3 Replies Latest reply on May 3, 2013 1:19 PM by taylorb

    Large File Server options

    taylorb Expert

      I need to host about 10TB of contiguous Windows File Server space.   We all know about the 2TB VMDK limitation.    So I guess I have several options:


      1. Make several 2TB  VMDKs and use Windows software RAID to span them together.   Probably works OK, but sounds scary.
      2. Use a Physical RDM (64TB limit according to docs).  This would be my first RDM, but it sounds like I'd just have to rely on SAN based tools instead of VM for disk management. Not sure what the cons are really
      3. License NAS service from our SAN (FC attached Netapp 3220).    Would work, but additional expense and learning curve
      4. Skip VM and host this on a Physical box attached to the SAN.  Added expense and more hardware to babysit. 


      So I guess I'd like to know what the typical solution is.  I know I can't be the only one dealing with the 2TB wall.  Do I force a solution in VMware?


      I'm on mixed ESXi 5.0 and 5.1 clusters right now if that matters. 

        • 1. Re: Large File Server options
          a.p. Guru
          Community WarriorsvExpertUser Moderators

          From the options you mentioned, option 2 is what I would do in your case. There's no real drawback in using an RDM, you basically present a LUN to the ESXi host and attach it as an RDM to a VM (no SAN tools or management required). The only thing you cannot do with an RDM in physical (pass-trough) mode is to take VM snapshots, so you'd need to use a guest OS agent based backup tool.



          • 2. Re: Large File Server options
            taylorb Expert

            Thanks for the reply.   I'm open to other options if these are not the only ones.  I just need a robust file server for lots of data.



            I would be able to rely on SAN snapshots with the RDM so I don't know if it is a big deal to lose that functionality from the VM host..  And we prefer using a file-based backup utility for File-servers because of the indexing and version tracking features.  So I won't miss vmdk snap or clone backups.


            Does regular Vmotion and HA work with Physical RDM?

            • 3. Re: Large File Server options
              a.p. Guru
              vExpertCommunity WarriorsUser Moderators

              If the raw LUN is presented to all hosts using the same LUN number you shouldn't have any issues (see http://kb.vmware.com/kb/1016210)




              Message was edited by: a.p. - fixed link