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I've a server using INTEL S5520SC motherboard. I was wondering if it's possible to connect 2 SSD 128GB INTEL EXTREME drives in RAID 1 directly to this motherboard or would I need some kind of external controller?

Also will this work good, reliable enough or should I just drop this idea?

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Do you currently have performance issues? –  Nate Oct 21 '10 at 20:14
    
A bit.. the server has 2 xeon's with 8 cores each and 24gb ram on 4 sas 15k drives. 4 virtual machines -> 1 with SQL+AD, 1 with AD, 1 with Exchange 2010 and 1 with Terminal Services that thin clients connect to. It's not heavily used (10 ppl in total working on it all the time). –  MadBoy Oct 21 '10 at 20:19
    
I thought about putting host on SSD drives and virtual machines on those 4 sas drives. –  MadBoy Oct 21 '10 at 20:20
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I run 15 VM's off the same RAID10 7200rpm-array without problems, except the long delay if I boot them all up at once. It all depends on your I/O pattern. –  pauska Oct 21 '10 at 21:12
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So, now we finally know a bit more. How many virtual CPU's does the Terminal Server have, and how many virtual CPU's does the other VM's have? –  pauska Oct 21 '10 at 21:18

3 Answers 3

up vote 1 down vote accepted

SSD's behave like normal S-ATA drives, so no special hardware required.

You should however be aware of the limitations of using SSD disks. They wear down faster than regular enterprise disks, and that they degrade in performance over time without TRIM support in the operating system.

Windows Server 2008 R2 supports TRIM, but it doesn't work on logical devices (raid arrays).

I recommend you to rather look at expanding your spindle count (more disks), and if you are on RAID5 - move to RAID10 for VM storage.

You also mention that one of the servers is both a AD controller and a SQL database server at the same time. This is a highly unsupported configuration - the only case where it's supported is on a Windows Small Business server.

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bit-tech.net/news/hardware/2010/03/23/… it seems TRIM is supported by intel for some drives/mobo's –  MadBoy Oct 21 '10 at 20:37
    
OK. Your mainboard isn't listed there. –  pauska Oct 21 '10 at 20:39
    
I think it's RAID10 already for the 4 disks. They are connected to external 4 port Adaptec controler. Which is why i wanted to use internal mobo controler since i can't connect more disks to the raid 10. The customer already has 2 ssd drives unnused. WE can of course buy new ones just wondering if it's not better to put system on those SSD drives we already have. –  MadBoy Oct 21 '10 at 20:41

As stated, SSDs should operate the same as SATA drives; however, that said I suspect that 4 15k rpm SAS drives in RAID 10 is enough to operate 5 VMs. SQL Server and Exchange aside, I run 20+VMs on 6-disk RAID 10s and performance is fine. It greatly depends what type of workload you have. I'd run perf-mon and verify that the disk subsystem is truely your bottle neck.

Since you're talking MS, (I assume hyper-v) check this question I asked a few months ago: http://serverfault.com/questions/170388/what-is-the-best-way-to-monitor-disk-io-for-a-hyper-v-host-machine

(this was a comment that turned into a full answer)

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Check the specifications of the on-board raid controller, that might be a bottleneck. keep in mind that if this is the host operating system disk it would be a software raid1 mirror unless you were going to reinstall the os.

if this is a secondary volume you might want to opt in for striping it raid 0, I haven't heard of disks failing on raid1 yet although I cannot confirm this statement and that would yield the greatest performance aside from purchasing extra disks, raid10, etc...

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I will be reinstalling os anyway. –  MadBoy Oct 21 '10 at 20:38

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