for around $50, and these devices are high reliability and will likely outlive your ability to even purchase a motherboard with an IDE port)
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by:eugene81
ID: 34209577
Sweet, thanks.

USB stick -- that's certainly an interesting proposition!  Will Weasel install to a USB device?
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by:David
David earned 62 total points
ID: 34210009
Heck, if you go to the HP site you can find a pre-built distribution and programs to create a USB image complete with ESXi / ESX and all the HP drivers.   (I've been told these full distributions will install on any HCL-qualified system, not just HP systems).  So if HP gives you complete ISO images to do just that, you have to believe it is safe :)
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