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VMWare data store hardware

swan_solutions used Ask the Experts™
We are new to VMWare and have recently installed 3 VM's on a Dell host. Spec as follows:
Power Edge  R510
Processors: 2 x 2.4 (Quad Core)
HDD: 600GB 15KRpm x 4 (RAID 5 with hot spare)

We are using vShere ESXi 4.1.0 (free version)
The 3 VM's are SBS 2003, Windows 2003 with SQL, and Server 2008 for terminal server

The local hard drive storage is used for the data store.

Despite using Backup Exec, I would like to enhance our backup solution by moving to vSphere Essentials and using the 3rd party backup facitiy to backup the VM's to a NAS (TeraStation Pro Quad WSS - WS-QVL/R5). I am expecing this to provide an easy to restore solution in the event that the R510 encounters a failure.

Cost is an issue, but I would like an opinion on the solution we are considering. Also a recommendation on hardware if the Terastation is not a good idea.
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE Fellow)VMware and Virtualization Consultant
Fellow 2018
Expert of the Year 2017

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VMware ESX/ESXi Backup Guide

Veeam Backup and Replication v6 is the Best of the Backup Software Pack, but also compare with other up and coming software products.

http://www.appassure.com/ - Number 1 Backup and VMs and Cloud

http://www.unitrends.com/ - a good vRecovery Backup Appliance.

Symantec Backup Exec V-Ray Edition
http://www.symantec.com/backup-exec-vray-edition - Unmatched backup and recovery designed for virtual and physical environments

VM Explorer
http://www.trilead.com/ - Simply, cost effective and it works.

Acronis Backup & Recovery® 11 Virtual Edition
http://www.acronis.com/virtualization/ - simple but effective

StorageCraft ShadowProtect Server
http://www.storagecraft.com/  - amazing but can be expensive

The issue which can occur with most low cost NAS solutions, which we see on EE, is users complain their backups are slow to backup and restore. The bottleneck is often the NAS.

As a side note, I note you are using RAID 5 on your ESXi servers, this is not the fastest for read and write operations, and you may want to consider RAID 10 in the future if you are having performance issues.

I agree use a nested raid like 10 as it gives you better protection for instance 2 drives can fail as long as they are not in the underlying raid 0


At what point might you consider RAID 10 being more appropriate than RAID 5?
Internally, we would not expect to accomodate more than 15 users and host more than 3 VM's as indicated above.

However, we are currently considering a VM environment for a customer that has approximately 47 staff ( no expectations of further growth at this point). Again, we anticipate 3 VM's as follows:
Server 2003 - DC, file and print
Server 2003 - Exchange
Server 2008 - Sage 200, SQL (only 5 users accessing Sage)

no I was saying with a raid 10 array it gives more protection than raid 5 and its generally faster as the array calculations are simpler than raid 5
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE Fellow)VMware and Virtualization Consultant
Fellow 2018
Expert of the Year 2017
We always do RAID 10, because we want the underlying datastore to be fast as possible. Because it's important because all your I/O in the VMs is virtualised.