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Can this scenario work?


AciidSn3ak3r
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I've been lurking around on different forums searching for the answer to my hopeful setup but I haven't got a definitive answer with what I should do.

 

I currently have an N54L with 8TB (4 x 2TB) storage running FreeNAS. To be completely honest, I really dislike FreeNAS and want to move away from it.
I have a seperate Optiplex 990 i7 SFF running Server 2012 R2, Plex in a Win10 VM and Sab,Couch,Sonarr in another Win10 VM (Hyper-V).

It all works, and works well but I want to consolidate it all into one box.  

 

I have already purchased the following:

HP Microserver Gen 8 (Celeron)
Xeon E3-1240

16GB RAM

4x3TB WD Red drives

 

I want virtualisation and I want a NAS use.

 

What I want, is to have RAID 10 in use across the 12TB of storage (so 6TB available). I want to use this storage for NAS use and as a VM store. 

 

So i'd want ESXi as my hypervisor with a NAS OS (been looking at Xpenology) and then what ever other VM's I want. 

I'd hope to configure about 5.5TB of NAS storage available to the NAS OS and then 500GB available for VM's. 

 

Will the built in RAID controller (B120i) allow this? 

If this is at all possible, do I need any particular software or configuration performing? I'll stick to what ever ESXi version is recommended. 

Will I see any performance issues with this type of setup?

 

As you may have note, i'm new to ESXi and virtual setups. 

 

Appreciate any advice. 

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Most of the guides I have viewed for running Xpenology in a VM under ESXi require the SATA controller to be passed through to the Xpenology VM so Xpenology can have direct access to the drives. Xpenology does not like RAID controllers between it and the drives. You could boot ESXi from USB, add a SATA controller for the four front bay drives and passthrough that controller to the Xpenology VM, use the motherboard based SATA controller for SSD to host your VM's.

or

You could add a SSD to the ODD port and load your copy of Server 2012R2 on it, set up the RAID10 as you have described above, run your VM's from Server 2012R2 and let Server 2012R2 handle the NAS functions.

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Thanks for the reply schoondoggy.

 

I did set it up over the weekend but it had undesired effects.

I created a Raid 10 pool with my drives through the built in storage controller (B120i).

I then created a partition of 5TB for NAS use and 500GB for VM's. 

Xpenology installed in the VM partition and it configured to use the 5TB virtual drive for storing content. 

 

However, I encountered network problems when transferring content. It would go up to about 80Mb a second, drop to 60, then 40 and then to 0. It would eventually rise back up and drop again. I assume it's an issue with my drive setup.

 

I've ordered a 240GB SSD and will connect that to the ODD port. Then i'll set each NAS drive to its own RAID 0 array. This I believe is considered as pass-through. Ill let Xpenology configure and manage the pooling of those drives.

 

Now to await my SSD delivery!

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You will need to add another storage controller if you need to passthrough drives to a VM. As far as I know, you can not passthrough individual drives, you passthrough a storage controller and the drives attached. You need atleast two storage controllers as one will be hosting your VM's and the other will be passthrough.

 

Sent from my LG-H910 using Tapatalk

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The drop in disk performance is most likely coming from quirky RAID implementation in B120i and maybe bad disk performance vsphere has with default B120i drivers (check the forum how to downgrade the driver to better performing version).

If you want to pass all 4x 3TB disks to xpenology and will host vsphere datastores on SSD, you might want to set  the controller to AHCI and pass individual drives to your VM via RDM (raw device/disk mapping). You will need to ssh to vsphere in order to do that - google has some tutorials for you.

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The drop in disk performance is most likely coming from quirky RAID implementation in B120i and maybe bad disk performance vsphere has with default B120i drivers (check the forum how to downgrade the driver to better performing version).

If you want to pass all 4x 3TB disks to xpenology and will host vsphere datastores on SSD, you might want to set  the controller to AHCI and pass individual drives to your VM via RDM (raw device/disk mapping). You will need to ssh to vsphere in order to do that - google has some tutorials for you.

Good catch on both points.

Do you have good luck with RDM on disks? It has been some time since I played with it, seems like it gave a substantial performance hit to disk IO. Also, I think I ran into a data recovery issue, but that was like do to user error. LSI 9210-8i or IBM M1015 in HBA mode are $50, passthrough to a VM has worked well, but It is an added expense.

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I have only been passing single logical drive from P420 and that has worked well for me - fortunately no data loss and performance looks quite allright with spinning disks.

RDM can still be handy in case one needs PCIe port for something else in the Microserver.

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You could use UNraid without the raid controller and get what you're looking for. It allows for 2 parity drives and you can use the SSD for a cache. VMs work very well too.

Edited by mcmurray
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Well ESXi really did not want to play nice and really got on my t**ts. 

 

ACHI configuration caused disconnects with the drives and just froze ESXi. RAID RDM drives couldn't be mounted to VM's.

 

In the end I moved to 2016 Server and setup my SSD in RAID 0 with Server 2016 installed and VM's spinning on this. 

I have 4 x 3TB Red drives in RAID 10 which are being passed directly to my Xpenology VM held on the SSD store. 

 

So far write speeds and network speeds are transferring at desired speeds. 

 

Only problem I do have is my Virtual Ethernet Adapter within Server 2016 & the VM's are only operating at 1GB rather than the typical 10GB virtual speed. (I'm on about the link speed, not physical speed). Any ideas?

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