New ESXi host with internal SSD Hard drives. Best way to configure for local storage

We've recently purchased a new server with 3 400GB SSD drives  and 12 600GB 15K drives. Our goal is to create a few VM's running terminal server (or RDS as its called now) for our in house users.

When creating the RAID I was wondering what is the best option? I used to do a mirror drive for the OS and then a RAID 10 for the data. however, I want to be able to utilize the SSD's in the best way possible and I'm not sure if ESXi/vCenter automatically takes advantage of them. We are on 5.1

We will be using Windows Server 2012 when we build the RDS servers.
Who is Participating?

[Product update] Infrastructure Analysis Tool is now available with Business Accounts.Learn More

I wear a lot of hats...

"The solutions and answers provided on Experts Exchange have been extremely helpful to me over the last few years. I wear a lot of hats - Developer, Database Administrator, Help Desk, etc., so I know a lot of things but not a lot about one thing. Experts Exchange gives me answers from people who do know a lot about one thing, in a easy to use platform." -Todd S.

Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
Be very careful RAIDing SSDs, most think if Admins, RAID them in the same way as RAIDING magnetic disks, you'll get exceptional performance.

This is not always the case, and some times they can perform poorly.

I would experiment as to what performance suits your environment.

Do you want resilience or performance, e.g. RAID 10 or RAID 6.

Also if you RAID SSDs, you will lose the SSD functions, presented to the ESXi server, as it will no longer recognise them as SSDs.

So, do you want to use SSD features in the host ?

Flash Cache, Swap to Cache ?
msidnamAuthor Commented:
I would like both (resilience and performance) but i realize i can't always have my cake and eat it to.

I think in this particular instance, performance is key. The reason I say that is because we bought 3 servers like this, so if one goes down, we can push users to one of the other two remaining servers. since we are going to be utilizing local storage and not a SAN, I'm hoping we get some more performance going that route as well.

I am not familiar with Flash cache or swap to cache. doing a quick search, it looks like Flash cache is only available for 5.5?

Our main goal is to give the users who will be on the RDS servers the best possible experience that we can. I know it won't be perfect (we have many apps that will also cause some slow down) but we want to squeeze the most we can out of it.
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
I would experiment, with different RAID types, this question has been asked many times, why are my four SSDs performing poorly?

So RAID 10 or RAID 6.
msidnamAuthor Commented:
My initial thoughts were to create a RAID 10 with the 600GB 15K disks where i will put the VM's. Then using vCenter i was going to see if i could utilize the SSD's for I/O. but it looks like i can't unless i go to 5.5 and use the flash Cache.

we dont need the swap to cache as these servers have 384GB of ram.
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
RAID 10 , with 15k disks will be excellent for performance.

Experts Exchange Solution brought to you by

Your issues matter to us.

Facing a tech roadblock? Get the help and guidance you need from experienced professionals who care. Ask your question anytime, anywhere, with no hassle.

Start your 7-day free trial
It's more than this solution.Get answers and train to solve all your tech problems - anytime, anywhere.Try it for free Edge Out The Competitionfor your dream job with proven skills and certifications.Get started today Stand Outas the employee with proven skills.Start learning today for free Move Your Career Forwardwith certification training in the latest technologies.Start your trial today

From novice to tech pro — start learning today.