Physical to Virtual project- Server 2012 hyper-v + 2 VMs storage advice

Posted on 2014-10-24
Last Modified: 2014-10-24
Hi all,

We are installing a new 2012 R2 server (standard) running 2 VMs to replace 2 physical machines and would like some advice please:

We want to install server 2012 r2 (standard) as a host and then run 2 VMs on that as replacements for the physical servers,
the 1st VM will be a Domain controller and have all of the FSMO roles, this will also be a file server/print server and backup server.  
the 2nd VM will be another Domain controller,  SQL server, sharepoint server and run AD federated services for Office 365 SSO purposes.

The box will have 2x 300GB Nearline SAS drives in RAID1 and 4x 1TB Nearline SAS drives in RAID5 (open to suggestions here)

My question is once we install the host OS (server 2012 R2) on the RAID1 drive, where should the VMs go? If we install the VMs on the primary RAID1 partition are they able to see and utilise the RAID5 partition for the file server or is the wrong way of looking at it? Will there be a performance hit or other considerations of using the RAID5 partition for the VMs , perhaps giving each 1.5TB of space?

1st foray into hyper-v and migrating physical servers to virtual so help really appreciated.

Question by:lutherpendragon
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LVL 24

Assisted Solution

VB ITS earned 250 total points
ID: 40401832
My question is once we install the host OS (server 2012 R2) on the RAID1 drive, where should the VMs go? If we install the VMs on the primary RAID1 partition are they able to see and utilise the RAID5 partition for the file server or is the wrong way of looking at it?
Sorry but define what you mean by 'install the VMs on the primary RAID1 partition'? The VMs will use VHD (or VHDX) files, which you can place anywhere you like on the Hyper-V host.

You could theoretically store, say the VHD file for the system drives on the RAID1 partition then store the VHD file for the data drives on the RAID5 partition. I wouldn't personally do this though - keep the RAID1 exclusively for the Hyper-V host to use.

Perhaps have a look at RAID10 instead of RAID5.

If you're doing a physical to virtual conversion, you'll need to make sure your licensing is in order also.
LVL 34

Accepted Solution

it_saige earned 250 total points
ID: 40402088
As for the question of seeing the RAID5 from the RAID1.  The Hyper-V guest operating system can see any hardware that you explicitly define for it.

For exclusivity; this means that you create a VHD or VHDX on the RAID1 for the Primary hard drive and then another VHD or VHDX on the RAID5 for the Secondary hard drive.

If you are not looking for exclusivity, then you would use sharing just as if there were two or more disperate machines, where the RAID5 is on machine1 and you share it so that anyone else on the network, with the rights to do so, can use it.

Exclusivity configuration -IDE Controller 0 on Hyper-v guest has two hard drives assigned.TESTSERVER.vhdx is on a RAID1 and is the primary partition.  OS is installed here.DATA.vhdx is on a RAID5 and is the secondary partition.

Author Comment

ID: 40402223
Thanks both for your answers. VB ITS, when you say you would leave the rad1 partition exclusively for the hypervisor, why is this better than sharing? Also, 300GB seems a lot of space for just a hypervisor role? I will look into your suggestion of RAID10 also, are there proven performance benefits?
LVL 24

Expert Comment

ID: 40403527
It's best to leave the RAID1 partition for the hypervisor otherwise you may experience performance issues, both inside the VM and on the hypervisor itself. What you can look at doing instead is purchase 146GB drives for the hypervisor partition - this way you can save a bit of money which you can put towards your RAID5/10 partition instead.

It's well known that RAID10 will outperform RAID5 - the downside is your total amount of usable disk space is lower when going with RAID10. There are many articles out there regarding the benefits of going with RAID10 over RAID5. Here's some good benchmarks I was able to find via our good friend Google:

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