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Esxi and NETAPP SAN storage planning / LUN management

We have a corporate client with several locations that backup to their main corporate servers.

Approx 27 locations backup nightly to the corporate backup servers and storage.

The customer is moving off basic NAS storage due to expansion needs and IOP issues with the increased load during nightly backups.  The storage using NAS was taxed heavily in peak hours causing random disconnects.   So a NETAPP enterprise grade SAN was purchased.

The main backup server is running in a VM on ESxi 5.5.  It simply runs processing and SQL database , the actual storage or backups can be any target accessible to the SQL server.

The NETAPP e-series SAN is connected with an HBA SAS controller at 12GPS directly to the SAN for a high speed link.
Total storage on the NETAPP is 21TB at this point additional shelves can be added down the road for expansion.

We are going to create 2 large LUNS on the NETAPP  for backup storage and one smaller LUN.    8TB and 8TB and leave a 4TB LUN for other purposes VM backups / VMS etc.

Do we now create 8TB VDMK hard drives inside each 8TB LUN and attach as hard drives to the VM?
Or is there a way to attach a NETAPP LUN in its format to the VM for storage?
I believe the answer is a VDMK will be required inside the NETAPP LUNS for use by the VM?

Thanks in advance
Jason
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j-teksolutions
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j-teksolutions
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
You can do either, e.g. create a 8TB datastore, by creating an 8TB LUN, connecting to ESXi and formatting, and creating a datastore, and then create a VM with an 8TB disk.

or you can create a 8TB LUN, and present this directly to the VM, e.g. RAW LUN, but to be honest with you there is very little benefit to doing this, and adds further complication.

BUT, and this is a BIG BUT, will your Backups and VMs be sharing the SAME NetApp Filer ?

Is this not a very large single point of failure, e.g. NetApp FAILS, you have got ZERO BACKUPS.

Backups should be on another platform, which does not share your storage with your VMs.
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
do you require any further assistance with this question ?
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