troubleshooting Question

NVMe drives in low-end server

Avatar of CompProbSolv
CompProbSolvFlag for United States of America asked on
Windows OSWindows 10Azure* SSDWindows Server 2016
8 Comments1 Solution95 ViewsLast Modified:
My clients are all one-server companies with less than 30 users.  I'm looking at suggesting a new server for one of them and wanted to gather opinions on my choice of drives.

The server will have one 8-core CPU and will run Windows Server 2016 as a host.  A Dell PowerEdge T430 is an example of what I may recommend.  There will be two VMs, one as the DC and the other for all the rest (file and print sharing, applications, etc.).

My question has to do with the storage arrangement.  In the past I'd have used a hardware RAID controller with some RAM on it and four SAS drives configured as two RAID 1 arrays.  The first would be for the Host and the DC VM where the second would be entirely for the Application VM.  

My present thoughts are quite different.  I'm leaning toward two 512G NVMe SSDs (Samsung 960 Pro) for the OS and DC VM and a pair of 960G NVMe SSDs for the Application VM.  Each pair would be mirrored using Windows mirroring, not a RAID controller.  The SSDs would be physically connected to the system by four PCIe cards.

I recognize that I lose the battery backup capabilities of a good hardware RAID controller.  I'm not so concerned about that as the server itself will have a good battery backup.  The minimal data loss in case of a power and battery backup failure would be tolerable.

The key here is finding a good balance between cost and performance.  This arrangement seems to hit that mark.

I'm also wondering about whether the additional cost for the first pair of NVMe drives is worth it.  As an alternative, I could use two SAS drives for the Host (using Windows to mirror) and then decide whether to put the DC on them or on the NVMe pair.  I recognize that this would significantly increase boot time, but that shouldn't be a big issue.

I'd appreciate any comments regarding whether or not you feel this is a good approach.
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