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Newbie HyperV question about adding storage


Don W
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I just loaded Windows 10 and enabled HyperV and have a question about storage. I wanted to put WHS 2011 on a VM so I created a VHDX for the OS and put in the default location, but when it came to adding the storage drives I see if have the option to put the drive in offline mode and then let HyperV use the whole disk instead of telling HyperV to create a VHDX of certain size on the drive. ( I hope that makes sense ) I was wondering what the Pro's and Con's of doing it that way???

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So your VM's are on the same drive as the OS?  Do you have more drives installed and presented to the OS?

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I have 4 HDD's in my PC. The first is a 256GB SSD that has my OS installed on it and has my WHS2011 OS stored in the default folder. Then I have 3 empty 3TB drives for storage. So my original question is should I go to storage management and put the 3 storage drives in offline mode and let HyperV have direct access to them or create a VHDX on each drive. I hope that explained it.

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You  can put those three drives in offline mode and the virtual machines ONLY will be able to access them.  Personally I'd RAID them and pass through only a certain amount to each VM.  You could create up to four LUNS (volumes) and distribute as needed.

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I was aware of all those options, I was just wondering if any one was better than the other? Or is the pass through a bad idea??? Right now I am using the Pass Through option and I wanted to make sure I was not screwing up any thing in the future. If for some reason I reload WHS in the future can I just re use the pass thru and all the data will still be there or will it wipe it and I have to start over again.//

 

Thanks for your help

 

Don

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The data would still be there, although you would have to point the Server Folders to that location.  I say this with a caveat, that is, how that data is being stored.  Storage Spaces, one of the DE products, or RAID with a dedicated card.

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My opinion would be to go for the pass through. I would like the safety to have important data in a pure form without any raid or VHDX. In a worst case you could take the drives out and read it in another PC on another controller. This would count most to me.

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The only way to have a new data drive on a Hyper-V machine is in .vdhx format (fixed or expanding) by creating create blank/empty drives and then you have to initialize them on the new VM.  The "original data/file format" is seen and controlled by the host.  Pass through drives are are taken off line from the host and passed through ready to go.

 

I think were all saying the same thing.  I fail to understand the reluctance to RAID all of a sudden.

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In answer to the original question, traditionally there was a performance advantage in having disks in pass-through mode presented to the VM and putting your user data on those. There were, however a couple of disadvantages to doing this, firstly the entire disk drive had to be presented to one; and only one; VM, secondly taking snapshots didn't work and some Hyper-V backup software couldn't cope with the pass-through disk making backup somewhat problematic.

 

With Server 2012R2 and the Hyper-V server version, MS introduced a new format of VHDx files (I guess the x stands for eXtended). They claim that using this format and Gen 2 virtual machines, all but eliminates the performance hit while retaining the advantages of having everything as virtual disk images. Best practice would now be to have your data living on VHDx files, and, although it takes longer to set up, you might want to configure these in fixed size mode to avoid any future issues with data becoming fragmented.

 

As far as recovering data is concerned, if you need to rebuild the host OS, then the data drives will be intact either way. With a pass-through disk, you can simply attach to another machine and read them directly, if the data is in VHDx format then Windows 10, Windows 8.1 (not sure about 7 and 8) can mount and hence read from VHDx files so you can always get to your data that way as well if needed.

 

If it were me though, I'd do exactly as jmwills suggests and RAID the three 3TB disks together and either pass that entire array through to the VM or stick however many you want VHDx files on it and present them to the VM for data storage.

 

John

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