We have R710s with 6 HDDs that we are installing ESXi on
We are using a Netapp for our SAN but want to use the localdisk on each ESXi server for backups
Is it recommended to split the 'ESXi install' and datastore on seperate physical disks
Or just RAID 5 all 6 disks and install ESXi on it?
What do you guys do?
I've never really been to fussed with trying to separate the ESXi installation to its own disk or disks, i've never really had a need to utilise local storage in our ESX servers, we've only ever specced them out with a couple of 72GB SAS disks for a mirror, or a flash disk to boot from, and then of course, a SAN for shared storage.
Having said that, one advantage i could see would be it may be easier to perform an upgrade of ESXi if it lives on its own separate volume, that way you wouldn't have to worry about overwriting any VMFS volumes in that partition.
If the RAID controller supports it, it may be worth your while to create a mirrored volume for your ESXi installation, and then a RAID 5 for your datastore with the remaining disks...
Hope this helps!
Welcome to the Community,
assuming a RAID5 is what you are going to use (maximum storage, but still protected) I'd suggest you setup a RAID5 set with all the disks and create 2 logical volumes (called "virtual disks" in some Dell documentations). The first one (the boot volume) for the ESXi installation with ~10GB and the second one for the VMFS datastore. Unless you are going to install ESXi 5.0, the maximum size for a LUN/logical volume is 2 TB minus 512 Bytes. Depending on your disk sizes you may need to create more than 2 logical volumes!
What is the connection to your Netapp SAN; Fibre, iSCSI or NFS?
You could configure your hosts to boot from SAN with the right equipment and thus avoid installing ESXi locally.
However while we are at it I have some questions;
1) Why not use ESXi 5.0?
2) Why would you want to put your backups on local disks on an ESXi host?
You may want to talk to your Dell rep and see if you couldn't just pickup the ESXi embedded chip/SD card. Then you would have the a local install, and you can still do a RAID5 on the disks and achieve maximum storage space.