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RAW or Virtual Disk

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?
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE Fellow)VMware and Virtualization Consultant
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Commented:
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?
IT Director
Commented:
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.
DavidPresident
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Top Expert 2010
Commented:
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.
piyushranusriSystem Cloud Specialist
Top Expert 2012
Commented:
will prefer to have raw disk
i have same kind of setup.

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