Avatar of JoeBarbone
JoeBarbone asked on

8 drive enclosure RAID 5 ESXi 5.5 datastore poor performance

Hello Experts,
This kind of took my by surprise. I am running ESXi 5.5 on the following:

ASUS CM6870
i7 - 3770
32GB RAM
2TB Hitachi 3.5" drive
1TB Seagate 3.5" drive
500GB Seagate 3.5" drive

ESXi 5.5 runs pretty well considering my lack of spindles. I only run into issues when I have a handful or more VMs running from the same drive. I thought more spindles should make things run better overall and I looked into a two drive Synology or other NAS type of device but I figured local storage would perform much better than being connected through the network (even at gigabit).

I got a good deal on 8 2.5" Seagate Thin 500GB 7200 SATA III drives and purchased an ICY Dock 8 bay SATA enclosure. I had an IBM ServeRAID MR10i card hanging around and connected the 8 drives to it. I was hoping to use a RAID 10 config, but the card only had RAID 0, 1, 5 and 6 available so I chose RAID 5 and ESXi saw the datastore immediately. I used all 3.XTB available for the datastore and proceeded to create a Server 2012 R2 VM using an .ISO file from the Hitachi loaded into the "CD drive" on the new VM, and created the VM on the new 8 drive datastore. Much to my dismay, it performed TERRIBLY! It was much faster using the same configuration with individual drives, no RAID! I thought more spindles would make a HUGE difference in performance, but unfortunately, it's terrible. I'm sure there is some type of configuration that maybe I'm missing. The RAID card is SATA II but in reality, most don't realize true 6Gbps unless they are using SSD drives.

The RAID card does have a battery backup, but the battery appears to be dead so I am using write through (not write cache). I know this will have an effect on performance, but good grief! I can't imagine it being that severe.

On a single drive when I load a new OS, it quickly runs through the menu items "copying files", "setting up windows", etc but this time it took what seemed like forever. I can normally setup a server, login for the first time, install VM Tools, change the IP and name and reboot by the time this was half way through copying the files (second step).

Does anyone have an idea? I specifically got 7200RPM 6GB drives thinking that this will be the best scenario compared to SAS, but man is it awful. I didn't expect them to be as fast as SAS drives, but I absolutely expected better performance than that of a single drive. Any ideas would be greatly appreciated.

I'm still looking into the card to figure out if there is a firmware update, but for those keeping score at home, the RAID card is an IBM ServeRAID MR10i running firmware v1.40.262.1180.

Thanks in advance!

One more thing, this is just a machine I play with in my home lab. There are no "production" devices or VMs on it. I use it to learn VMware and test different server scenarios, etc.

Thanks again!

Joe
VMwareStorageVirtualization

Avatar of undefined
Last Comment
JoeBarbone

8/22/2022 - Mon
SOLUTION
Mal Osborne

Log in or sign up to see answer
Become an EE member today7-DAY FREE TRIAL
Members can start a 7-Day Free trial then enjoy unlimited access to the platform
Sign up - Free for 7 days
or
Learn why we charge membership fees
We get it - no one likes a content blocker. Take one extra minute and find out why we block content.
See how we're fighting big data
Not exactly the question you had in mind?
Sign up for an EE membership and get your own personalized solution. With an EE membership, you can ask unlimited troubleshooting, research, or opinion questions.
ask a question
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert PRO / EE Fellow/British Beekeeper)

Cache makes a huge difference!

and when you've enabled it, configure as 75% write, 25% read.
SOLUTION
Mr Tortu(r)e

Log in or sign up to see answer
Become an EE member today7-DAY FREE TRIAL
Members can start a 7-Day Free trial then enjoy unlimited access to the platform
Sign up - Free for 7 days
or
Learn why we charge membership fees
We get it - no one likes a content blocker. Take one extra minute and find out why we block content.
See how we're fighting big data
Not exactly the question you had in mind?
Sign up for an EE membership and get your own personalized solution. With an EE membership, you can ask unlimited troubleshooting, research, or opinion questions.
ask a question
ASKER CERTIFIED SOLUTION
Log in to continue reading
Log In
Sign up - Free for 7 days
Get an unlimited membership to EE for less than $4 a week.
Unlimited question asking, solutions, articles and more.
ASKER
JoeBarbone

Thank you all for the comments.

I understand that no battery will be slower, but this is down right unusable, I don't think the lack of battery is causing this much of an issue.

Wouldn't RAID 6 be slower than RAID 5 due to the additional parity?

I'll try blowing it all away and using RAID 0 to see if performance is better. If not, I'll look into flashing the card for RAID 10 (which is what I wanted originally) or just bite the bullet and get an m1015, I know they are quite a bit more flexible from what I read.

Thanks again!
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert PRO / EE Fellow/British Beekeeper)

I understand that no battery will be slower, but this is down right unusable, I don't think the lack of battery is causing this much of an issue.

YES!

RAID 5 versus RAID 6 marginal, but RAID 5, only gives you one disk, and that's all!

Here you go especially for you, I remember this Question on EE a few years ago....

https://www.experts-exchange.com/questions/27269019/Why-slow-disk-to-disk-copy-in-VMWare-ESXi-server-4-1.html#a36417018

Oh My God

What a difference !    

Both copies of 12 Gb now down to 3 mins (previously 18 and 25 mins).  
And that's from NFS to local datastore

Local to Local - just 2.5 minutes.  Amazing

Thanks Hancoccka

Read the original question, because he also did not have a battery backup write cache controller fitted...
All of life is about relationships, and EE has made a viirtual community a real community. It lifts everyone's boat
William Peck
SOLUTION
Log in to continue reading
Log In
Sign up - Free for 7 days
Get an unlimited membership to EE for less than $4 a week.
Unlimited question asking, solutions, articles and more.
ASKER
JoeBarbone

Thank you everyone for your input. I cannot test the cache without a battery and if I'm going to spend money on something I will go ahead a buy an M1015 and go from there.

Thanks again!