RAW or Virtual Disk

Posted on 2012-08-15
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2012-08-16
We are using different virtual Servers on ESXi 5 with good experience. Now we plan to move the Fileserver to a virtual machine.
VMServer ESXi 5, Windows Server 2008 R2 on HP DL380 with attached HP P2000 with SAS HBAs. The fileserver(s) with DFS is providing 12TB ‘fast’ spindles, and 36TB for archives.
Shall we use for the fileserver datadisks (not OSdisk) virtual disks or raw-devices with rdm?   Or some other configuration?
Question by:perolin
LVL 124

Assisted Solution

by:Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2) earned 450 total points
ID: 38296051
Use RDMs, you will be limited to 2TB-512byte virtual machine disks (vmdks).

So present the LUN RAW direct to the OS, unless you require VMware snapshotting.

How will you be backing up your file servers? SAN Snapshot?
LVL 17

Accepted Solution

James H earned 600 total points
ID: 38296109
I have a very similar setup.
I presented a RAW LUN to the fileserver but I use more than one backup method.
First is SAN snapshot
Second is file backup with Backup Exec
Third (maybe not your case) but I utilize DFS and replicate to multiple servers
Fouth, enable VSS for quick file recovery.
LVL 47

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David earned 225 total points
ID: 38296116
Also use RDMs because VMware will virtualize the I/O, which is inherently less efficient.   It is OK and desirable to BOOT the O/S to a vmdk, but let it end there ... assuming the vmdk is on a hardware RAID1 config.  

Or if you anticipate needing a lot of swap space and index files, then nothing wrong with a small SSD-based vmdk.

Assisted Solution

piyushranusri earned 225 total points
ID: 38299355
will prefer to have raw disk
i have same kind of setup.

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