CentOSfan
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Contributor

vSphere Eval question about Storage

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Hi,

I have 4 servers to evaluate vSphere and here is what I have to work with and where I am and my question about storage.

3 HP DL380 G5 servers with 8GB ram each and 4x146GB drives

1 HP DL380 G6 Server with 12GB and 3x146GB, 5x300GB drives.

I have installed ESXi4 on the G6 server with two datastores, first 268GB, second 1.09TB.

I plan to install ESXi4 on the other 3 machines and have vCenter

Server running as VM's on two of the servers.

Now on to my question.

I do not have a tradional SAN device. I have plenty of disk space however, if you add up all the disks on the 4 servers. How would you best utilize

the existing hardware I have to setup a configuration that supports HA, vMotion and DRB. Again, using the 4 servers with the

current hard drives installed. Can I create a virtual SAN by utilizing all the disk across the 4 servers? Is my understanding of running two VM's of

vCenter on 2 seperate servers a reasonable approach to running it?

Thanks for any help. My first attempt at trying to setup ESX/Vsphere.

Cordially,

Paul

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stanj
Enthusiast
Enthusiast

StorMagic www.stormagic.com has a free Virtual SAN for vSphere.

You can create up to 2 TB per ESX with the free license.

You should be able to test vSphere (HA, DRS, vMotion)

However, I do see that FT is not fully supported yet.

Stan

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7 Replies
AWo
Immortal
Immortal

I do not have a tradional SAN device. I have plenty of disk space however, if you add up all the disks on the 4 servers. How would you best utilize

the existing hardware I have to setup a configuration that supports HA, vMotion and DRB. Again, using the 4 servers with the

current hard drives installed.

Without shared storage (NFS, iSCSI, FC SAN) you can't use HA, vMotion and thereby DRS.


AWo

VCP 3 & 4

Author @ vmwire.net

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weinstein5
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Immortal

You will not be able to span the storage across your 4 servers - what I would recommend is take one of your machines and use a product like OpenFiler or FreeNAS to present an iSCSI/NAS storage device to the remaining three machines - that way you can test the features, like vmotion, HA, DRS, that require shared storage. In terms of virtual center I would run just a single instance of virtual center because HA will still work without virtual center running -

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CentOSfan
Contributor
Contributor

Thanks for the helpful answer. I saw that HP has a Virtual SAN Appliance. Could that take advantage of my local disk storage across the

DL380's?

http://www.vmware.com/appliances/directory/va/92113/download

It look to be pretty expensive software, after the trial $4K.

It sounds like my hardware is not well suited for vSphere enviroment. The servers all run CentOS and during varying times during the day

tax the CPU/Disk heavily. I suspect that putting them on a SAN and accessed via 1Gb ethernet connection will be much slower than

the disk array right on the server. Thus giving up significant performance/watt

Converting one of the machines to a SAN, seems like a waste of hardware, the G5's only hold 8 disks and are dual quad core servers.

Am I correct in assuming that a SAN will provide much slower I/O than a disk array on the server itself?

I guess the ideal environment would be a Blade(s) servers connect at 10Gb to a iSCSI SAN?

Unfortunately I am forced to use the existing hardware I have. I could buy a dedicated SAN storage device, but my impression is

that I am giving up the very fast I/O of the HP 410iP400 raid storage controller's in the DL380's. Kinda makes me wonder as

I learn more about the vSphere environment, where a server like a DL380 fits in. It would appear they are not ideal (2U) in

a vSphere environment where a lan based SAN is a requirement, those nullifying the performance of the local disk controller & disks.

Thanks for any additional thoughts, I really appreciate you sharing your knowledge.

Cordially,

Paul

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weinstein5
Immortal
Immortal

I think the equipment will definitely be adequate to evaluate vSphere - for most if not all applicaitons you will virtualize for the evaluation they will not be affected by the 1 GB connectivity to the shared storage - ESX 3.x has supported iSCSI for 4 years and implemented with 1 GB iSCSI/NAS networks - If cost is of concern try using OpenFiler - an open source SAN solution

I know of many environments that use the DL380 series as their virtualization platform -

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CentOSfan
Contributor
Contributor

I imagine the DL380 will work fine, but my point is that in a vSphere enviroment, it's not really necessary.

Effectivley, in a vSphere enviroment that supports vmotion, DRS etc. You have to have a dedicated SAN. So the DL380 are

essentially only being used for their CPU/memory. The expensive disk subsystems in wasted.

I Blade server is much more effective, since all you need are CPU's and memory, the disk storage on the DL380's are wasted.

Thanks for you help.

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DSTAVERT
Immortal
Immortal

As mentioned I would use one machine to create shared storage. I personally prefer NFS for it's simplicity but . . . Move the G6 drives (probably dual port so maybe not) of the drives to one of the G5s. You can use a standard Linux distribution and create a single NFS share. Mount the same NFS share as a datastore on the three ESX(i) hosts.

-- David -- VMware Communities Moderator
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stanj
Enthusiast
Enthusiast

StorMagic www.stormagic.com has a free Virtual SAN for vSphere.

You can create up to 2 TB per ESX with the free license.

You should be able to test vSphere (HA, DRS, vMotion)

However, I do see that FT is not fully supported yet.

Stan

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