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post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 
I'm piecing together an estimate for work on in-house builds for ESXi hosts. Now, just to get this out there I have been specifically asked to make an estimate for this against prebuilt machines. The prebuilt warranty is meaningless in this environment.

I have most of the system together with the exception of one (critical) area: guest OS drives. I.E. the drive subsystem where the actual VMs will run off of. Not the storage disks, just the guest OS itself. I have a few questions:

1) Does ESXi support TRIM? I can't find a straight answer anywhere. We'd be looking at ESXi 5.0. If not, which SSDs would you recommend with integrated garbage collection that I could put in a RAID 1? We'd be running 7 low-intensity VMs to start, growing possibly up to 10 in 2 years. Low intensity all around, with perhaps 2-3 of them ever requiring moderate disk I/O. I'm looking at SSDs to reduce the amount of spindles in the overall machine.

2) If SSDs are not an option, are 10K RPM drives required? Or could 7200 RPM drives work for this number of VMs? I know they will be low intensity, but it's the amount of head travel I'm concerned about.

3) Does ESXi Embedded (for USB drives) work well off of USB 2.0, or would 3.0 be recommended? I've read conflicting reports of how much I/O the actual hypervisor needs once it's up and running.
    
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post #2 of 5
Quote:
Originally Posted by TurboTurtle View Post

I'm piecing together an estimate for work on in-house builds for ESXi hosts. Now, just to get this out there I have been specifically asked to make an estimate for this against prebuilt machines. The prebuilt warranty is meaningless in this environment.
I have most of the system together with the exception of one (critical) area: guest OS drives. I.E. the drive subsystem where the actual VMs will run off of. Not the storage disks, just the guest OS itself. I have a few questions:
1) Does ESXi support TRIM? I can't find a straight answer anywhere. We'd be looking at ESXi 5.0. If not, which SSDs would you recommend with integrated garbage collection that I could put in a RAID 1? We'd be running 7 low-intensity VMs to start, growing possibly up to 10 in 2 years. Low intensity all around, with perhaps 2-3 of them ever requiring moderate disk I/O. I'm looking at SSDs to reduce the amount of spindles in the overall machine.
2) If SSDs are not an option, are 10K RPM drives required? Or could 7200 RPM drives work for this number of VMs? I know they will be low intensity, but it's the amount of head travel I'm concerned about.
3) Does ESXi Embedded (for USB drives) work well off of USB 2.0, or would 3.0 be recommended? I've read conflicting reports of how much I/O the actual hypervisor needs once it's up and running.

1. I haven't heard of it supporting TRIM, and given the newness of SSD's in the enterprise I wouldn't be surprised if it wasn't supported yet. Isn't TRIM not supported in RAID configurations yet any ways?
2. Have you tried guest performance in any of those drive configs yet? It shouldn't be too bad accessing a RAID 5 volume of 10k RPM disks. Accessing VM's off a 6 year old SAN using 10kRPM drives the performance isn't too bad, just don't expect native performance (since you are 1. Accessing a VM, and 2. accessing the VM remotely).
3. The I/O is minimal; I have regularly seen ESXi working with a large number of VM's, and the hypervisor is running off a USB 2.0 or SD card.
    
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post #3 of 5
Thread Starter 
TRIM is supported in some RAID configurations (by that I mean controller/OS/etc..not array level), as far I know. It's not ubiquitous yet though to be sure.

I haven't, and in fact the servers are using mostly single consumer level drives in them (we're between refreshes - and it's a school budget tongue.gif ). I imagine a 10K drive would be fine for I/O, but again I'm worried about spindle travel, wear, etc... I don't want these drives to fail after 2 years due to wear from a constantly traveling head. I think I may end up going with RAID 1 10K drives though due to the cost of enterprise SSDs, or even high quality consumer ones.

Awesome on the USB point, good to get a solid answer.

thumb.gif
    
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post #4 of 5
Why not just take the Google approach and throw more spindles at the problem? RAID 6 for resiliency , toss 5-6 cheap 7200RPM disks at the problem will certainly help and be resilient.

You could go the SSD route, but the problem is always the same; space. Figure at least 20-30 GB per VM, and thats a good bit of space needed.
    
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post #5 of 5
Quote:
Originally Posted by trueg50 View Post

Why not just take the Google approach and throw more spindles at the problem? RAID 6 for resiliency , toss 5-6 cheap 7200RPM disks at the problem will certainly help and be resilient.
You could go the SSD route, but the problem is always the same; space. Figure at least 20-30 GB per VM, and thats a good bit of space needed.

I second this... Logic is there. the more spindles you throw at it the faster it will be. plus raid 6 is capable of sustaining 2 drive failures before loss of data. so i'd say do the raid 6 but have a hot spare in there so as soon as one drive goes down it starts to rebuild. Also an approach i take fore setting up some of my customers is if you go this router say your going with 6 hard drives. order 2 drives from 3 vendors. it reduces the chance of getting the exact same batch of drives. this way if you do experience a failure due to a bad batch you are reducing the likelihood of it being crippling...
 
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MacBook Pro 6.1
(16 items)
 
Server
(19 items)
 
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Core i7 Q720 Asus ATI Mobility Radeon HD 5870 1GB DDR5 12 GB DDR3 
Hard DriveOSMonitorKeyboard
Seagate Momentus XT 500GB 7200RPM & Seagate 750... Windows 7 Ultimate x64 17.3" LED LCD Factory 
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Factory Factory Logitech G9X Mine 
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Mac OS X 10.6.8 17" LED Factory Factory 
CaseMouseMouse PadAudio
Factory Factory None Factory 
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
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