RAW or Virtual Disk

Posted on 2012-08-15
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 116

    Assisted Solution

    by:Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE)
    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

    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 46

    Assisted Solution

    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.
    LVL 8

    Assisted Solution

    will prefer to have raw disk
    i have same kind of setup.

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