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Roaming profiles on Equallogic SAN Volume

Posted on 2012-12-26
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We have two Windows server 2008 R2 Domain controllers and a windows 2003 server that is our primary file server ,  This 2003 server also has all of our roaming profiles ( Windows 7 ) .  We have a Dell Equallogic SAN and all of our servers are virtualized and we run Vmware 4.1 and are planning to move to Vmware 5 shortly.

We have noticed some long login times and sometimes  users do not get a roaming prifile.

We were thinking of created a Volume on the SAN, strictly for user profiles in hopes to speed things up.

This is just a thought and we were hoping to get some feedback from the experts .

Will this even work ?
Will something special need to be done for a windows 7 machine to even see the Equallogic Volume ?

Thank you
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Question by:Ekuskowski
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by:newmath
newmath earned 200 total points
ID: 38722190
If your file server is already virtualized on the SAN, creating a new volume on the EQL is not going to give you any better performance. EqualLogic SAN's usually include a product called SAN HQ. You should be able to download it from their support site. It will show you exactly where your bottlenecks are - if they are SAN-related. If SAN HQ shows good performance, you should start troubleshooting that file server VM for performance issues.
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by:paulsolov
paulsolov earned 200 total points
ID: 38722266
I agree with the @newmath but I would probably take a few of the roaming profiles and move them to a server with local storage and see if it makes a difference.  If the SAN is in good shape you'll have to start troubleshooting your Group Policies, AD, OS, etc..
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by:Ekuskowski
ID: 38722517
The file server is virtualized on the SAN so i was thinking that I would not see a difference unless the OS of the file server is the root of my problem as you mentioned the troubleshooting of the file server performance.
If the file server is my problem then testing on another server (server 2008 ) with a few profiles may be the way to go.  
I didnt think of SAN HQ.  We havent really used SAN HQ for a number of years.  A few years back SAN HQ didnt prove to be useful for us.  I've heard they have put a lot of new features and it could be beneficial now.  I'll plan on downloading SAN HQ and give it a whirl.
The plan is to move the files off the file server in time and onto a new Server 2008 R2 or 2012 file server but the profile issue cant really wait.
I may also test moving the profiles to a physical server with local storage as Paulsolov pointed out.
Part of my question is if I just create a volume on the SAN , can I just use it as a storage locaton for the profiles or do I need a windows OS to host the profiles ?
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by:paulsolov
paulsolov earned 200 total points
ID: 38723027
couple of ways to do what you want.

1. Create a LUN and use it via RDM (raw data mapping) to map directly to the VM.  You can still use VM snapshots, etc..

2.  Create an iscsi LUN and connect directly to your VM.  You would need to have an iscsi initiator from the VM, an iSCSI VM Network and perhaps a separate vmkernel port to separate traffic
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by:andyalder
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ID: 38723337
>Will something special need to be done for a windows 7 machine to even see the Equallogic Volume ?

You can't let the workstations see the SAN, you still need a fileserver/NAS head whether virtalized or physical. If they were all able to have direct access to the SAN then the volume would corrupt very quickly since they would overwrite each other's files. There may be a method of creating one LUN per profile so it wasn't shared access but it would be very messy. The only reason all your VMs can see data on the same LUN is because Hyper-V or whatever you are using is cluster aware and there isn't shared storage clustering for workstations.
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newmath earned 200 total points
ID: 38723609
Paulsolov and andyalder are correct. If you want to use the SAN for storage, you need to put a VM or bare metal server in front of your nodes.
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by:Ekuskowski
ID: 38731855
Thank you for all your input,  I'm going to try the RDM approach as a test with a new Server 2008 File server.
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