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Question about VMware limiting datastores

Posted on 2011-04-19
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I've successfully setup a 4 drive RAID 5 comprised of 1TB disks with an approximate value of 2.7TB available on my DELL t310.  

After installing ESX 4.1 I'm seeing some strange limitations when I try to create a datastore.

1st, the default datastore is of minimum size (740GB) of type vmfs3.  I cannot increase the total capacity under the volume properties, and the block size defaults to 8MB.

2nd, if I delete the datastore and create a new one, I'm able to see the entire 2.73TB, and can create ONE datastore if I choose the use that entire amount, but cannot divide it further into smaller datastores in order to - say - add multiple machines.  It's one datastore, one big 2.73 Chunk of space, and one windows server.  Don't want that.  Want to add a netware and Linux box as well, so need more than one datastore if possible.

Am I missing something severe here?  Could this be the all the peyote I ingested last summer?  Any help would be greatly appreciated.
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Question by:stonenajem
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by:coolsport00
ID: 35427619
You have a limit for your datastore, comprising of 2TB - 512MB. You shouldn't be able to to add a datastore greater than that (roughly 1.98TB). Is this local storage, I assume?

~coolsport00
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by:Matt V
ID: 35427626
I do not think you can have more than one datastore on logical drive.  You may have to create multiple logical RAID drives to get multiple datastores.
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by:coolsport00
ID: 35427677
Yes, that is correct, if this is local storage, which it seems it is...you can only have 1 VMFS volume (datastore). If you need mulitiple datastores, for local storage, what I suggest is installing ESXi on a USB stick, then carve out 2 RAID1s so you have can 2 separate datastores. If you are using ESX, I recommend instead downloading/installing ESXi since ESX is going away.

~coolsport00
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LVL 124
ID: 35427685
Have a look at this question, which is currently live....Im working on....which is using a Dell server and PERC controller and multiple VDs...

http://www.experts-exchange.com/Hardware/Servers/Q_26965355.html
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by:stonenajem
ID: 35427758
Please take a look at the image coolsport.
datastore-max-1.jpg
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by:rindi
ID: 35427765
I don't see an advantage in splitting a large datastore into several smaller ones. The datastore is just the container for your VM's, and those VM's uses Virtual disks which in standard setups are dynamic in size (you select a certain size of the disk for the VM, but that size isn't used immediately, but rather only the amount of space is used which actually is needed by that VM ba the Data. The size increases as you fill data up until the size you had set at the beginning has been reached). This means that you are more flexible with multiple OS's. Whether the OS's in the datastore is netware, Linux or Windows doesn't bother the other VM's on the same datastore, as they don't see each other's file-systems.
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by:stonenajem
ID: 35427773
I believe I used the ESXi because that was what was indicated when I first installed, but happy to blow the config away and start over.  Is there any means externally of indicating which version I have?
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by:stonenajem
ID: 35427791
RIndi:  So, in other words, I can still use the full 2.x TB and install multiple VM on that SAME datastore?  If so, how?
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by:coolsport00
ID: 35427833
You can see if you have ESX or ESXi when you log into your host with the Client. It will say ESX or ESXi, then the build #.

The advantage of having several datastores is to *not* have a single point of failure; and, for performance purposes, if there are DB type servers. If creating VDs on a single RAID, then there is no gain because everything is all on the same RAID still.

~coolsport00
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by:stonenajem
ID: 35427852
I'll check out the other link.  When trying to create a VM, it only sees the first VD, and only sees 740GB of that disk, expecting that all the VMs have to somehow live in that limited capacity.
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by:rindi
ID: 35427905
When you create a new VM you have to give it the datastore, then tell it the size of the virtual disk you want to use for that VM. ESXi then creates a directory within that datastore for that VM and stores the configuration files and Virtual disk files there.
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LVL 124
ID: 35427986
Personally, I would create large 2TB datastores, unless they get corrupted. Smaller is better 500-800GB
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LVL 124
ID: 35427988
typo I wouldn't!
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by:stonenajem
ID: 35428761
ESXi 4.1.0
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by:stonenajem
ID: 35428858
Hope this helps, and thanks for your assistance so far.

1. Rindi - nor do I see the advantage of splitting a large datastore.  What I want is a number of smaller datastores in order to eventually house disparate virtual machines.  My original complaint above said I was attemtping exacty that, but VMWare wasn't allowing that to happen.  Your statement is accurate in that is describes what I'm trying to do, but does not addressing the problems preventing that from happening.
2.  Coolsport ESXI 4.1.0 build 348481.
3.  Rindi Again:  Your statememnt is correct, but not addressing the problem I posted.  You've simply posted how VMWARE SHOULD be working.  Unfortunately, I'm saying that it is NOT working as you specified.  My goal is to do exactly what you suggest.  Do you have any idea why that's being prevented?
4.  Coolsport:  That's my intention.  The problem is I have to go all the way back down to the controller level in order keep the size of the hardware virual disks underneith some magical ceiling that both VMWARE and Dell understands.  The problem with that solution is it eleminates the ability for the control to do RAID 5 with my 4 1TB disks.  I don't know if that's PERC/6 issue or a VM issue.  If I turn all four disks into a RAID 5 array, the result is 2.7TB logical disk, of which VMware can only appear to use 470GB.
5.  Hanncocka.  Can you tell me more?  I'm not sure what you're suggesting I correct, and at what level, and how that might solve the problem.

Hope this helps, and thanks for your assistance so far.
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Assisted Solution

by:Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2) earned 1000 total points
ID: 35428884
You need to destroy the RAID array you have currently created, and create an array which is at least 2TB - 512 bytes.

You do this, by entering the Dell PERC BIOS and Creating a smaller array (less than 2TB - 512 bytes).

By personally, I would create a 2TB datastore for ESX, I would create smaller datastores, of 500-800GB each datastore, so you would have more datastores.

This is a similar question, to the other question I posted.

It's a limitation of ESX 4.1, the maximum VMFS limit is 2TB - 512 bytes.

If you have created a 2.7TB array it's too large.

So destroy the array, and create a 2TB - 512 bytes array if you like. If it's larger than 2TB, too large.

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coolsport00 earned 1000 total points
ID: 35429432
Ok...but ESXi can't recognize anything over the limit I specified above (2TB-512MB). It's not a Dell limitation (that I know of), just ESXi. So, you can't have a datastore over 2TB. The solution I suggested gives you the most out of your disks, with redundancy. Installing ESXi on a USB doesn't provide redundancy, but you can create a 2nd USB stick in case your initial one got 'hosed' some how. Installing ESXi on the same array as your datastore can lead to problems. If you do need to blow your ESXi install away, with it installed on USB, you don't have to worry about potentially messings with your VMs because they would be on separate storage. Anyway...just some things to think about.

~coolsport00
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