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Netapp Disk Shelves and Virtual Machine performance

Posted on 2014-02-21
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Last Modified: 2014-03-06
Currently we have a FAS2240-2 with 600GB 2.5in 10k rpm SAS drives that store our virtual machines.  We purchased a DS4246 with 1TB 3.5in 7.2k rpm SAS drives, and are now second guessing ourselves on whether the Disk Shelf drives have enough performance to run our virtual machines like SQL or DB2.  Does anyone know if the DS4246 with 7.2k rpm drives has good enough performance for virtual machines?  Or are we just over analyzing things?
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Question by:talexandermboc
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David earned 500 total points
ID: 39878702
Everything is relative.  I've got some databases that need to do tens of millions of joins to create scheduled analysis reports.  Nothing short of SSDs with 50,000 IOPS per second even allow me to run the job and have it complete in time.

Others can get away with putting the database on a USB stick and it will be good enough.

The way to answer the question is to use the DB engine itself and analyze how many IOPs, transactions per second, or whatever you need to make it "good enough".

Then call NetApp and tell them that you need to have X GB with this many IOPS or transactions, and ask what disks and RAID level will facilitate that.

Performance analysis with your OWN data is the only way to get the correct answer.
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LVL 121
ID: 39878966
It depends on what latency, and how many IOPS this configuration performs, and if this is suitable for your VMs.
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by:talexandermboc
ID: 39901469
Took Ace's advice.  Netapp helped us download our autosupport reports to analyze IOPS on the current filer.  This will give us an idea of what the Disk shelf's can handle.  We may have to change the way we're presenting storage to some virtual machines, for example:  OS's and Databases on High performance disk 10k rpm + and low use drives on 7.2K rpm disk.
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by:talexandermboc
ID: 39910779
Update:  
So here's a great solution to my problem that came out of the talks with Netapp.  If you want to have the benefits of High Performance and High Capacity, but also need to Lower TCO; a good solution is taking advantage of Flash Cache or Flash Pool technology.  Since we have a FAS22xx series storage, we can't add Flash Cache.  Flash Cache can only be used with FAS32xx series controllers and above.  You can take advantage of built in Flash Pool technology by populating the Disk shelf with SSD and HDD drives.  The SSD drives can be pooled together and used as cache for the 7.2k rpm drive aggregate.  Other benefits to this is the Flash Pool is still visible across controller in an HA pair, you get performance and capacity (you lose some capacity but that's just the trade off) at a lower TCO.
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