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Best RAID Configuration for Hyper-V Server with Exchange

Hello All. I am hoping for a little guidance here. We are building a new server that will be used as a Hyper-V server eventually holding 4 VM's. At the present time, we have the following hardware:

IBM Express x3650 M3, 2x Xeon 6C X5675 95W 3.06GHz/1333MHz/12MB; 40GB RAM

Initially, we are planning on installing Windows Server 2008 R2 as the host OS and adding 1 VM that will be running Exchange 2010 on Server 2008 R2 Standard.
Shortly after that, we plan to add 2 new VM's. One will run Lotus Domino, the other will be a backup domain controller and server update services server.
Then, down the road, we are looking at adding the last VM which will run Sharepoint and SQL.

What we have right now for storage is 10- 600GB 2.5in SFF Slim-HS 10K 6Gbps SAS drives. This server is expandable to 16 drives total, but we are starting with 10.

My question is...

What physical drive configuration would be the best solution to support the scenario listed above? We would be implementing Exchange first, then migratiing the 2nd and 3rd servers to VM's. Sharepoint would be added in later.

Right now, we have 5 drives configured as RAID 10 with 1 hotspare setup for the Host OS and the 2nd and 3rd VM's. We also have the other 5 drives set up as RAID 10 with 1 hotspare dedicated to the Exchange VM.

We plan on having no more than 60 user mailboxes in Exchange.

Your thoughts and ideas are greatly appreciated.
1 Solution
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
RAID 10 will provide the best performance for read and write for your virtual machines, and provide the best IOPS for Exchange.

Make sure you include as many drives as possible in the RAID 10 array, more drives = more spindles = more performance.
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
I would add more drives to existing 5 drives, and expand the RAID 10 array
zefonAuthor Commented:
Which RAID 10 array are you referring to? There are similar RAID 10 arrays, one for Exchange and the other for everything else.
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
If you want the BEST performance you server can offer, ADD all the disks in the chassis into the same RAID 10 Single Array.

Otherwise, create a 2nd RAID 10 Array, with the remainder, it just will not perform as well, if all the disks were in the same set.
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
So you current IOPS per RAID 10 5 Disk Array

5 x 10,000 RPM SAS drive - Approx 200 IOPS each disk. assuming 33% Writes

Total IOPS = (200 IOPS x 5 disks)/(.67 + 2*.33))
           = 751 IOPS (approx)

So 751 IOPS per Single RAID 10 Array.

or a single RAID 10 Array of 10 disks

           = 1503 IOPS (approx)

Double the performance!

So if you included all your disks in the same array, you would have double the performance.

I would checkout the Exchange IOPS calaculator, and see how many IOPS your require for Exchange/Sharepoint.

zefonAuthor Commented:
Thank You Hancocka.

Is there any others that would like to add their thoughts on this?
Having two RAID 10 arrays doesn't make much sense. A single RAID 10 will give you more flexibility in terms of space, and better performance. Your user base looks pretty small. Based on how much CPU my environment uses, you have at least 4x, and maybe 8x the CPU needed. You also shouldn't need all those disks; maybe more like a 6 drive RAID 10 for all your VMs. My Hyper-V hosts are all less than 20% busy, and usually less than 10%. They are low end processors for their generation, and maxed out on RAM, so they are running around 20-25 VMs.
Raid 10, hands down. It shows best performance in our enviroment (several mssql and postgres database servers are virtualized). Use 4 drives in an array and make 5th spare disk.
zefonAuthor Commented:
Thank You. We decided to go with 14 drives in a RAID 10 with 2 global hot spares.

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