Best SSD Drive for lab virtualization

Hi Experts,

I have prepared TWO high end desktops for lab virtualization for one of my customer

Config:
ASUS X99 Sabertooth Mobo
Intel i7 5820K
Hyper-x 64 GB DDR4 Memory
Asus Geforce GTX 750 2GB graphics card
1 TB WD Black HDD as OS and data drive
Corsair 650W Power Supply
Cooler Master cabinet

Now I want to get SSD drives to work with virtualization piece, the client is commercial educational institute for Microsoft \ VMware

I have identified below drives from their specifications, but couldn't decide best among them specially for virtualization

Samsung 850 Pro 1 TB - 300 TBW Endurance
Kingston KC310 900 GB - 681 TBW Endurance

The requirement is to run 10 to 12 virtual machines simultaneously for 12 Hours per day for lab purpose, there is no production load.
Most probably 150 to 200 GB data will be written every day (1TB per week)
VM VHD / VMDK size ranges from 10GB to 50 GB and should occupy around 600GB SSD space at a time
I am not expecting very superman performance, the expectation is, it should run lab VMs fluently.
Would above consumer class HDDs will best fit for this requirement?
I mean are these SSDs will be able to take load of 12 VMs at a time ? OR system performance will be degraded considerably?
Are these models perform for 3 years at least provided that they are within their endurance limit?

If above model doesn't fit the requirement, could you please suggest any other models?

Any help / insights are highly appreciated.

Thanks
Mahesh.
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MaheshArchitectAsked:
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noxchoGlobal Support CoordinatorCommented:
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
Samsung 850 Pro 1 TB - 300 TBW Endurance.

I would not use any other SSD, based on testing, failure rate, we now use Samsung exclusively, across all our labs, which contains at least 500 workstations!
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David Johnson, CD, MVPOwnerCommented:
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Gary CaseRetiredCommented:
Either one is fine, but I agree with Andrew that the Samsung 850's are excellent units.

An even better choice would be to use a pair of the Intel 730 units in a RAID-0 with Intel Rapid Storage Technology.     ... or the Intel 750 PCIe unit suggested above if the cost isn't prohibitive.
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David Johnson, CD, MVPOwnerCommented:
RAID 0 Samsung 850 Pro's won't have the iops that the PCI=Express Intel NVME drive has
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MaheshArchitectAuthor Commented:
Thanks guys for very quick response

How much % free space I should leave for efficient SSD performance?

Would I get any gain wrt lab virtualization if I go with server class SSDs?
Is there any performance / reliability gain if I go for Samsung 845 DC Pro 800 GB instead of 850 pro 1 TB?

KC310 is also suitable for entry level servers with quad core controller and it also hold 681 TBW, is it better than Samsung 850 Pro 1 TB wrt TBW \ performance \ reliability?

Can 850 pro / KC310 holds 12 VMs easily?

Thanks
Mahesh
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
How much % free space I should leave for efficient SSD performance?

We keep 20% free.

Would I get any gain wrt lab virtualization if I go with server class SSDs?

maybe longer life, and less money in your pocket, but we still have Generation 1 SSDs in use, Consumer Grade still working!

Is there any performance / reliability gain if I go for Samsung 845 DC Pro 800 GB instead of 850 pro 1 TB?

We have both, not see any performance difference.

We always use Samsung, for reasons above.

As for 12 VMs, it depend on the work load on each VM.
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MaheshArchitectAuthor Commented:
Thank You for detailed info.

In terms of load, there is no production, however each VM will use minimum 2GB to 4GB memory and if database server is deployed, it will take 8 to 12 GB
Every VM will get 2 to 4 CPUs
The VMs will be used to demonstrate migration \ co-existence \ transition scenarios and remains online for 8 to 12 Hours per day.
The question is will SSD sustain load of 12 simultaneous VMs efficiently?

Also anybody have any insights please with Kingston KC310 960GB ?
The drive was recently arrived in APR 2015

Thanks
Mahesh
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
What is the Hypervisor ?
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MaheshArchitectAuthor Commented:
1st machine:
VMware workstation will be deployed for VMware esx labs on top of windows based os (2012 R2 / Win 8.1 Pro)

2nd Machine:
Windows server 2012 R2 with Hyper-V will be deployed for MS private cloud / Exchange / Lync / active directory etc
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
Just note, that nested ESXi can be slow. Depends what performance expectations you require.

Personally I would stick with a single Hypervisor, unless you are training cross platforms, e.g. Hyper-V and VMware vSphere, and then I would install ESXi on Bare Metal as you are doing with Hyper-V, otherwise your Labs performance will be different (also cost less, because no requirement for VMware Workstation).
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MaheshArchitectAuthor Commented:
Ok got it. understood.
Will use bare metal esxi version and will use another machine to connect to it so that it will perform better.
I have to check bare hardware compatibility with ESXi (network cards etc)

But still original question remains:
The question:
will consumer class SSD sustain load of 12 simultaneous VMs efficiently with 150GB / 200GB data write per day?
OR
Here server class SSD will help?

In terms of load, there is no production.
The VMs will be used to demonstrate migration \ co-existence \ transition scenarios and remains online for 8 to 12 Hours per day and will use average 10GB to 50GB of SSD space (up to 600GB out of 1 TB space)
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
Server class SSDs will last your longer, but you will probably change the hardware before you change the SSDs.

Also be careful with presenting RAIDed SSDs to ESXi!

Also install ESXi on a USB Flash drive or SSD card for OS install.

Also check your storage controllers and network interfaces, for ESXi. ESXi has a HCL here

it's not designed for desktops!

Check the VMware Hardware Compatability Lists HCL here

The VMware Hardware Compatibility List is the detailed lists showing actual vendor devices that are either physically tested or are similar to the devices tested by VMware or VMware partners. Items on the list are tested with VMware products and are known to operate correctly.Devices which are not on the list may function, but will not be supported by VMware.

http://www.vmware.com/go/hcl
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MaheshArchitectAuthor Commented:
Ya, due to bare esxi install compatibility matrix, actually I am looking for nested virtualization with VMware workstation
I will check compatibility by test install of VMware esxi

But can consumer SSDs take load of 12 VMs as asked earlier?
I mean are they designed to take this much of load?
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
if you use nested performance will be slower than on bare metal, so do not expect like for like performance when comparing to Hyper-V.

It does not matter whether consumer or enterprise grade SSD, enterprise grade provide you with longer life, they are designed on toughend, and better heat dissipation, as enterprise SSDs are usually on 24/7/365, so you are paying for resilience, and high MTBF.

IOPS of both will be the same, and to increase IOPS we had more disks!
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MaheshArchitectAuthor Commented:
Ok
Thank you very much for answers. very straight forward. Much appreciated.

Now I have made choice, will go with consumer class SSD since this is Lab setup.

Can anybody have experience with Kingston KC310 SSD - 960GB
Now I am trying to figure out if Kingston can be fit here because it has endurance limit twice than Samsung 850 Pro and also has quad core controller with some good enterprise class features

Thanks
Mahesh.
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David Johnson, CD, MVPOwnerCommented:
one thing to be aware of is that enterprise SSD's will on a write error brick themselves into read-only mode the assumption being that enterprises usually have drives in storage arrays and rather than risk corruption of data you are supposed to have your storage in a resilient set and then replace a defective drive.  Enterprise spinning disks report a failure quicker to the controller for the same thinking. Where a consumer drive is based on the thinking that the data is only on one drive so it will retry a fetch until it times out
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MaheshArchitectAuthor Commented:
@David:

Client don't want to invest in multiple drives at this point of time to build raid arrays for lab setup

So, data corruption chances are more if we use consumer class SSD drives?

If we use server class SSDs, will it automatically going into read only mode even if we don't have RAID array?
Don't it behave like standalone drive?
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noxchoGlobal Support CoordinatorCommented:
Dataloss possibility is always there whatever class drives you use. Means you must do regular backups with both consumer and enterprise class drives. Hardware is hardware and it tends to fail due to some reason.
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MaheshArchitectAuthor Commented:
@Noxcho:
I am not concerned about data loss at this point of time, these are lab systems,
As per Andrew's comment, I have decided to go with consumer SSD drives
Am looking for reasonable amount of endurance and performance within consumer class SSD drives, even intel 750 pcie also have less endurance and did not meet the expectations.
I don't see any other alternatives in consumer class SSD drives except below.

Kingston KC310 - 960GB - 681 TBW
OR
Samsung 850 pro 1 TB - 300 TBW

I am looking for some on who can talk on difference / precedence between these TWO which is my original question

Thanks
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David Johnson, CD, MVPOwnerCommented:
So, data corruption chances are more if we use consumer class SSD drives? not really but it is a belt and suspenders approach to things.

If we use server class SSDs, will it automatically going into read only mode even if we don't have RAID array yes

The estimated lifetime and MTBF are only general guidelines. I've had drives fail out of the box, and others that have lasted 20 years. Like flipping a coin the odds are always 50/50 even if you flip heads 20 times in a row it doesn't increase the odds that you will flip a tail on the next toss. We are dealing with the world of statistics here. Data centers have a few employees that their full-time job is replacing failing drives.  They buy them by the pallet load and return them for rma by the case.
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MaheshArchitectAuthor Commented:
1st of all apologies for late response.

we have ordered below SSD drives now
2 x Samsung 850 Pro 1 TB - Consumer Class (300 TBW)
2 x Kingston KC310 960GB - consumer Class (681 TBW)

I have tried 8 VMs per drive as of now with Hyper-V 2012 R2 and didn't notice much difference between TWO

Still, I am keen to see if anybody has used Samsung 850 Pro drives beyond there TBW limits (i.e 300 TBW), because this drive is out since last one year and I got one very interesting article wrt 850 Pro SSD
http://www.anandtech.com/show/8239/update-on-samsung-850-pro-endurance-vnand-die-size

I kept this question open because I have to purchase more SSDs (approximately 8 Nos for another client) and hoping some body can shade any difference between these TWO
Which SSD is good in long run ?
Hoping any inputs please.

@David:
Your last comment:
"If we use server class SSDs, will it automatically going into read only mode even if we don't have RAID array yes"

This is not the case, Enterprise / server class SSDs shows above behavior only if they are come to there end of life (wrt endurance limit), regardless of RAID, RAID is recommended but not mandatory for these drives.

Thanks
Mahesh
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MaheshArchitectAuthor Commented:
Thank You
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MaheshArchitectAuthor Commented:
Thank You.
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