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Can I get away with a NLSAS 7200 RPM for a SAN array for VMWare?

Posted on 2011-02-16
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Last Modified: 2012-05-11
We are planning on upgrading our hardware.  We plan on running Windows 2008 and VMware.  We are a small company of only 13 employees.  The future of this company will only employ no more than 25 employees, thats if we have a grand boost in clients.  But reasonably it will be about 20 employees.  Employees will work from home and from the office.  I was looking at the Dell PowerVault MD3000 and MD3200 for an SAN array.  Regarding the hard drives there are the SAS, SATA, and the NLSAS.  Then there is the 7200RPM, 10,000RPM, and the 15,000RPM.  I am wondering if I can get away with the 7200RPM NLSAS drives instead of using the 10K & 15K RPM SAS drives.  We only run several applicaions, mainly FileMaker.  We plan on virtualizing the office desktops.  The MD3000 has 15 drives which two will be hot spare, so data will be dispersed to 13 drives.  The MD3200 has 12 drives in which two will be hot spare, so data will be dispersed to 10 drives.  What would you recommend?  What is the best solution.  I do not have a big budget.  That is why I was looking into the 7200 RPM NLSAS.  ALso would it make a real difference in cache size.  Can I get away with 16 MB instead of 64MB?
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Question by:j_rameses
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Will Loving earned 300 total points
ID: 34907583
With regard to FileMaker Server, the biggest single factor in terms of responsiveness is the speed of the hard drive, however you have a lot of other variables here and I'm not sure how to factor them in. When setting up a FileMaker server stand-alone box, some consultants will tell you to use dual 15K rpm striped drives. I consider that to be way over-kill for many small office situations, however getting something faster 7200 rpm is a very good idea unless you are dealing with a striped RAID array which can make up some of the difference. I'm not familiar with the configuration options but it looks like the array you are buying lets you mix and match SAS and SATA drives, so perhaps you can include some fast SAS drives and allocate them for FileMaker.
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by:lrpage
lrpage earned 200 total points
ID: 34911212
With Virtual desktops i/o is very important especially at startup, when all 13-25 users are trying to get their virtual machines spun up.  The more and faster spindles you can afford the better.  Especially if those desktops are going to be windows 7.  Plus most raid configurations cause you to lose IOPS.  Some places to calculate  and learn about iops

http://virtualgeek.typepad.com/virtual_geek/2009/12/whats-what-in-vmware-view-and-vdi-land.html
http://community.citrix.com/display/ocb/2010/10/31/Finding+a+Better+Way+to+Estimate+IOPS+for+VDI
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