Hi everyone, was hoping someone can point me in the right direction.

I am looking at running 3 VM's on 1 server (exchange, AD and SQL) and was wondering if it is necessary to run the data on a SAN or can it be run effectively on local SAS drives, if so any tips of configs would be greatly appreciated.

Finally what is the best way to run backups, can all 3 servers backup to 1 tape drive (space permitting) or is better to have a dedciated tape drive per VM?

Any tips would be appreciated.

Many thanks

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3 Replies

It depends on how performance, I/O etc you want.

For three VM, you could use the local storage with SAS drives, but I will do as follow

- 1st raid controller

2 SAS Drive Mirrored for ESX

- 2nd raid controller

x SAS Drive (Raid 5 with hot spare) for VM

About the backup I think it sufficient one tape on the local machine, but you must find a tape drive visible by ESX, otherwise you could use a third party backup software and backup your VM with an agent for file level backup.

If you want to backup all VM's (like an image) for disaster recovery you could use a Third Party software with a Unix agent that works with ESX, I'm using Symantec Backup Exec without any issuses.

Riccardo Riva

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RRiva | |

Hi RobAde,

You are going in the right direction. You should be able to run your 3 VM's on 1 server without a problem. One of the only reason you would need a SAN would be for vMotion, DRS, or HA features. If you need or want those features, you will need a SAN and Virtual Center to enable the management of those features.

A single tape drive on the host is sufficient. You do not need to do a dedicated tape drive per VM. If you ever do move to a SAN, add additional ESX host servers, and utilize vMotion, then you will want to move your tape drive off the ESX host and onto a dedicated backup server.

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adding to the previous posts, you might also find some semi-SAN solution useful. There are enterprise virtual appliances like LeftHand VSA of FalconStor CDP VA or some free like OpenFiler or FreeNas. All of them allow you to use the local disks to behave like a common iSCSI SAN. Some of them (I do know better the first two) provide features like mirroring/clustering, snapshots, thin provisioning...

The benefit of this is you can build your Virtual Infrastructure on full-featured SAN from the beginning. Later you can easily migrate to more powerful solution.


Lukas Kubin

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