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Vmware esx break raid 1

Posted on 2011-09-24
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Last Modified: 2012-05-12
Hi,

My hp microserver with esx is performing slow, disk is bottleneck.

Can I break mirror without loosing data so I can make it striped or just 2 disks (then vm s go on 2nd disk)
Note: 2 disks in machine.

Thanks!
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Question by:janhoedt
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LVL 117
ID: 36592951
If you are using the RAID controller in the HP MicroServer for ESX, it's not supported as a RAID controller, as it's a fake RAID controller, you will see two storage disks in ESX, where as you should just see ONE disk in RAID was working.

Go Back to the BIOS, and change to AHCI, rather than RAID, and just use two disks with NO RAID.

"My hp microserver with esx is performing slow, disk is bottleneck."

with only a single disk, what are your benchmarks?

You could try adding a Smart Array P410i Controller with Write Cache.
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Author Comment

by:janhoedt
ID: 36592962
I m only see 1 disk of 250 gb whereas there are 2 in the hp, so I thought it had to be raid1.
I won t. Add extra hardware.
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Author Comment

by:janhoedt
ID: 36592963
I m only see 1 disk of 250 gb whereas there are 2 in the hp, so I thought it had to be raid1.
I won t. Add extra hardware.
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LVL 117
ID: 36592975
If you check the Storage Controllers, you should see two disks?
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LVL 117
ID: 36592994
We have over 20 of the HP MicroServers for our Research Labs with ESXi 4.1, ESXi 5.1, what are your specific issues, with performance, with the disks?
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Author Comment

by:janhoedt
ID: 36593081
I have vms on local disks, its for home use. Even Xp with 3g ram responsiveness is really slow, therefore the raid question.
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LVL 117
ID: 36593140
We are using single local disks, no RAID, one improvement is to add additional supported RAID card by ESXi and use four disks.
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LVL 117
ID: 36593179
How much memory do you have in the host server 8GB?
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Author Comment

by:janhoedt
ID: 36593215
8 GB is installed indeed.
According to this articel the RAID is real:

http://www.tenniswood.co.uk/technology/windows-home-server/how-to-setup-a-raid-array-on-a-hp-microserver/


I consider backing up data and configure RAID1 or 2 seperate disks: 1 for OS, 1 for vm's.
I could place vm's on NAS, but it's a Synology DS 210J with only 128 RAM and don't expect lot of performance (it's also used for other things as openvpn, music, sharing etc).
OR I might be a Synology NAS which is more performant.
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LVL 117
ID: 36593296
ESXi has not hardware support for the RAID controller.

Windows OS does!

Did you check the storage adaptors HBAs see screenshot below?

Do you see a hard disk listed per controller:- there are four SATA ports listed



 No RAID
 No RAID
 No RAID
On a true RAID controller, all the disks are added into the ARRAY, and the ARRAY is presented to ESXi, and you would only observe and see that single ARRAY. You would not see individual disks.
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LVL 117
ID: 36593299
For this reason the HP ProLiant Microserver and other 100 and 300 series do not make the HCL.

Also see this artcile

"Although I don’t know for sure I think it will be safe to assume that the embedded RAID will not be compatible with ESX/ESXi as this is what we saw with the default embedded RAID found in the HP Proliant ML110 and ML115 models of server.  I’d like to be wrong on this one."


Source
http://www.techhead.co.uk/new-hp-proliant-microserver-a-decent-vsphere-lab-server-candidate

Storage Adapters:  The disk controller (SB700) is based on the on-board AMD chipset of the MicroServer.  As this isn’t strictly a hardware based array controller and requires drivers to run an array on the server you will find that trying to RAID run under VMware ESX/ESXi won’t work.  So if you require RAID functionality then you’d need to look at adding a PCIe based array controller or using shared SAN/NAS storage.  However if you are not worried about disk resilience in your vSphere lab you could install ESX/ESXi off of a single local disk along with the VMs on the same or another added disk attached to the on-board controller.

Source
http://www.techhead.co.uk/running-vmware-vsphere-on-an-hp-microserver

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LVL 117
ID: 36593301
We do not use any of the disks in our MicroServers, and connect them to MicroServers configured with Solaris Express 11 using NFS, iSCSI over ZFS!

We get much better read and write results than local disk!
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Author Comment

by:janhoedt
ID: 36594428
Ok, I m a bit puzzled now. What to do?
Don t want to buy extra hw raid, nas not directly.
Should I configure raid or doesn t it matter for microserver?
How to improve performance disk directly?
I see only 1 disk in esx, would like to put vm s on second one or find solution to improve performance.
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LVL 117
ID: 36595027
Change the BIOS settings to AHCI rather than RAID.

This will use two disks.

Re-test performance.
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Author Comment

by:janhoedt
ID: 36595029
Checked, bios is already ahci.
0
 
LVL 117
ID: 36595035
Okay, if it's AHCI Mode, you are not running in RAID.

If you have two disks inserted in the drive bays, you should see "two disks" in ESXi. See my screenshots above.

If you only have one datastore, you need to add and create a datastore.

But if you are finding your disk performance is too slow, the only options are as follows:-

1. Change disks to 10,000 RPM, SATA 3.
2. Add a new Hardware Raid Controller Smart Array P410 with Cache, Change to 75 Write, and 25% Read.
3. Add SSD to MicroServer.
4. Connect to faster NAS via NFS or iSCSI.

See here

http://andysworld.org.uk/2011/08/25/skynet-ssdsupersan-hp-proliant-microserver-with-a-6-bay-hot-plug-sata-drive-bay/

We've got 20 of these servers, and for what they are we think they perform well, and for how much they cost us and the power they consume 40 Watts. We are running Windows 2008 R2, SQL, VMware View, lots of VMware products and testing.
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LVL 117
ID: 36595038
You could also look at using UnRaid with ESXi

See this forum entry

http://lime-technology.com/forum/index.php?topic=7914.0

But more disks = better performance.
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Author Comment

by:janhoedt
ID: 36595627
What's the deal of UnRaid?
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Author Comment

by:janhoedt
ID: 36595641
Can't add the second disk to my ESX, where in your screenshot there is one underneith vmhba0 & 34, there is only 1 under vmhba in my ESXi.

Should I enable it somewhere in BIOS ... or ESX? There defintely are 2 disk in my system.
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LVL 117
ID: 36595646
Look under NAME?

Does your Server show two disks at boot-up?
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LVL 117
ID: 36595649
You can use UnRAID to create a RAID set for ESXi. follow the details in the link
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LVL 117
ID: 36595655
do you have vmhba0 - vmhba36?
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Author Comment

by:janhoedt
ID: 36595755
Sorry, mistake solved. There is only 1 disk. Bummer.
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LVL 117

Accepted Solution

by:
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE) earned 500 total points
ID: 36595764
Yes, if you've not added one, the shipped basic version only has 1!
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Author Comment

by:janhoedt
ID: 36595769
Damn, didn't know that .... Ok, that explains it all.
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