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  • Question on approach to storage

    I have a problem in deciding the best approach to setting up my vmware servers. I have a dual processor dual core server with 8 GB RAM. The server also has 3 TB of RAID 5 storage. I propose to partition this into 4 separate virtual disks.

    I plan to set up 3 vm servers, each of which will require a terabyte of storage. My original thought was to install Suse 10 as the host which would manage the virtual disks that I would set up on the RAID. It would provide iscsi targets to the vm servers that I would run as guests on the Suse 10 host. That way I have native formatted disks for my data.

    An alternative is to use vm3i and then set up storage within the individual vm servers, or perhaps to use something like openfiler on one of them to provide storage for the others.

    Another alternative is just to set the server up as a SAN and to use another server to run the VMs. However I fell I would be wasting the horsepower available on the large server that I have.

    Is my goal to keep native formats on my storage important? or should I just use vmFS?

    What would the recommendation be to approach this issue?

    Any advice appreciated.

  • #2
    Re: Question on approach to storage

    1. iSCSI SAN is a bit limiting, when used to cluster ESX servers, evaluate the limitations, before you implement the solution. It is quite possible you will need to go for a proper SAN after all, if your system is complex enough
    2. as iSCSI target, I'd go for OpenFiler, or a proper iSCSI box (like Dell MD3000i). for extra stability, look into using Solaris or FreeBSD, they are much more stable than Linux.
    3. don't touch SuSE - it is a very heavy distribution, in my opinion, completely unusable due to the response speeds and unneeded over cluttering of the GUI. a perfect example of a good idea gone bad.
    4. VMware server, AFAIK, cannot be really clustered, you can, of course, set up a *nix cluster, with nodes running VMserver, but the whole purpose of the cluster is to have features like vmotion, which are available on ESX only. So in this case, no clustering is really needed, just setting up a NAS box with NFS shares will be enough, just map the shares to the servers and you have your shared storage.
    NFS and CIFS are more stable than iSCSI and have less overhead.

    IMO the best way to go is to set up several ESX boxes, clustered up with a proper fibre SAN, but that, of course, means lots of money.

    BTW both Sun and Citrix offer their own virtualization solutions, which can be clustered with what you have currently got. Might be worth investigating in that direction. There's KVM and freeXen out there as well.
    ________
    SILVERSURFER REVIEWS
    Last edited by DYasny; 6th March 2011, 18:43.
    Real stupidity always beats Artificial Intelligence (c) Terry Pratchett

    BA (BM), RHCE, MCSE, DCSE, Linux+, Network+

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    • #3
      Re: Question on approach to storage

      You will have to differentiate here, VMFS is only available with ESX, Vmware server can at the moment only support local storage (with version 2.0 NFS/CIFS shares should be supported) so it is either this or the other
      Last edited by Maish; 12th May 2008, 06:45. Reason: for to add something
      Maish
      ----------------------------------------------------------
      Technodrone|@maishsk|Author of VMware vSphere Design
      VMware vExpert 2013-2010,VCAP5-DCA/DCD,VCP
      MSCA 2000/2003, MCSE 2000/2003
      A proud husband and father of 3 girls
      ----------------------------------------------------------
      If you find the information useful please don't forget to give reputation points sigpic.

      Have a good one!!

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      • #4
        Re: Question on approach to storage

        Hi Dyasny,

        Thanks for your response. A few further questions:

        1 I don't plan to do any cluster, just have multiple VMs with separate storage. Would iSCSI still be a limitation? OpenFiler still recommended?
        3 If I were to use a distro, which would you recommend? I don't plan for any GUI as the host would only be running the iSCSI software.

        Thanks

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        • #5
          Re: Question on approach to storage

          I have found that ubuntu is a very easy and simple distro to use as the host system. Highly friendly to install, good online support community, and more than enough how-to's out there, so you can find your way around.
          Maish
          ----------------------------------------------------------
          Technodrone|@maishsk|Author of VMware vSphere Design
          VMware vExpert 2013-2010,VCAP5-DCA/DCD,VCP
          MSCA 2000/2003, MCSE 2000/2003
          A proud husband and father of 3 girls
          ----------------------------------------------------------
          If you find the information useful please don't forget to give reputation points sigpic.

          Have a good one!!

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Question on approach to storage

            no, iSCSI will be only limited by the network bandwidth

            a good idea would be to have at least 3 NICs in the server, so you can have redundant paths to the iSCSI storage using two NICs and the third one will be used for LAN comms
            I'd go for openfiler, since setting up your own target is fun and uber geeky, but tweaking the system for performance is an endless strain. openfiler is close to the out of the box perfection in that sense (wish FreeNAS had iSCSI target options on it)


            Ubuntu is not bad, even though I would use the more server-oriented distros for servers
            here's a link on how to tweak ubuntu into working better with VMware server http://users.piuha.net/martti/comp/u...en/server.html
            ________
            Colorado dispensaries
            Last edited by DYasny; 6th March 2011, 18:44.
            Real stupidity always beats Artificial Intelligence (c) Terry Pratchett

            BA (BM), RHCE, MCSE, DCSE, Linux+, Network+

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