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How should I set up my RAID array's for my VM training lab server

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July 22, 2012 9:04:38 PM

I have:
- 2x 160gb sata drives, looking to RAID (Intel controller on-board)
- 2x 320gb sata drives, looking to RAID (Intel controller on-board)
- 2x 500gb sata drives, looking to RAID (Intel controller on-board)
- 1x 250gb sata drive (for OS) on the 6-port SATA PCI card, no RAID

My ASUS Maximus Formula board has 6 xSATA 3 Gb/s ports that supports RAID 0,1,5,10. Plus I've installed a 6-port SATA II PCI host card w/RAID 4x internal connectors SATA and 2x external eSATA connectors that supports RAID 0, 1, 5, 0+1, JBOD.

(I will be getting 2 1TB drives in the future to add but this is what I have to work with for now.)

I am building a training/practice lab on this server running Windows 2008 R2 with Hyper-V to provide a real-world, hands-on platform so I can follow along and apply the knowledge and skills learned in the modules for Window 7 Client - 6292A and Planning and Managing Windows 7 Desktop Deployments and Environments modules for 6294A courses.

This lab has about 300 Gb of VMs space which I have built on another machine using VirturalBox. This server will be using Hyper-V for this lab and Windows 2008 R2 which will be installed on the 250 Gb SATA drive.

Can any one give me some ideas on how I could set this up. I would like to RAID the VM drive for performance and have some form of redundancy with the others.

I figured a RAID 10 being I have little space for redundancy for VM drive.

Or,

RAID 0 = 2x 320 Gb = VMs
RAID 1 = 2x 500 Gb = Backup VMs & OS for redundancy
RAID 1 = 2x 160 Gb = Backup VMs & OS for redundancy

Please advise...

wrwells2,
a c 311 G Storage
July 23, 2012 12:55:33 PM

Well, if you mix capacities in a RAID you only get the capacity of the smallest drive. Since RAID 10 requires at least 4 drives, you would have to sacrifice 180 GB off of each of the 500 GB drives, building a 360 GB RAID 10.

While I tend to avoid RAID unless I am playing around for the experience, I think that you have a decent idea there. The 2x 320 in RAID0 will be a little bit faster than a single drive, but much more vulnerable to failure. By my reading, if they do fail, you have backups in RAID 1, which gives you more reliability. I'm not sure about the two RAID1 backups. If you need the space for more copies, fine. If one is intended to be a backup in case the other fails, I have a classic note of caution. RAID is not a backup. Backups should be on removable media. Otherwise, you are vulnerable to power surges, malware, or three-year-olds banging the computer on the wall. All your copies could be lost simultaneously.

Have I gotten close to what you wanted to know, or am I off track?
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July 24, 2012 11:35:57 PM

WyomingKnott said:
Well, if you mix capacities in a RAID you only get the capacity of the smallest drive. Since RAID 10 requires at least 4 drives, you would have to sacrifice 180 GB off of each of the 500 GB drives, building a 360 GB RAID 10.

While I tend to avoid RAID unless I am playing around for the experience, I think that you have a decent idea there. The 2x 320 in RAID0 will be a little bit faster than a single drive, but much more vulnerable to failure. By my reading, if they do fail, you have backups in RAID 1, which gives you more reliability. I'm not sure about the two RAID1 backups. If you need the space for more copies, fine. If one is intended to be a backup in case the other fails, I have a classic note of caution. RAID is not a backup. Backups should be on removable media. Otherwise, you are vulnerable to power surges, malware, or three-year-olds banging the computer on the wall. All your copies could be lost simultaneously.

Have I gotten close to what you wanted to know, or am I off track?



Yes, you have and thank you very much. I kinda figured the RAID 10 would not work. Also, I am not using the RAID1 as a permanent back up. Just kinda of a storage/back up of the VMs while I'm working between labs as changes are made to the VMs. I wouldn't want to rebuild in case the RAID0 fails.

Now, If you have any ideas for how I should build this machine please advise. I will be working mostly just with the VMs on the 320 GB RAID0 drive. The other drive or not needed really except for storage of the worked VMs. So if you have any suggestions feel free.

Thanks again,
wrwells
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a c 311 G Storage
July 25, 2012 12:57:33 PM

Haven't worked with VMs, so you will need someone else to weigh in there. Good luck.
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July 25, 2012 9:32:50 PM

Okay, thanks!
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!