Best practice for adding SSD in VRTX storage

Hello

We are currently running a fairly standard VDI virtual environment on a Dell VRTX server. This is ESXI based, two blades and a shared storage presented to both esxi hosts. The VM are Windows servers (AD + RDP server).

All in all it works relatively well although we seem to be i/o constrained (we have 6 500gb SAS drives in a RAID10 setup) and looking into purchasing some SSD drives.

What would be orbits course of action - is there a way to create “hybrid” storage to mix SSD and non-SSD drive in the same storage pool and let the system manage this ?

Any suggestion / pointer most appreciated
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Alexandre TakacsCTOAsked:
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
Make sure you purchase VRTX compatible SAS-SSD drives from Dell.

We've configured VDs with ALL SAS-SSDs, and ALL SAS Disks, and assigned single and shared usage to nodes.

Why would you want to Mix SSD and SAS in the same RAID ?
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Alexandre TakacsCTOAuthor Commented:
Definitely Dell SAS-SSD

My idea would be to mix both SSD and SAS to have the best of both worlds.

I know this is possible with some storage systems (in essence a hybrid store where the SSD would be transparently used for the most requested data and the SAS for less used information) but not sure (actually quite sure it does not) if the VRTX PERC does that.
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
Yes, NetApp SANs, have what they call a flash pool, the flash pool can be created from SSDs, and joined to the normal aggregate, creating a hybrid_aggreate.

Flash Pool is used as a read and write cache "buffer".

That's a SAN.

The VRTX uses a standard PERC8, it already has 1 GB DDR3 cache.

It's a RAID controller, a little different to standards, but the principle is the same.

You would have to build your own SAN, using JBODs, and SSDs for Cache, just like a ZFS SAN!

The PERC8 has been highlighted as bottleneck and single point of failure!

Not sure, if you've seen this running thread....

http://en.community.dell.com/support-forums/servers/f/906/t/19587459
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Alexandre TakacsCTOAuthor Commented:
Thanks for your comments and pointers - I have suspected as much about the PERC8 but have missed that thread in Dell community. Do you know if there is any reasonable way to get around that controller yet retaining the overall architecture of the VRTX ?
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
Do you know if there is any reasonable way to get around that controller yet retaining the overall architecture of the VRTX ?

I'm am not aware, I would wait for Dell, to iron out the teething problems, as clearly as original advertised, it's not fulfilling datacentre in a box.

Unless you start adding additional external storage, which defeats the original goal!

We've been looking at this server for use with VMware vSphere, 3 nodes minimum and vSAN, which needs at least a SSD per Node, and then magnetic standard HDDs.

This would be something to consider which would give your storage a boost for VDI.

In the past we usually use Fusion-IO cards, for VDI storage.
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Alexandre TakacsCTOAuthor Commented:
Lots of relevant interesting pointers / suggestions
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