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Vmware ESXI 4.1 QUestion raid5vsraid10

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 
I have a damn good dell server, 24cores, 32gb ram. Cant remember the cpus model right now. It has a perc6i in it. I want to install Vmware ESXi 4.1 on it. Right now it had 6x500gb Western Digital blacks,. Should I go for raid5 or raid10. I would get new drives at 1tb. My biggest concern is the IO. I will run development testing vms on it, and some productions. So about 5-8 running VMs running Linux/Windows at any given time.

Is it a good idea to install the os on a usb key, and use the drives for datastore.
post #2 of 17
That is a loaded question.

What raid card are you using? My preference would be to use raid5.
There are variations of your chip. If i'm not mistaken its most likely an integrated raid card. If that is the case your performance would be slightly lacking. If it actually has a dedicated sodimm with 1 gig memory then you should have no problems running all those operating systems on the machine. Given they all are not trying to read at the same time.

I would not go the route of installing anything on a usb key.
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post #3 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by danewfie;11709472 
That is a loaded question.

What raid card are you using? My preference would be to use raid5.
There are variations of your chip. If i'm not mistaken its most likely an integrated raid card. If that is the case your performance would be slightly lacking. If it actually has a dedicated sodimm with 1 gig memory then you should have no problems running all those operating systems on the machine. Given they all are not trying to read at the same time.

I would not go the route of installing anything on a usb key.

Nothing wrong with installing it on a USB key. I have it that way, with the USB key installed on the USB port on the motherboard (i.e. inside the chassis).

We do that for almost all of our ESX servers that we deploy for clients. It's a bare metal hypervisor with minimal I/O requirements anyways.
Quote:
Originally Posted by elec999;11708658 
I have a damn good dell server, 24cores, 32gb ram. Cant remember the cpus model right now. It has a perc6i in it. I want to install Vmware ESXi 4.1 on it. Right now it had 6x500gb Western Digital blacks,. Should I go for raid5 or raid10. I would get new drives at 1tb. My biggest concern is the IO. I will run development testing vms on it, and some productions. So about 5-8 running VMs running Linux/Windows at any given time.

Is it a good idea to install the os on a usb key, and use the drives for datastore.


It would be an easier choice if you had 8 drives tongue.gif.

But in general, it depends on what virtual machines you're going to be using. I think RAID-5 would be more than enough for development purposes. I ran my T710 with 8x160GB in RAID-5 for a while, but switched to RAID-10 when I added a second array and also an iSCSI SAN.

If you think 1.5TB is enough space, then go with RAID-10. Otherwise, go with RAID-5 or RAID-6 to maximize available space.

Oh, and you only need a 1GB USB key... biggrin.gif

5-8 VMs on that kind of hardware is nothing. Seriously. That's a puny load - even if you gave the each of the VMs 4vCPU and 4GB of RAM... smile.gif

At the most, I was running 23 VMs on my ESX host - granted, not with 4GB of RAM each, but didn't have a problem...

Just realized I didn't really answer the question. tongue.gif

If you're running an VMs that will contain a large number of small files that will be constantly accessed and modified, then a RAID-5 array may not be the best - i.e. a production file server. That's one scenario that I think a RAID-10 array would be better.

SQL VMs should run just fine on a RAID-5 array, though again, that depends on how heavily the database is being accessed.

So, what VMs are you going to run? i.e. what server roles?
Edited by ComGuards - 12/19/10 at 8:59pm
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post #4 of 17
Thread Starter 
Thank you
Edited by elec999 - 12/20/10 at 5:55pm
post #5 of 17
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ComGuards;11710070 
Nothing wrong with installing it on a USB key. I have it that way, with the USB key installed on the USB port on the motherboard (i.e. inside the chassis).

We do that for almost all of our ESX servers that we deploy for clients. It's a bare metal hypervisor with minimal I/O requirements anyways.




It would be an easier choice if you had 8 drives tongue.gif.

But in general, it depends on what virtual machines you're going to be using. I think RAID-5 would be more than enough for development purposes. I ran my T710 with 8x160GB in RAID-5 for a while, but switched to RAID-10 when I added a second array and also an iSCSI SAN.

If you think 1.5TB is enough space, then go with RAID-10. Otherwise, go with RAID-5 or RAID-6 to maximize available space.

Oh, and you only need a 1GB USB key... biggrin.gif

5-8 VMs on that kind of hardware is nothing. Seriously. That's a puny load - even if you gave the each of the VMs 4vCPU and 4GB of RAM... smile.gif

At the most, I was running 23 VMs on my ESX host - granted, not with 4GB of RAM each, but didn't have a problem...

Just realized I didn't really answer the question. tongue.gif

If you're running an VMs that will contain a large number of small files that will be constantly accessed and modified, then a RAID-5 array may not be the best - i.e. a production file server. That's one scenario that I think a RAID-10 array would be better.

SQL VMs should run just fine on a RAID-5 array, though again, that depends on how heavily the database is being accessed.

So, what VMs are you going to run? i.e. what server roles?


Sorry guys,
It is a PERC6i card, Money is not a issue. I am willing to purchase 6x1tb hdd or 6x2tb hdds. I do need a lot of I/O. Usually dev vm need lots of I/O, and space.
The current raid5 aray with 6x500gb hdd, seems very slow, getting ~60mb writes, and ~120reads.

I want to run Backup of Active Directory, DNS Server/DHCP, Printer Server, Windows Deployment Services, Windows Updates Services. Developers are using VMs with their own Active directory, SharePoint, SQL Server, SVN (for testing only). But production will always be active for me.

For the USB Flash drive, Do I need a high performance one, or just any will do? Does ESXi make a swap partition, will that work?

Thank you


BTW I have the exact same DELL Server like you ESX-Host 1!
Edited by elec999 - 12/20/10 at 7:13pm
post #6 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by elec999;11720438 
Sorry guys,
It is a PERC6i card, Money is not a issue. I am willing to purchase 6x1tb hdd or 6x2tb hdds. I do need a lot of I/O. Usually dev vm need lots of I/O, and space.
The current raid5 aray with 6x500gb hdd, seems very slow, getting ~60mb writes, and ~120reads.

I want to run Backup of Active Directory, DNS Server/DHCP, Printer Server, Windows Deployment Services, Windows Updates Services. Developers are using VMs with their own Active directory, SharePoint, SQL Server, SVN (for testing only). But production will always be active for me.

For the USB Flash drive, Do I need a high performance one, or just any will do? Does ESXi make a swap partition, will that work?

Thank you


BTW I have the exact same DELL Server like you ESX-Host 1!

I haven't upgraded to ESX4.1 yet, but ESX 4.0 on my server has a 2TB limit on the datastore. Might have changed in 4.1, but that's something you'll have to look up.

Active Directory, DNS and DHCP will all run on a single server - you can run all that on a 2008 R2 VM with 2vCPU and 1GB RAM allocated to it without a problem. Second VM-DC just to have a replica of AD on another server.

If money is not an issue, I would actually advise that you look into getting an iSCSI SAN for your server. Either a Dell PowerVault at the upper end, or a NetGear ReadyNAS Pro barebones. Gives you more flexibility.

Once you install WSUS on a 2008 R2 system, it will not let you deploy any other roles to the server - so you'll have a dedicated WSUS box. You could probably combine the WDS role on a domain controller, or setup another VM to do it.

If money REALLY is no issue, you could look into installing a couple of 240GB Sandforce SSDs into your server - i.e. remove the optical drive and install into the 5.25" bays. You could allocate the SSDs for development purposes for the SQL and Sharepoint VMs. Those VMs would benefit from the high random-access performance of SSDs. Remember, with RAID, you're still bottlenecked with mechanical HDD seek times.

You don't need a fast USB key to boot off of. Mine is some ancient 1GB Kingston USB key. USB2.0 is limited, realistically, to practical speeds of about 30MB/s read anyways, so you don't need something fast. There's not that much that needs to load for the hypervisor. Besides which, how often are you REALLY going to be rebooting the host anyways? I don't think I've rebooted my host in at least 5 months now, if not more...

Hope that helps a bit smile.gif
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post #7 of 17
Afaik, there has been some noise about RAID5 being terrible for database operations (small writes), but I'm not sure how that works out with VMs. Depending on the use, I think you can expect a lot of small writes....
    
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post #8 of 17
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ComGuards;11722805 
I haven't upgraded to ESX4.1 yet, but ESX 4.0 on my server has a 2TB limit on the datastore. Might have changed in 4.1, but that's something you'll have to look up.

Active Directory, DNS and DHCP will all run on a single server - you can run all that on a 2008 R2 VM with 2vCPU and 1GB RAM allocated to it without a problem. Second VM-DC just to have a replica of AD on another server.

If money is not an issue, I would actually advise that you look into getting an iSCSI SAN for your server. Either a Dell PowerVault at the upper end, or a NetGear ReadyNAS Pro barebones. Gives you more flexibility.

Once you install WSUS on a 2008 R2 system, it will not let you deploy any other roles to the server - so you'll have a dedicated WSUS box. You could probably combine the WDS role on a domain controller, or setup another VM to do it.

If money REALLY is no issue, you could look into installing a couple of 240GB Sandforce SSDs into your server - i.e. remove the optical drive and install into the 5.25" bays. You could allocate the SSDs for development purposes for the SQL and Sharepoint VMs. Those VMs would benefit from the high random-access performance of SSDs. Remember, with RAID, you're still bottlenecked with mechanical HDD seek times.

You don't need a fast USB key to boot off of. Mine is some ancient 1GB Kingston USB key. USB2.0 is limited, realistically, to practical speeds of about 30MB/s read anyways, so you don't need something fast. There's not that much that needs to load for the hypervisor. Besides which, how often are you REALLY going to be rebooting the host anyways? I don't think I've rebooted my host in at least 5 months now, if not more...

Hope that helps a bit smile.gif

Seems like 2TB for data store max. Is it okay to make two data stores on the same controller/array. 2TB+1TB? if i have 6x1tb in raid10 ~3tb
post #9 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by elec999;11725277 
Seems like 2TB for data store max. Is it okay to make two data stores on the same controller/array. 2TB+1TB? if i have 6x1tb in raid10 ~3tb

I believe so. You'll have to do this at the controller level. i.e. create two RAID-10 virtual disks in the PERC6 controller card.

I still think two SSDs connected in AHCI is your best bet for use as a datastore for VMs that will have a lot of small-file I/O operations... smile.gif
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post #10 of 17
Thread Starter 
Is it me? Or this a joke, Ive heard that R710 will only like Dell Hard drives? That's highly impossible...
Thank you
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