virtualisation - physical disks and the best way to order them

Hi Everyone,

Building a VM environment tomorrow and want to know the best use of what I have.
I did get some advice on another question but I actually really did take it off topic, so new question to be fair.

I have 12x 300GB physical disks.

I want to have the following roles:

RDP (For a few remote users)

How would everyone set this up as all of these roles with be VMs in Windows Server 2012 R2.
I have ran a fair few scenarios... but I either am left with not enough space for File services ( this is an existing site and I need 900GB before pruning - no time to prune now :) ) or several VMs on the same one massive VIRTUAL DISK made by the RAID controller.

Can I have your thoughts please.

Many thanks in advance

RomoloIT Professional ConsultantAsked:
Who is Participating?
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)Connect With a Mentor VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
I would use ALL the disks, with a single volume.
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
You need to have a PAIR of DISKS for the Hypervisor OS - e.g. System C: Drive

and then RAID 10 or RAID 6 the remaining disks for DATA (VM Storage) for ALL your VMs, as VHD/VHDX.

see this EE Article, written by our very own Hyper-V Expert - Philip Elder

Some Hyper-V Hardware and Software Best Practices
RomoloIT Professional ConsultantAuthor Commented:
Cool Thanks Andrew.

Read through... nice read.

So it fits in with what I was thinking of:

2x disks RAID1: HOST OS

10x disks either RAID6 or RAID10 (RAID 6 I think for storage: VM Hard Drives, data etc.... All all of the VMs for all of the roles will sit on this one large RAID ARRAY of 10x disks.

Andrew, would you create one single volume for the VMs, or would you chop it up into separate volumes in Windows Server 2012 R2.. i.e. Volume for CRM + SQL, Volume for Exchange, Volume for Print etc...

Many thanks in advance

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RomoloIT Professional ConsultantAuthor Commented:
OK Excellent... I will RAID 1 - 2x disks for Host OS and then  RAID 6 and have one big volume..  for all VMs... that works great for me. Just wanted to check I was not making any silly performance NO NOs putting on one volume.

Thanks again Andrew

Philip ElderConnect With a Mentor Technical Architect - HA/Compute/StorageCommented:
I have an EE article that may help with your questions: Some Hyper-V Hardware and Software Best Practices.

One RAID 6 array with two logical disks:
75GB for host OS
Balance for VM settings and VHDX files.

This allows us to spot rebuild the host if something kills it with ease. We leave a bootable USB flash drive plugged in to the server and have an iDRAC Enterprise/iLO Advanced/Intel RMM to allow us to boot and re-install/reconfigure the hosts. Import the existing guests and we're back in business. BTDT

Also, make sure the RAID controller has at least 1GB of non-volatile cache memory.
RomoloIT Professional ConsultantAuthor Commented:
Thanks guys.

Yes RAID controller all good.

So Phillip .. just to confirm as I am doing it tomorrow (:))... You are suggesting that I RAID 6 the entire array of 12x disks and create two logical volumes. One for OS and one for Data being the VMs and all their data etc...

As opposed to RAID 1 2x drives for HOST OS and Raid 6 10x for Data? This is what I was thinking but wanting some steer on. I thought that would perform better the two arrays.. It might be a dumb statement

Many thanks in advance

The advantage of having the OS on separate disks is that if the OS/hypervisor goes wrong you can just pull the data disks out and import them into another server and data recovery can be easier as software de-striping tools work easier with a single logical disk on an array.

The advantage of having all the disks in one group and then two logical disks on it is that once the host OS is booted it's pretty idle so those two disks add more available IOPS to the VMs.

For SQL full recovery there's an advantage of having the transaction logs on different spindles than the data, then if the data array fails the backup plus transaction logs bring you right up to date rather than losing what you did since last backup, the two array model lets you put the logs on those host/hypervisor disks in a separate partition.
RomoloIT Professional ConsultantAuthor Commented:
Thanks Andy.. great point.

I would personally put in RAID 10 if I could afford the disk capacity lost and get some great gains.. But RAID 6 looks like it needs to be.

Nice suggestions from this thread.. Thanks everyone

Philip ElderTechnical Architect - HA/Compute/StorageCommented:
That is correct. Full IOPS are available to the virtualization setup.
RomoloIT Professional ConsultantAuthor Commented:
Gone ahead with this setup. Happy with that.

Thanks everyone
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