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Need Advice on Drive for VMs


FleurDeLis425
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Planning on really getting into VMs on my server. I currently have Windows Server 2012 R2 installed on my machine on 2x 128GB SSDs in RAID 0. So that will store the DNS, DHCP, and Hyper-V aspects.

 

Obviously, 128GB is not enough for VMs, especially since I would want to partition to isolate the VMs from the main system files. The question I am looking for advice on is what type of drives are best suited for the VMs.

 

I am thinking an SSD or a WD Black are best suited for this. I also know that performance is important for a VM drive.Reliability is the most important as I don't want to bring the whole server down should the VM drive rail. So I am considering RAID 1 for the VM drives as well.

 

I am curious as to what people who have experience with Hyper-V are using for their VMs and what they would recommend for the best performance/price ratio.

 

Thanks!

 

 

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I have three Samsung 840 (240 gigs each) in a RAID 0 configuration that house the VM's.  I realize this is out of the norm but it is super fast.

 

I do have some other drives that act as data drives for the VM's, but the actual OS for each resides on the SSD RAID.

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I have 2 win 7 VMs with relatively low activity on a dedicated old 7200 RPM drive. Works for my purposes where fast IO not necessary.

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It's surprising how much you can do with VM's on a smaller SSD. It depends on what you need to do. I have a last gen i3 running Server 2012 with 24GB ram and 4 or so 3TB hard drives.  I use a single 256GB SSD divided between 64GB for the server and 174GB for the SSD container.

 

Within the SSD container, I have 4 VM's that run fine and fast, one being WHS2011. The others I can export or import to/from other areas on the Server as I need. The secret to keeping them small is to remember that in the root partition for each VM, you don't need a ton of space for the OS itself, other than constraints imposed by MSFT, like the minimum for installing WHS2011, which I believe is supposed to be 60GB. Win7 and 8 each run comfortably in 20-30GB depending on what storage you need in the VM's main partition.

 

The heavy duty storage is composed of VHD's attached to the VM's in settings. If you share the WHS partitions, they can be used by the other VM's. The VHD's are carved out of GPT partitions under Storage Spaces, which despite all the skepticism of the old timer Raid Guys, has run flawlessly for a year and a half or two years. Don't remember since I never have to worry about it. Just use the safer options for creating the drives. Speed doesn't matter a lot for bulk storage. Just remember to have offline backups. I use portable hard drives that I keep in a safe deposit box.

 

Attached are a few pics of how I have things set up. Many different combinations are possible.

disk management.PNG

Hyper V Manager.PNG

WHS2011 Settings.PNG

Storage pools.PNG

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It sounds like you should create a snapshot before making a system change. Implement the change, test it and, if successful, immediately delete the snapshot...

 

I assume VMWare snapshot and Hyper-V checkpoints are one in same?

Edited by Jason
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Yes.  Create a snapshot to protect yourself against a new security patch or major configuration change.  Let that change dwell for about a week and then delete the snapshot if all is well.

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This is great advice. Thanks. I'll admit, I had created a few snapshots more from a backup perspective than a temporary test standpoint. I will now adopt the practice you've suggested.

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Watch how long it takes to delete that snapshot and I'll think you will get an idea of how a snapshot can get it's hooks into a system.

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Jmwillis, yikes. You're not kidding. The delete and merging took ages. And I only has a couple snapshots. Great advice. Now noticed the hyper-v part of my system state backup under WSE12R2 flies. A win-win.

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