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Install Hyper-V Server 2012 on Raid1 or USB?


Jesse
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In the interest of uptime I usually install my server OS's on a Raid 1 array. I would, however, like to keep the number of HDD's in my next server to a minimum, so I am considering trying to install the OS on a large capacity USB stick.

 

Shouldn't a USB stick be more reliable than a pair of spinning drives? I am guessing USB 2.0 speeds will leave a bit to be desired, but I am also guessing it won't matter much on a bare metal hypervisor.

 

Thoughts please.

 

Thanks,

Jesse

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I like your thinking and am really interested in what those who have used Hyper-V more have to say about it. I also am looking to minimize the number of spinning drives if that's good practice. However, i did just find this article after a quick search and am now rethinking that mentality....

 

http://www.aidanfinn.com/?p=13580

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OK, I admit I didn't read the article, but I'm thinking using a USB stick as an OS drive is not a good idea. As I understand it, USB sticks are not designed to handle the frequency of write operations typical of most OS'. That's a major difference between USB sticks and SSDs.

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Hi,

 

Interesting. I am talking about deploying Hyper-V Server 2012 (baremetal hypervisor), so I am ok there. The fact that it is not supported does not concern me too much - perfomance and reliability are my main concerns. MS did not support, or make it easy, to install WHS V1 on a raid 1 array, but I ran it that way for years. What I am wondering is if someone knows of a good reason not to do it.

 

Thanks for the info.

 

Jesse

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Guest no-control

Other than the fact that usb sticks are notorious for having short lifespan. No I don't see why you shouldn't try it. I would buy a 3 pack and make to copies of them so when/if the stick dies you can just plug in a new one.

Why not just run ESXi since this is definitely supported?

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Hi,

 

The write frequency thing is interesting. Thanks ikon.

 

Good question Mike. I started out with the idea of using ESXi, but I just don't want to drop another few hundred on a raid card, so I am giving Hyper-V Server 2012 a try as it supports intel chipset raid. Chipset raid is not awesome, but it has been reliable, and my needs can be covered with two 3 TB drives in a raid 1 array. I don't want to spend hundreds on a raid card just to mirror a couple of drives.

 

Thanks again,

 

Jesse

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As I said earlier, and no-control re-iterated, USB sticks aren't designed for this kind of use. They likely will not last very long.

 

One thing you said confused me a bit. When you say 'deploy', do you mean you're just planning to use the USB stick to install HV onto local drives on different computers? A USB stick should work fine for that use. However, you said you want to minimize the number of spinning drive, so I got the distinct impression you want to run HV full time from the USB stick. That's where you will likely run into trouble I think. I could be wrong, but I'm not convinced that baremetal HV will have that much lower disk usage than Server 2012 for example.

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Hi ikon,

 

I did mean run full time on USB stick.

 

The more I think about it the more I think you and Mike are right. 32GB SSD's are cheap enough now that I could put two in raid 1 for ~$100.

 

Jesse

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