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Gen8 ESXi Lab - Storage Options


5aq1b
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I have an ESXi lab running on the Gen8 now.  It has a 250GB SSD as a local datastore, but i've remembered i have an N36L lying around too, and some old HD's so I'll be putting that to use as an extra datastore, for VM's which don't need to take up SSD space.

 

I'm interested to hear what OS you're using to use iSCSI storage?  I've briefly used Openfiler, and also Windows Server hosting an iSCSI target. Thoughts please?

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Unless you're going to have multiple VM hosts or you just want to learn then I'd advise against using iSCSI. You'll be severely bottlenecked by the gigabit ethernet connection and lack of iSCSI offload support in the NIC. Just adding the drives directly to your G8 Microserver will give you significantly better performance.

 

Last I heard, Openfiler was a dead project. If you want an appliance then FreeNAS or NAS4Free will both do iSCSI. Otherwise any recent Linux distribution should support it but it will need more manual configuration.

Edited by GotNoTime
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Unless you're going to have multiple VM hosts or you just want to learn then I'd advise against using iSCSI. You'll be severely bottlenecked by the gigabit ethernet connection and lack of iSCSI offload support in the NIC. Just adding the drives directly to your G8 Microserver will give you significantly better performance.

 

Last I heard, Openfiler was a dead project. If you want an appliance then FreeNAS or NAS4Free will both do iSCSI. Otherwise any recent Linux distribution should support it but it will need more manual configuration.

thanks for the response - It is mainly for learning as I haven't used VMware too much after being certified, so I would like to brush up on my skills a little, and I think the iSCSI option would help a little.  You make a good point though with adding the drives locally too.

 

I may be able to try both options :)

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Question - if I add an extra HD to my Gen8 with the plan being to present it as a separate datastore within ESXi, do I add it as RAID 0? My current drive is in as a Raid 0 striped.

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I have my Gen8 running ESXi 5 off a 4GB SD card. I have a 480GB SSD in the DVD area (for the VM OS vmdks) - set as a RAID0. I have 2 2TB disks as RAID1 (mirrored - for vmdks with useful data) and one 4TB as RAID0 (ISOs and miscellany) - 3 Datastores in total!

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I have my Gen8 running ESXi 5 off a 4GB SD card. I have a 480GB SSD in the DVD area (for the VM OS vmdks) - set as a RAID0. I have 2 2TB disks as RAID1 (mirrored - for vmdks with useful data) and one 4TB as RAID0 (ISOs and miscellany) - 3 Datastores in total!

 

thanks - is it just a case of powering off, slotting drive in, then creating a new array from bootup? I am only seeing an option for Raid 0.  If i do this, will it affect the current SSD which is Raid 0?

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Yes, you boot into the array manager and can only choose RAID 0 if you add one disk (AFAIR). Not totally sure about the striping as a single disk can't be a 'RAID' - I used the defaults. If you are not using the RAID, can you not flip to AHCI in the bios - this might work.

 

I used to have the old Microserver and looked forwards to the iLO and a hardware RAID compatible with VMware. Previously, I used software raid at the VM OS level. It was OK until power cuts occurred and it took days to rebuild them.

 

What is interesting is that other than power cuts, my old Microserver VMware system never failed. So far, on this new kit, I have had 2 'stalls' whereby IP connectivity stopped, console unresponsive and rising temperature! Only an iLO turn off works. Not good. Trying to work out why .... Only upside is that the RAID 1 didn't need rebuilding (or so it says!!!).

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Yes, you boot into the array manager and can only choose RAID 0 if you add one disk (AFAIR). Not totally sure about the striping as a single disk can't be a 'RAID' - I used the defaults. If you are not using the RAID, can you not flip to AHCI in the bios - this might work.

 

I used to have the old Microserver and looked forwards to the iLO and a hardware RAID compatible with VMware. Previously, I used software raid at the VM OS level. It was OK until power cuts occurred and it took days to rebuild them.

 

What is interesting is that other than power cuts, my old Microserver VMware system never failed. So far, on this new kit, I have had 2 'stalls' whereby IP connectivity stopped, console unresponsive and rising temperature! Only an iLO turn off works. Not good. Trying to work out why .... Only upside is that the RAID 1 didn't need rebuilding (or so it says!!!).

 

That worked a treat Mike - thank you very much,

 

Have a few other quesitons  - I was reading that there may be performance issues with R/W speeds with datastores in ESXi using the Gen8.  Is this still the case? Is the firmware downgrade of the raid controller still required?

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Hi, I am not using fast disks (other than SSD). IIRC they are, in general, WD Greens. I have migrated (using a 60 day licenced VC Server) a small VM across my datastores and over to another Gen8 and get these average (speed basically flat over the transfer) write figures:

 

4TB (RAID0) to RAID1 - 58KB/s

RAID1 to SSD (RAID0) - 123KB/s

SSD (RAID0) to 4TB (RAID0) - 68KB/s

 

Gen8 to Gen8 23KB/s

 

B=bytes not bits.

 

Are the speeds good?

 

BTW, anyone got the IPMI settings to work the iLO - it fails for me.

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Hi, I am not using fast disks (other than SSD). IIRC they are, in general, WD Greens. I have migrated (using a 60 day licenced VC Server) a small VM across my datastores and over to another Gen8 and get these average (speed basically flat over the transfer) write figures:

 

4TB (RAID0) to RAID1 - 58KB/s

RAID1 to SSD (RAID0) - 123KB/s

SSD (RAID0) to 4TB (RAID0) - 68KB/s

 

Gen8 to Gen8 23KB/s

 

B=bytes not bits.

 

Are the speeds good?

 

BTW, anyone got the IPMI settings to work the iLO - it fails for me.

 

where are you getting the transfer speed information from while transferring?

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