Hi, first post on here looking for some advice for my hardware and possible improvements.
The server is a HP N36L Microserver maxed out with 8GB RAM. Theres 4x 2TB in HW RAID5 connected to a HP P410 controller with 512MB battery backed cache and 8GB USB pen for ESXi 5. The 4 appliances that are used are NexentaStor (opensolaris ZFS), Gentoo VPN, Gentoo media server (needs high priority) and a Windows 7 (very occasional use).
All the VMs are stored on the RAID5 datastore including 2x 2TB VHD for the RAIDZ0 pool, and here's where I see the issue. Surely having 2x VHDs like this is wasteful over having direct access to the RAID5 array. My question is how wasteful is this configuration? I only have 2 clients pulling data at any one time from the WAN and these will be around 10-20Mb/sec streaming via the Gentoo media server VM.
I'm prepared to add 1 or 2 small SSDs to the setup if it will greatly improve the system. Space is not plentiful so it would have to be 2.5" drives regardless. I was thinking to keep the ESXi installation on the USB, mount the VMs on one SSD and have the other SSD as a ZFS cache, the Gentoo root filesystems could could reside on NFS mounts via NexentaStor and the boot partitions and swap files on the VM pool SSD (30-40GB drive)
So the objective is to have the RAID5 as a single ZFS pool without fragmentation and keep it only allocated to the Nexentastor VM. I have no DirectPath so how would this be best achieved for maximum performance?
Would it be best to attach any extra drives (VM pool and cache) to the P410 or the motherboard controller in terms of performance. I'm at a tipping point, if I store any more data on the array I won't be able to back it up so any changes have to be done now.
I've read about ZFS or ESX on a microserver but not both at the same time: http://220.127.116.11/showthread.php?s=ff6e6d1200b50b87d9e1f8d8ba5400a2&t=1555868
The recommendation for ZFS on a microserver is to allocate all 8Gb to ZFS ... and also turn off some features so that it runs OK. How much RAM is allocated to Nexenta and what features do you have running?
It was my understanding that you would not use hardware raid for ZFS either ...
Extra RAM and SSDs should help with performance though (+ less features) ...
I'm not sure what you mean by extra features. I have no requirements for Dups on the media share but am thinking about it for the possible NFS shares. Nexenta currently has 2GB and that just whilst testing the other VMs, I will allocate it more when I'm happy with Plex on Win7/Linux.
The question is, do I ditch the P410 Smart Array? It looks like only JBOD is useful for ZFS and BTRFS has no RAID5 support still. Is it possible to assign a hard drive to a VM directly like a passthrough?