Running SBS 2011 with single dynamic disk for files

Posted on 2012-04-03
Last Modified: 2016-11-23

I've been reading up on the difference between fixed and dynamic sized disks when related to Hyper-V 2008 R2.

The blog consensus appears to be do not put your exchange on dynamic disks. What I am thinking to work around this problem is virtualised small business server 2011 with a fixed C drive for the OS, fixed 100 gig D drive to store exchange and SharePoint information. Then create a 600 GB dynamic disk to store the clients word documents etc.

The client only has around 80 GB of data (of the word, excel variety). Currently I have been testing the small business server with fixed disks across the board. What this means is the bare metal backup from the Hyper-V host is taking forever because there is a 600 gig disc that only contains 80 gig of actual data.

To cut a long story short I would be running small business server on fixed disks with the exception of Word documents etc residing on a dynamic/thin provisioned disks.

The client has around 12 staff and the disk subsystem is a Dell PERC spinning six 450 gig 15 k SAS so throughput is pretty good.

Looking for thoughts on this from SBS and virtualisation experts

thank you
Question by:Amiga-2000
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Expert Comment

ID: 37805531
Why not just buy a 128GB SSD.  Performance will be fantastic, and it won't make a difference how the SSD is configured, because it will still be the fastest VM you have by far ;)
LVL 58

Accepted Solution

Cliff Galiher earned 500 total points
ID: 37807459
I could write an entire book on the subject (and some day, maybe I will) but the short version is this:

A backup is intended to help recover from a disaster. And there are different kinds of disasters that can impact a virtual server environment. If you actually break down what can go wrong, I think you'll find that doing a bare-metal backup of a virtual host rarely makes sense. So you can avoid your problem by rethinking your backup strategy.

In most Hyper-V environments, I back up the guest OS from within the guest OS. This allows me to schedule different backups based on the importance of the VM. My dc's rarely see change so they can be backed up less often than, say, an important SQL server that sees many transactions. But again, going into details of how often to back up....that'd be a book. Regardless, if you back up SBS from within SBS, you'll not take all that space and your backups will be faster.

Then, as far as the host goes, you can back up just the virtual machine configuration files so that if a crash on the host occurs, you can get your VMs back the way they were and then restore from within the VM, again giving you the option to bring up the most important VMs first.

Or you can back up the C drive and just exclude the VHD files. Thus making your host backup small.

Or, if you *really* want to be able to do a bare metal, reconfigure your physical layout so your VHDs are not on the system partition and then you can configure a bare-metal backup and set an exclusion on .vhd files. The only difference between this and the "backup the C drive" above is that you cannot set exclusions on the C drive when "bare metal" is selected, hence the VHDs have to be elsewhere.

Anyways, you have options. All of which are better than dynamic disks.


Author Comment

ID: 37809082
Apologies Cliff for not being more detailed in my question. My focus really was on reducing the backup size of the bare metal recovery of the host . I'm absolutely backing up the guests with a mixture of 'virtual bare metal recovery' to each guest, file replication. On-site /  offsite data rotations for the VM guests, the backup is under control. My fault for not making this clearer

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