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  • RAID for Dell host ESXi 5.0

    We're getting ready to switch from Virtual Iron (killed by Oracle) to vmware. VI runs diskless so we have a pile of pulled RAID cards from our current hosts which are all PowerEdge 1950s. I have in front of me SAS 5/i, SAS 6/i, and PERC 5i cards. The SAS cards are basic RAID 0/1 cards w/ no batt or cache. The PERC 5 is a full on RAID card w/ batt and cache. Considering we have to re-buy the batteries we'd rather not have to use the PERC 5 cards.

    I just want to know from the host point of view will I see performance issues using the SAS cards? Consider there will be no local storage (all iSCSI), so disk usage will be boot up, log collection, hypervisor use only.

    Thanks in advance!

  • #2
    Re: RAID for Dell host ESXi 5.0

    You can also do PXE boot with VMware if you like. It will be also diskless, but might be costly.
    Or boor from USB if you like?

    Anyhow, I prefer to use RAID cards or SAS cards with a battery. However, considering there is no use for the local storage I don't see why you will get any performance issues if it's used for the Hypervisor only.
    Marcel
    Technical Consultant
    Netherlands
    http://www.phetios.com
    http://blog.nessus.nl

    MCITP(EA, SA), MCSA/E 2003:Security, CCNA, SNAF, DCUCI, CCSA/E/E+ (R60), VCP4/5, NCDA, NCIE - SAN, NCIE - BR, EMCPE
    "No matter how secure, there is always the human factor."

    "Enjoy life today, tomorrow may never come."
    "If you're going through hell, keep going. ~Winston Churchill"

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    • #3
      Re: RAID for Dell host ESXi 5.0

      Thanks for the quick response! I figure if many people use USB/SD as storage then my 'slow' SAS cards can't be worse right. I'd prefer the PERC cards but we'd be looking to buy about 6 more cards for our needs then 11 batteries and it's a hassle we can avoid. The servers are all dual power in a facility with dual circuits/ups/generator blah blah, so chances of power loss are low. Just screwed myself saying that

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      • #4
        Re: RAID for Dell host ESXi 5.0

        I would go down the USB/SD Card route.

        http://kb.vmware.com/selfservice/mic...rnalId=2004784

        Its the same as doing an install on disk but it should be quicker.

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        • #5
          Re: RAID for Dell host ESXi 5.0

          I was originally going to go this way, there's a nice internal USB port in the PE1950 that would be perfect. Then I keep reading '...but not in production'. We are doing 2 units with dual SD for dev environment but I was just too leery of doing USB for prod.

          Speed wise we'll end up with 2x 76g SAS 15k. Seems smaller or slower 10k disks don't equate into savings right now. Regardless of the slow RAID card I don't think USB can beat the speed of those disks?

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          • #6
            Re: RAID for Dell host ESXi 5.0

            Originally posted by ChaseMe View Post
            I was originally going to go this way, there's a nice internal USB port in the PE1950 that would be perfect. Then I keep reading '...but not in production'. We are doing 2 units with dual SD for dev environment but I was just too leery of doing USB for prod.

            Speed wise we'll end up with 2x 76g SAS 15k. Seems smaller or slower 10k disks don't equate into savings right now. Regardless of the slow RAID card I don't think USB can beat the speed of those disks?
            Up to you but i wouldn't hesitate to use a USB/SD card in production.

            We will be on one site if i can get the go ahead to install it.

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            • #7
              Re: RAID for Dell host ESXi 5.0

              Originally posted by ChaseMe View Post
              I was originally going to go this way, there's a nice internal USB port in the PE1950 that would be perfect. Then I keep reading '...but not in production'. We are doing 2 units with dual SD for dev environment but I was just too leery of doing USB for prod.

              Speed wise we'll end up with 2x 76g SAS 15k. Seems smaller or slower 10k disks don't equate into savings right now. Regardless of the slow RAID card I don't think USB can beat the speed of those disks?
              I see three options:
              1- rusty disk w/ or w/o RAID
              2- USB/SD
              3- PXE

              My favorites are USB/SD and PXE.

              Forget about the rusty disk. It is expensive, requires much power to operate and its 'high performance' just under-utilized anyway.

              USB/SD is the easiest, less management overhead, cheap to buy and operate. Though it may require onsite manual intervention when upgrading for instance (dual USB/SD cards for upgrade failback plans for instance).

              PXE requires a bit more of configuration and management but overall cheap as well vs. rusty disk. Upgrades can be done remotely and still you have a failback plan. Pay attention of the egg and chicken issue if you run the PXE server within the virtual environment doh!

              FYI: ESXi loads in memory and works from there. ESXi was designed to be diskless.
              Though in both cases, that is USB/SD and PXE, you should configure a persistent logging to a datastore and remote logging as well (Syslog Collector) for further monitoring. Indeed the logs on ESXi are stored only in the in-memory file system and are lost upon reboot, and only one day’s worth of logs are stored.

              Freelance, Business Owner, Virtualisation & Cloud Computing Fan Boy, VCP4/5/Cloud, VCAP4/5-DCA/DCD, vEXPERT '10-'14, EMCCA-Specialist, VMware Alumni.

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              • #8
                Re: RAID for Dell host ESXi 5.0

                You guys are doing a good job of swaying me to USB! Going to test it out this week and see how it goes with this older PE1950 hardware. Thanks!

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