RAID setup for ESXi 5 on PERC 6/i

I just purchased a Dell Powerdge 2950 III with the below specs.  How would you set up the RAID array for ESXi 5?? Does ESXi 5 have the 2TB VD limit still?

I will be setting up a regular Server 2008 R2 domain with an Exchange server, AD, file server, etc.  I'm thinking I'll be running 5 servers total.


2x Xeon 5430 (2.66GHz)
12GB RAM
PERC 6/i RAID Controller
2x 73GB 15K SAS
6x 500GB SATA
goodman1210Asked:
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
Firstly, there is no longer a 2TB-512byte VMFS limit with ESXi 5.0 using VMFS5.

VMFS5 now supports a VMFS datastore maximum of 64TB.

See here
http://blogs.vmware.com/vsphere/2011/07/new-vsphere-50-storage-features-part-1-vmfs-5.html

Configurations Maximums for vSphere 5.0 (ESXi 5.0).
http://blogs.vmware.com/vsphere/2011/07/new-vsphere-50-storage-features-part-1-vmfs-5.html

As for how to create the RAID configuration, with the two 73GB 15K SAS, not much choice but to create RAID 1 mirror, if you were to add them to the other 6 x 500GB SATA, the RAID stripe would be based on the smallest drive.

So - 2 x 73GB 15k SAS - RAID 1, or RAID 0 Stripe for Performance, but no fault tolerence,.

As for the remaining 6 drives, depending upon, what performance you are after, top read and write performance on 6 x SATA disks, with approx 40 IOPS per disk, will be RAID 1.
Which has the least write penalty.

Otheriwse RAID 5 configuration, with a higher write penality.

It depends upon performance versus data storage space.
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
Missed a Zero.

RAID 10 - 6 x SATA 500GB - Best performance.

or

RAID 5 6 x SATA 500GB - More storage, but performance less for write.
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goodman1210Author Commented:
I don't foresee needing a ton of disk space on each of the servers, so I vote for performance.
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goodman1210Author Commented:
Would you put the exchange server on the SAS RAID 1 VD??   Which of the servers do you tihnk will be the most demanding and benefit form the 15k RPM drives?
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goodman1210Author Commented:
What I'm trying to figure out is what to do with the smaller 73GB SAS drives since I won't really be running a host OS on the ESXi box right?
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
Exchange, File server, depends how busy.

SAS 15k disks are far superior that 7.2k SATA, but more disks, more spindles, more performance, more IOPS.

but your sata disks only going to give you 40 iops each, SAS 15k, could be 150 iops each.
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
test performance of them.
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goodman1210Author Commented:
how does ESX do on RAID 50 setups??
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
RAID storage configuration, is not specific to VMware.

RAID 50 does not perform as well as RAID 10 when it comes to performance in a degraded state (i.e., during a rebuild), but RAID 50, at least theoretically, performs much better than RAID 5 in overall write performance; this places RAID 50 between RAID 10 (the winner in performance) and RAID 5 (sometimes lackluster performance, depending on workload) in the performance spectrum. Actual performance usually depends on the choice of RAID controller and the kind of information being processed.

Like RAID 10 and RAID 5, RAID 50 provides excellent read performance.
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