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Thread: HDD Configurations for Virtual Machines

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    HDD Configurations for Virtual Machines

    Hello everyone,

    I’ve been pricing out different specs for a replacement for a while now. I’ve increasingly been using Virtual Machines for mostly work related purposes (Sharepoint development, network testing, but also for running older versions of some reasonably intensive Adobe software that I only use occasionally and don’t want cluttering up my main registry). So, my question is, would running say two or three VMs concurrently benefit substantially from higher disk throughput such as that afforded by a RAID0 array, or is disk performance not a limiting factor for VMs?

    The options are:

    4x 500GB Samsung SpinPoint F3 in RAID0 (R: 302MB/s, W: 273MB/s) [http://www.tomshardware.co.uk/charts...hmarks,9.html]

    2x 1TB Samsung SpintPoint F3 in RAID0 (R: 153MB/s, W: 155MB/s) [http://www.tomshardware.co.uk/charts...hmarks,9.html]

    1x 2TB Hitachi Saturn 7K2000 (R: 99MB/s, W: 100MB/s) [http://www.tomshardware.co.uk/charts...marks,50.html]

    As noise is also a big consideration, I am leaning way from the 4x 500GB towards either the 2x 1TB or the single 2TB. I am aware of the possible damagers of RAID0, but have a nightly backup to externals. Primary OS will be run from a Sandforce controlled SSD. As there is only a £25 difference between the cheapest and most expensive, cost is not a major consideration.

    Any thoughts? Thanks in advance!

  2. #2
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    Re: HDD Configurations for Virtual Machines

    What is doing the raid? onboard, dedicated etc. Another major factor with VM's is RAM..
    I would be going with 4x500GB

    Edit: how many guests do you run concurrently and what do you use? software wise

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    Re: HDD Configurations for Virtual Machines

    Thanks for your reply dirky, the RAID would be on-board (Asus P6X58D-E), and I currently use Windows Virtual PC - so nothing special, although if I get a lot more work requiring VMs I may get something from VMWare.

    Concurrent VMs usually constitute 1x Windows Server 2003 Standard (1536MB) and 4x Windows XP (384MB each), although sometimes I will just have the one XP so it can have a full 1024MB. However, on the new build this would probably be upped to 2048MB for the 2003 and 512MB for the XPs.
    Last edited by Skulltrail; 27-05-2010 at 09:21 PM. Reason: Additional thoughts...

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    Re: HDD Configurations for Virtual Machines

    So a decent amount
    You definitely want, more disks. If you plan to use this as a solution you might want to consider a small end server running ESXi..

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    Re: HDD Configurations for Virtual Machines

    spindles spindles and more spindles

    or.... if you dont need to the storage , but do need the I/O performance an SSD.
    my Virtualisation Blog http://jfvi.co.uk Virtualisation Podcast http://vsoup.net

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    Re: HDD Configurations for Virtual Machines

    Quote Originally Posted by Moby-Dick View Post
    if you dont need to the storage , but do need the I/O performance an SSD.
    SSD would be nice; in an ideal world: http://www.scan.co.uk/Products/2TB-O...-s-512MB-Cache

    Realistically, however, 4x F3s it is.

    Thanks for the advice!

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    Re: HDD Configurations for Virtual Machines

    Quote Originally Posted by dirky View Post
    If you plan to use this as a solution you might want to consider a small end server running ESXi..
    I may well do that if I get more work requiring virtualisation, but don't really want to invest in that for the sake of a one-off job.

    Thanks for the advice!
    Last edited by Skulltrail; 27-05-2010 at 10:15 PM. Reason: Spelling

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    Re: HDD Configurations for Virtual Machines

    Quote Originally Posted by Skulltrail View Post
    Hello everyone,

    I’ve been pricing out different specs for a replacement for a while now. I’ve increasingly been using Virtual Machines for mostly work related purposes (Sharepoint development, network testing, but also for running older versions of some reasonably intensive Adobe software that I only use occasionally and don’t want cluttering up my main registry). So, my question is, would running say two or three VMs concurrently benefit substantially from higher disk throughput such as that afforded by a RAID0 array, or is disk performance not a limiting factor for VMs?

    The options are:

    4x 500GB Samsung SpinPoint F3 in RAID0 (R: 302MB/s, W: 273MB/s) [http://www.tomshardware.co.uk/charts...hmarks,9.html]

    2x 1TB Samsung SpintPoint F3 in RAID0 (R: 153MB/s, W: 155MB/s) [http://www.tomshardware.co.uk/charts...hmarks,9.html]

    1x 2TB Hitachi Saturn 7K2000 (R: 99MB/s, W: 100MB/s) [http://www.tomshardware.co.uk/charts...marks,50.html]

    As noise is also a big consideration, I am leaning way from the 4x 500GB towards either the 2x 1TB or the single 2TB. I am aware of the possible damagers of RAID0, but have a nightly backup to externals. Primary OS will be run from a Sandforce controlled SSD. As there is only a £25 difference between the cheapest and most expensive, cost is not a major consideration.

    Any thoughts? Thanks in advance!

    1. Never put 4 drives in RAID 0. There is no redundancy.
    2. Never put drives that large (1TB+) in RAID 0. There is no redundancy.

    I'd go with 4X 500GB Samsung Spinpoint F3 in RAID5.

    Samsung drives are completely silent and cool. So noise and heat will not be a concern at all.

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