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RAID Configuration For Best Hyper-V Performance + Reliability RRS feed

  • Question

  • I'm getting ready to put together an "ultimate" enterprise developement box/environment. The host OS will be WS2008 R2 and will run multiple Hyper-V guests, also WS 2008 R2. For instance, one VM will serve as the domain controller, another VM will be dedicated to SQL Server and other VM's will be devoted to server applications such as Sharepoint, CRM Dynamics, etc. At any one time, I might need to have 4 - 5 VM's running to simulate a given execution environment. Visual Studio and other dev tools will be installed on the guest OS and the guest OS's will function as the servers. Now, I'm a developer, not an infrastructure architect, so I need a little advice on how to best configure the hardware for all this.

    Obviously, I'll need considerable memory and processor resources to support this, but that's not hard to figure out: just buy the fastest Core-i7 and plenty of DDR3 memory, probably 24 MB worth. What I'm unsure of though is how to configure the disks to achieve good VM performance in addition to reliability. I'm considering RAID 10 with 4 2TB drives; based on my reading this provides a good balance of performance/reliability. But, I could get a comparable amount of usable storage (4TB) using RAID 5 more cheaply, but I'm not sure about the performance with multiple VM's. Keep in mind too that I'll be backing up/archiving huge VM files so write throughput is very important. Also, I don't intend to backup this machine anywhere; if I have a disk failure, I just want to pop out the bad drive and put in a new one.

    I would appreciate any input on all this and what the best way to configure the hardware for a single box that will support the development needs as described.

    Thanks.

    Friday, June 25, 2010 6:11 PM

Answers

All replies

  • Hello NTDeveloper,

    You will find a good guide with hd performance recommendations hers:
    http://social.technet.microsoft.com/Forums/en-US/winserverfiles/thread/1d5c2e14-519b-4bf6-946f-edf89c02c271#26efebbf-de9e-44c0-bd1f-42a94bda0227

    Best regards,
    Harry
    This posting is provided "AS IS" with no warranties, and confers no rights.
    Friday, June 25, 2010 6:30 PM
  • That link references a discussion about NTFS permissions, not HD performance....
    Friday, June 25, 2010 7:44 PM
  • Hello NTDeveloper,

    Sorry. Now I’ve added the real link to the mentioned article.

    http://download.microsoft.com/download/d/9/4/d948f981-926e-40fa-a026-5bfcf076d9b9/SQL2008inHyperV2008.docx

    This could also be interesting for you:

    Optimizing Performance on Hyper-V
    http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc768529(BTS.10).aspx

    Best regards,
    Harry

    This posting is provided "AS IS" with no warranties, and confers no rights.
    Friday, June 25, 2010 9:14 PM
  • Hello NTDeveloper,

    I was just reading your initial post again and saw that you don’t intend to backup the machine.
    I don’t know your intentions, but please be aware what could happen if the RAID controller failed.

    Best regards,
    Harry
    This posting is provided "AS IS" with no warranties, and confers no rights.
    Sunday, June 27, 2010 12:36 PM
  • I don't recommend RAID 5 for anything. It slows things down.

    Although a Core i7 processor is fast, the 5500 series should be avoided when Hyper-V is used. Read this: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/975530/en-us

    None of the provided links directly address one version of RAID vs. another. Over the last few years, there has been a growing consensus against RAID 5 as can be seen here:  http://www.cyberciti.biz/tips/raid5-vs-raid-10-safety-performance.html.

    But that isn't the entire story. See http://sqlblog.com/blogs/linchi_shea/archive/2007/02/07/is-raid-5-really-that-bad.aspx for a point of view suggesting RAID 5 may not be so bad. Be sure to read the responses. Notice that most people seem to be against RAID 5. Also notice that Linchi's post is referenced in this post http://weblogs.sqlteam.com/billg/archive/2007/06/18/RAID-10-vs.-RAID-5-Performance.aspx which also has a good discussion suggesting the standard "it depends" IT answer may apply.

    In closing, I think RAID 5 is an IT myth, as is having a pagefile 1.5 times the amount of ram. Sometimes things are done in IT simply because they are traditional practices. I don't recommend RAID 5, but I don't argue against it because I have better things to do with my time.

     

    Sunday, June 27, 2010 1:43 PM
    Moderator
  • @Harry,

    Well, I thought about that and assumed that if that happened it would just be a matter of replacing the controller; however, since I will be using the controller bundled with the motherboard, that might indeed be a problem.

    I have also considered implementing a Raid-0 4-disk array  together with regularly-scheduled VM backups to non-RAID drives. This wouldn't save the host itself in the event of failure, but the VM's would be OK.

    @John,

     Thanks for the i7 info; I wasn't aware of that issue. So, is there a particular processor choice you can suggest? BTW, I'm trying to keep the price of this box under 3K

    Sunday, June 27, 2010 9:13 PM
  • AFAIK, the other Nehalems are okay. If you read the KB article carefully, you'll see that even the 5500 series can be made to work. You edit the bios, the registry, or apply the hotfix. I have 5500s at work that are running just fine now.
    Monday, June 28, 2010 12:21 AM
    Moderator
  • Hello,

    I've had fine results with the 5500s, provided I've applied the patch.  You can also now get the new 6 core processors from Intel.  I'd highly consider getting as much RAM, with the best performance.  I usually find that RAM is something you generally need a lot of in development environments, especially for putting in-place test platforms. 

    Nathan Lasnoski


    http://blog.concurrency.com/author/nlasnoski/
    Monday, June 28, 2010 4:37 AM
  • Well, in case anyone is interested, here is the configuration that I decided to go with; it should be ready in about a week:

    Processor : Core i7 980x

    Memory : 24 GB OZC RAM

    Disks : 4 1 TB WD Caviar Black configured in a RAID 1-0 array + 2 TB WD Caviar Green for complete system backup

    Video: ATI 1 GB DirectX 11

    The entire system will be backed up nightly to the 2TB drive. With this configuration I should be able to survive a disk failure AND a raid controller failure. Obviously, if the whole machine blows up I'll be out of luck but for now this will have to do...

    Monday, July 5, 2010 6:05 PM