Add a Dell MD1200 12TB DAS to Vmware ESXi 4.1

sndmnsix
sndmnsix used Ask the Experts™
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Good afternoon,
I wanted to come up with a good plan to add a DAS Dell MD1200 enclosure to a Dell R710 ESXi 4.1 Server.  I've never actually added additional storage to this server before so I thought I would ask.  Once I have this procedure down and completd, I need to move about 4VMs over to it.  Is it possible to move VMs from one storage container to another using the VSphere client?  Anyway I'm just starting to gather preliminary information on this so I have a solid game plan.  Thanks very much.
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE Fellow)VMware and Virtualization Consultant
Fellow 2018
Expert of the Year 2017

Commented:
yes, you can create a new datastore, and use Storage vMotion, Migrate, or Copy and Paste to move virtual machines to a new datastore.

please note maximum VMFS datastore for ESXi 4.1 is 2TB-512 bytes.
use an app like veeam fastscp to map the folders and copy the files to move from 1 to another if they are unmanaged by vCenter
VMware and Virtualization Consultant
Fellow 2018
Expert of the Year 2017
Commented:
Checkout my EE article

HOW TO: Clone or Copy a virtual machine in VMware vSphere Hypervisor ESX/ESXi 4.x or ESXi 5.0

Make sure your VMFS datastore is less than 2TB-512bytes, so you may need to divide up the 12TB DAS into smaller virtual disks

Configuration Maximums for VMware vSphere 4.1
http://www.vmware.com/pdf/vsphere4/r41/vsp_41_config_max.pdf

1. Veeam FastSCP (http://www.veeam.com/vmware-esxi-fastscp.html)

Fast Virtual Machine / File Transfer. Faster than WinSCP and other SCP-based tools as it uses full network capacity. The Veeam FastSCP engine also features traffic compression and empty block removal for best file copy performance.

You can use FastSCP to connect to the ESX/ESXi server, and download the entire virtual machine folder/directory to the current workstation or server, where yov've connected from. You must ensure that the virtual machines are powered off to complete this operation.

2. Datastore browser

The datastore browser is included in the vSphere GUI Client, and enables you access to the datastore, virtual machines are stored on. You can simple use the cut and paste, or download/upload options to backup and restore virtual machines. Again to copy a virtual machine, the virtual machine must be powered off.

Restoring with options 1 and 2, above, you must add the Virtual Machine manually to the inventory, by selecting the vmx file in the datastore browser, right click on the *.vmx file, and select "Add to Inventory".

OR

I would recommend and use VMware vCenter Converter Standalone 5.0

and if you do use VMware vCenter Converter Standalone 5.0, and you want to make your transfers 60% faster checkout my EE article here

HOW TO: Improve the transfer rate of a Physical to Virtual (P2V), Virtual to Virtual Conversion (V2V) using VMware vCenter Converter Standalone 5.0

Download VMware vCenter Converter 5.0 here
VMware vCenter Converter Standalone 5.0 Documentation
VMware vCenter Converter Standalone 5.0 User Guide


If you have issues, you may want to consult the following articles and guides


Read fellow Expert Bestway's article.

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A Tutorial video by me:- Restore a Virtual Machine using the FREE VMware vCenter Converter to VMware vSphere 4.x, 5.0 ESXi 4.x, ESXi 5.0, ESX 4.0

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Commented:
What are you connecting your MD1200 to?? Are you adding it to the server direct or to an existing SAN??

We have recently added a couple of new MD1200 to our systems overseas and used the Dell MD Storage Manager to install it and add it to the system.

Once added to the system and configured for your hosts then you follow the steps outlined by hanccocka.

Author

Commented:
wow...this is a lot of digest!  

to hanccocka -
Thanks for all of this great information.  I need to go through all of this and get a better understanding of my options.  I didn't realize I had so many.  Do you think it would be necessary to use a product like Veeam considering its a DAS?  I'm going to watch your tutorials here in a second.  When I was looking at Disk/LUN formatting, I didn't see 512kb as a block size.  I might have overlooked this but maybe you're thinking about the creation of the volume at the RAID level?

to wullieb1 -
I'll be connecting the MD1200 to a Dell H800 RAID Card (haven't acquired yet)  that I will be adding directly to the R710 File Server.  I'm assuming the Dell MD Storage Manager is a software add-on to windows server that you downloaded.  I was originally thinking I could go into the H800 BIOS utility and setup my RAID volumes there and then configure the new volumes in the Vsphere client.
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE Fellow)VMware and Virtualization Consultant
Fellow 2018
Expert of the Year 2017

Commented:
You still need to have a viable backup solution, for when your DAS dies, and they do!

Author

Commented:
I was watching your video regarding VMWare Vcenter Converter.  This looks cool!  I'm downloading this right now.  I figure I'll start with this and make VM backups to my local machine before I start anything.  Is this ultimately what you recommend for doing backups for VM?
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE Fellow)VMware and Virtualization Consultant
Fellow 2018
Expert of the Year 2017

Commented:
Converte can be used as a backup, but you could also look at GhettoVCB also for free.

Author

Commented:
I think this is how I'll proceed with this upgrade.  If you see anything out of place just raise the red flag on things.  Thanks.

1.  Connect to the ESXi 4.1 Server using a workstation with a lot of additional storage space and run VMWare VCenter Converter to make local backups of the VMS

2.  Down the server.  Add the H800 SAS RAID Controller and MD1200 DAS to the server.  Boot up into the RAID Bios configuration utility and create the RAID volumes.

3.  Boot up the server and load the VSphere client to add the additional storage that I made available previously.

4.  Use the Copy/Paste commands in the VSphere client to move the VM servers to their new destination on the DAS.

Is there is any post operational work that I'm not aware of before I can bring those VMs online?
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE Fellow)VMware and Virtualization Consultant
Fellow 2018
Expert of the Year 2017

Commented:
1. That's do-able, but time consuming, because it's a manual process. You could try GhettoVCB, to a NFS datastore, as an option, run the script, and it will backup all the VMs. Less manual work for you. Or you could use the Export to OVF command, need to turn the VM off.

(make sure you actually have good copies, backups before you destroy)

2. Just note the VMFS limits (2TB-512bytes), and create small arrays/virtual disks less than 2TB-512bytes

3. When creating VMFS datastores, make a note of the block sizes...

often overlooked and a real pain to overcome, so think about what size virtual disks you need to create in the future

• 1MB block size – 256GB maximum file size
• 2MB block size – 512GB maximum file size
• 4MB block size – 1024GB maximum file size
• 8MB block size – 2048GB maximum file size

4. Use VMware Converter again to V2V, Import Back to ESXi.

Author

Commented:
Sounds good.

I was thinking I could actually create very large RAID arrays and then create smaller VMFS volumes (1TB or so).  Will VMWare not see free storage larger than 2TB or is it just that it won't format a volumes bigger than 2TB? So if it saw a 4TB unallocated disk, I could break this up into 4 1TB VMFS volumes.

Should the block size I use in creating the array be in line with the block size I use when creating the VMFS volume?

Author

Commented:
So if I used the copy/paste commands in VSphere, they will physically move the VMs over to the new volumes but ESXi won't see them or realize that they have been reallocated elsewhere?  The VMs should probably be shutdown during the copy/move process correct?
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE Fellow)VMware and Virtualization Consultant
Fellow 2018
Expert of the Year 2017

Commented:
you need to create virtual disks less than 2TB, it cannot recognise the size correctly if larger, with ESXi 4.1, ESX 4.1, ESXi 5.0 can.

block size is a VMFS patameter, not to be confused with raid.

see my article how to copy and paste and register VMs

Author

Commented:
I believe I've gathered everything I need to plan this upgrade well.  Thanks.

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