JohnMcClenahan
Contributor
Contributor

How best to upgrade my storage on ESXi 6.5

I've been running ESXi 6.5 for some time on an old Dell T110 server. It hosts a Centos 7 distro, running one main application - Plex Media Server.

It all runs on one 1TB WD Red disk, and the disk is getting nearly full. Before I run out of space as I add more media, I want to increase the storage capacity.

I have a 120GB SSD, and a 4TB WD Red hard disk. I'd welcome advice as to how best to upgrade the storage.

I can see several options of increasing complexity. In all cases I would back up the media data first, to another disk on another machine (I'm doing that as I write).

1. Just add the 4GB disk, and move the data onto it, then configure the Plex Media Server to use that instead of the present location and leave the 1TB disk in place.

2. Start over with a completely new install of ESXi on the 4GB disk, create a VM and install Centos 7 or 8, then reinstall Plex Media Server and copy the media data back onto it.

3. Fit both the SSD and 4TB disk into the server, install ESXi and Centos 7 or 8 then Plex Media server on the SSD, and copy the media data back onto the 4TB disk.

4. Somehow move ESXi and the VM onto the SSD from the 1TB disk, remove the 1TB disk, add the 4TB disk, then move the media data back onto the 4TB disk.

I've no real idea how to do 4 - can it be done without completely starting from scratch? If so, how?

What would you advise for most secure long term performance?

0 Kudos
4 Replies
MoldRiteBud
Contributor
Contributor

Maybe I mis-read, but is sounds like you have only one VM in the ESXi server, so kinda wondering why you don't just run that on the bare metal.  But to answer your question, I'd probably do a variation of option 1:

1. Just add the 4GB disk, and move the data onto it, then configure the Plex Media Server to use that instead of the present location and leave the 1TB disk in place.

You may not need to tell Plex anything -- install the 4TB disk along with the 1TB, and create a data store on it.  Shutdown the Plex server and move the VMDK to the new datastore.  Without vMotion, the fastest way to do that may be to use the VMWare converter, I'm not certain.  I would not deploy the SSD at all, except maybe for a scratch disk, because of the increased failure rate in high-write environments..

0 Kudos
NathanosBlightc
Commander
Commander

In option1, If you mean to add the 4TB, I think it's the best way that has fewer risks of data loss. Only you should know the VM does not need to know where is its datastore! you must move it from the old 1TB datastore to the new 4TB and start it again. Just with respect to the Guest OS, if the volume of VM is running low, you need to increase VMDK size and then extend it in the guest OS.

Option 3 is the second-best way but it's better to use the SSD disk as the host cache and repository of VM swap files.

Option 2 is the new installation method and depends on your IT infrastructure situation (I really prefer to NOT choose it)

Option 4 needs to more moving operations, so there are more risks of losing data!

Please mark my comment as the Correct Answer if this solution resolved your problem
0 Kudos
jburen
Expert
Expert

For the best long term performance I would install ESXi on the 120GB SSD. So remove the 1TB disk from your server, install the SSD and then install ESXi on that disk. Then add the 1TB and the 4 TB disks to the server. You should be able to see the VMDK files from your VM on the 1TB disk. Copy those files to the 4TB disk and import the VM from that location. As long as you don't touch that 1TB disk you could always go back to the original situation.

Consider giving Kudos if you think my response helped you in any way.
0 Kudos
JohnMcClenahan
Contributor
Contributor

sounds like you have only one VM in the ESXi server, so kinda wondering why you don't just run that on the bare metal.

I wanted to leave open the possibility of adding another VM or two later.

But the chance of needing to do that is not high, now. I used to test run several small to medium sized web sites, and wanted to have independent web servers, but no longer have that need. 

So a bare metal solution is quite possible, and may be simplest, just using the 4TB HDD with Centos 8 installed from scratch on it, then install Plex Media Server on that, copy the media data back, with the Plex Library files, and let Plex reindex any further media added later. 

0 Kudos