ESX and SSD's

Hi All,

I am in the process of upgrading one of our old HP DL385 G7 servers.

It has 8 SAS 900GB 10k disks.

Would there be much of a performance improvement if I bought an SSD.  

And if there is a big improvement, can you make any recommendations?

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I have seen a noticeable improvement, however I still also like to configure in RAID. There is a lot of talk about performance loss and lifetime with SSDs that worry me a little in servers, but RAID eases my concerns.
On smaller networks on a tighter budget I often have 2x250gb SSD mirrored - for system, swapfile, temp files etc, and then 4,6,or 8 spinning disks for data.
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
Yes, there are big improvements if you require the IOPS.

You may also consider PCI-E cards, e.g. Fusion-IO

We still not seen any failure of SSDs, due to wear! (we have six year old SSDs!)
Dirk MareSystems Engineer (Acting IT Manager)Commented:
Yes you will see big performance increase by installing a SSD, Also consider installing SSD for ESX Caching..

Have a look at this website to see SSD compatibility for your servers I will only recommend Enterprise mainstream/performance SSD's

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Just one SSD? Are you going to use the SSD for your Datastore or just to hold ESXi? For the Datastore a single SSD probably won't be enough...

If it is just to hold ESXi, then that is a waste of money. Just use a USB stick or SD card for that. ESXi only needs the disk it is stored on for booting, after that all is in RAM and that disk isn't accessed anymore. So you would only see any performance increase while booting, but ESXi loads from the stick or the SD card fast enough anyway.

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Its not only a topic for ssd or against you have also to proof if you have a HP controller who can do HP SSD Smart Path feature with hpsa or the old ccis driver.

Also check what kind of SSD you will buy. There are differences between read optimized or even heavily read write. On HP its the class enterprise value or enterprise performance.

Here you have to decide how much you want to spend. Additional do not use consumer ssd in a productive server.
detox1978Author Commented:
Thanks for the feedback.

I had only planned to buy a single SSD to run ESXi, so it looks like it's not worth doing as it runs from RAM.
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
Just install ESXi onto an SD card or USB flash drive....

Here is the VMware KB on installing 5.x on USB/SD:

put your datastore on  SSD
detox1978Author Commented:
As it loads into RAM it looks like the benefit is only for boot speed.

Many thanks
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