Solved

ESXi and cheap RAID card?

Posted on 2016-07-20
12
76 Views
Last Modified: 2016-12-08
Hi all,

I have a whitebox home lab computer. I've been slowly learning about VM's and ESXi. I'm now trying to learn the disk system aspects.

From what I've gathered, you can run about 3 or 4 VM's in an ESXi box before you start suffering from disk i/o bottlenecks. I understand that you can alleviate this by buying a card with "write-through" capabilities. But then there are things like battery backups to think about, etc.

Given my home lab budget, i may have to buy something on fleabay. Can someone recommend a *specific* card model, along with any specific features to look for (battery backup), etc.?

Thanks in advance.
0
Comment
Question by:Go-Bruins
  • 6
  • 6
12 Comments
 
LVL 118
ID: 41721785
What is your budget ?

HP Smart Array Controllers
LSI SATA/SAS controllers - LSI 9211-8i
IBM Controllers

Have you considered if this is just for Lab, using VMware Workstation, and created ESXi servers as VMs ?

see my EE Article

HOW TO: Set up a lab environment for vSAN using VMware Workstation
0
 

Author Comment

by:Go-Bruins
ID: 41721804
Thanks for the reply.

I'd like to stay under $150 if possible.

The LSI 9211-8i is one of the ones i looked at, but it doesn't appear to have the battery backup, unless i'm missing something.

The research I did on the IBM cards led me to the M1015 card, but it doesn't appear to have a battery either.

I'd like to set up a separate and distinct machine for testing, even if it's a home lab.
0
 

Author Comment

by:Go-Bruins
ID: 41721809
0
 
LVL 118

Assisted Solution

by:Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE)
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE) earned 500 total points
ID: 41721818
Yes, M1015 will also work.

From what I've gathered, you can run about 3 or 4 VM's in an ESXi box before you start suffering from disk i/o bottlenecks. I understand that you can alleviate this by buying a card with "write-through" capabilities. But then there are things like battery backups to think about, etc.

I'm afraid what you pay is what you get, as you pay more for a card with Battery Backup, or Battery Backup Write Cache controller, e.g. BBWC, you will pay more for the card.

But how many disks, will you also be using and will these be SAS or SATA, SATA disks have very low IOPS, also RAID type will make a big difference, e.g. RAID 10 for performance.

and with low cost SSDs, you may get better performance just using SSDs for a LAB.

so it's not just about the card, it's how it's used, with what, how many disks, of type, and RAID configuration.
0
 

Author Comment

by:Go-Bruins
ID: 41721833
The home lab is a white box with 32 GB RAM. There are four VM's (with no more planned), but they are on independent SATA disks.

Will a RAID card really show great gains given the above scenario?
0
 
LVL 118
ID: 41721843
how many disks in RAID ? 4,,8,10

what RAID type ? 0,1, 10, 5, 6

what type of SATA disks ? 7k, 10k, 15k

Total number of IOPS per SATA disk is about 40-70
0
Control application downtime with dependency maps

Visualize the interdependencies between application components better with Applications Manager's automated application discovery and dependency mapping feature. Resolve performance issues faster by quickly isolating problematic components.

 

Author Comment

by:Go-Bruins
ID: 41721863
I have one SSD, and a couple of WD enterprise 7K drives.

None of them are in RAID. They are all standalone.
0
 
LVL 118
ID: 41721904
2 SATA disks ? and you want to RAID them ?
0
 

Author Comment

by:Go-Bruins
ID: 41721920
HI, no I'm not interested in RAID at all. I was just wondering if an aftermarket card would up the throughput even without RAID.
0
 
LVL 118

Accepted Solution

by:
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE) earned 500 total points
ID: 41721955
To increase throughout, you need to use more disks, RAID them, and use RAID controller with BBWC.

at present, you are just using single disks, as a datastore.

if we say, that maximum IOPS per disk is 70 (SATA), so that's 70 per Datastore

combine them in a RAID configuration, two disks, RAID 1

that's about 90 IOPS per entire datastore....

use 4 disks - RAID 10

180 IOPS

use 4 disks - RAID 6

80 IOPS.

So just purchasing a new storage controller, is not going to do what you want.

Use more SSDs, or more disks, in a RAID configuration.

and at present, a disk failure, and you'll lose all your VMs.
0
 

Author Comment

by:Go-Bruins
ID: 41722109
Ok, thank you.

I was under the false impression that a RAID card would help significantly with i/o even under my setup.
0
 
LVL 118
ID: 41722276
not with two disks.
0

Featured Post

Is Your Active Directory as Secure as You Think?

More than 75% of all records are compromised because of the loss or theft of a privileged credential. Experts have been exploring Active Directory infrastructure to identify key threats and establish best practices for keeping data safe. Attend this month’s webinar to learn more.

Question has a verified solution.

If you are experiencing a similar issue, please ask a related question

HOW TO: Upload an ISO image to a VMware datastore for use with VMware vSphere Hypervisor 6.5 (ESXi 6.5) using the vSphere Host Client, and checking its MD5 checksum signature is correct.  It's a good idea to compare checksums, because many installat…
In this article, I will show you HOW TO: Create your first Windows Virtual Machine on a VMware vSphere Hypervisor 6.5 (ESXi 6.5) Host Server, the Windows OS we will install is Windows Server 2016.
Teach the user how to convert virtaul disk file formats and how to rename virtual machine files on datastores. Open vSphere Web Client: Review VM disk settings: Migrate VM to new datastore with a thick provisioned (lazy zeroed) disk format: Rename a…
Teach the user how to use create log bundles for vCenter Server or ESXi hosts Open vSphere Web Client: Generate vCenter Server and ESXi host log bundle:  Open vCenter Server Appliance Web Management interface and generate log bundle: Open vCenter Se…

863 members asked questions and received personalized solutions in the past 7 days.

Join the community of 500,000 technology professionals and ask your questions.

Join & Ask a Question

Need Help in Real-Time?

Connect with top rated Experts

23 Experts available now in Live!

Get 1:1 Help Now