VMWare disks - best practice

Posted on 2015-01-31
Last Modified: 2015-02-01

I'm setting up a fairly simple ESXi box. Here are the specs:

- HP Proliant ML110 G7 with i3
- 1TB WD RE4 Enterprise drive
- Server 2012 Essentials VM
- Maybe a couple of Win 7 VM's - one of them running vSphere Client

I've read about the disks - persistent / non persistent, etc.

I need some "best practice" tips. I've set aside 500GB for the Server VM, and maybe 150GB apiece for the Win 7 VM's. Does that sound correct? Should the disks be set to "independent"? Persistent?

Thanks in advance.
Question by:Go-Bruins
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LVL 12

Assisted Solution

by:Vaseem Mohammed
Vaseem Mohammed earned 100 total points
ID: 40582142
The disk mode option is used to change the behavior of .vmdk file when snapshots are taken.
Normally this option is not configured and by default the .vmdk are in dependent mode.
please refer to
LVL 121

Assisted Solution

by:Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2) earned 300 total points
ID: 40582397
The default is not to tick the box at all!

So leave well alone.
LVL 62

Assisted Solution

gheist earned 100 total points
ID: 40582557
Independent disks are not subject to snapshots.
You really should not use them unless you know what they mean.
I do use them under syslog database that goes around 200IOPs all the time, and snapshots never succeeded...
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Author Comment

ID: 40582685
Ok, thank you. I will not touch any of those settings.

I've installed another HD for the sole purpose of using it as a backup HD for the Server 2012 Essentials machine. When I try to run the Set up Server Backup wizard from that machine, it can't see the HD.

What am I doing wrong?
LVL 121
ID: 40582701
Have you configured the hard disk, in Disk Management,

e.g. initialized disk, created a partition, and formatted ?

does the new disk appear as a valid drive letter in Muy Computer ?
LVL 62

Expert Comment

ID: 40582709
By another HD you mean physical disk or a disk attached to a virtual machine?

Author Comment

ID: 40582712
It's a physical drive plugged into its own SATA port.

The new hard drive doesn't show up at all under Disk Management. With my Windows/VMware Workstation VM's, all the VM's recognize a new HD when I plug it into the host machine.

I hot-swapped the new HD. Maybe that's the problem. I'll try a full restart and see what happens.
LVL 62

Expert Comment

ID: 40582714
No need to restart anything. There is no gain of having separate disk for "backups" - it will be destroyed by a half-bucket of water...

Author Comment

ID: 40582729
I see. How do other VM admins backup a Windows Server machine? How do they achieve backup redundancy?

I'm just learning this Server and VM stuff, but I've always read that backups should be done on separate physical drives to achieve redundancy.

Thanks in advance.

The new drive is being recognized by ESXi:

LVL 121

Accepted Solution

Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2) earned 300 total points
ID: 40582735
So you will need to add a new datastore.

Select Host > Configuration Tab > Storage > Add Storage

select and format your new SATA disk.

then you will need to add disks to VM, and select that storage.

VMware ESX/ESXi Backup Guide

and backup to Network Attached Storage or Windows Share on a server.

See my EE Articles, which shows a basic task, of how to add a datastore

Part 1: HOW TO: Install and Configure VMware vSphere Hypervisor 5.1 (ESXi 5.1)

Part 2: HOW TO: Connect to the VMware vSphere Hypervisor 5.1 (ESXi 5.1) using the vSphere Client

Author Comment

ID: 40582764
Good stuff, thanks.

The vSphere Client is installed on one of the other Win 7 VM's. That's where it should be installed, correct?
LVL 121
ID: 40582772
vSphere Client is installed, where you need to use it, if that's your Administration PC, that's fine!

But on a VM, odd choice, because that VM needs to be up, before you can manage your ESXi server!

Normally, you would install on a physical PC!

Author Closing Comment

ID: 40582895
Many thanks.

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