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What is the best file system for storing VM images?

I am looking for features that can save some disk space like compression, deduplication, etc. ZFS is known...but any other alternatives in Linux world?

How good is the new EXT4 filesystem for workloads like VM?

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closed as not constructive by coredump, Ben Pilbrow, RobM, Chopper3 Apr 15 '11 at 11:23

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apologize for not realizing my open-ended question. My primary intent was to see if there are any ZFS alternatives in Linux/Unix world that offer facilities like dedupe/compression.. –  John-ZFS Apr 15 '11 at 12:27

2 Answers 2

Let's clear this up, for ESX/ESXi vmdk's can ONLY be stored on VMFS and NFS file systems - presumably what you're talking about is the underlying filesystems of the storage behind this. If this is the case what you'd basically saying is 'what sort of storage should I use' - and that's an extremely open question that you haven't provided enough information to help you with - so it'll be impossible to answer properly without extra constraints.

As far as I'm aware the 'best' mechanism for VM storage in terms of performance right now is by using FusionIO's PCIe-based flash storage set to emulate local DAS. The 'best' in terms of cheapest varies enormously based on volume from cheapo DAS to building your own NFS/iSCSI NAS/SAN box up to good value but still expensive FCoE SANs.

Basically we can't answer your question.

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apologize for not realizing my open-ended question. My primary intent was to see if there are any ZFS alternatives in Linux/Unix world that offer facilities like dedupe/compression..thanks for your reply –  John-ZFS Apr 15 '11 at 12:25
    
PCIe-based flash to emulate local DAS? Can this be used for caching like ZFS ZIL, L2ARC? –  John-ZFS Apr 15 '11 at 13:42

"Best" is very subjective based on budget, requirements etc. I would recommend that unless you realy want a cheap test type environment you should go for a SAN based storage array e.g. iSCSI. If you have 2 ESX hosts this then gives you the option to do vMotion which allows you to upgrade one host at a time whilst keeping all the servers running - i.e. no down time.

If you use thin provisioning then disk case can be saved as it is used as and when it is needed rather than in advance.

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"iSCSI" is a way to share the disk space...not really a SAN. I was looking for a DIY solution... –  John-ZFS Apr 15 '11 at 11:00

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