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My company bought a Dell PowerEdge t710 server with:

48 GB ram 4x4 
GB ethernet ports.
RAID 5 for PERC H700
4 x 1TB, SATA, 3.5-in, 7.2K RPM Hard Drive (Hot Plug)

My job is to configure Hyper-V system infrastructure on this server. The requirements are:

  1. Domain controller
  2. File server
  3. Microsoft Exchange server
  4. Intranet server - SharePoint
  5. Development server (with SVN and SQL server 2008)

I will install Hyper-v Server 2008 R2 on bare metal.

My question is:

  1. What kind of raid configuration should I have, in order to ensure the file server (virtual Windows Server2008) is at max performance?
  2. Also how would you suggest I do in order to make the partitions have 1TB for the file server?
  3. My other question is where do I store the VHD files for better performance and backup?
  4. My last question is how would you guys do it?
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I don't understand.. you say that the server is purchased, but you're listing different disk options. Do you have to chose wich disks to use? –  pauska Oct 13 '11 at 7:27
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"3-8x 3.5" or 3-16x 2.5" HDDs Hard Drive 4 x 1TB" –  pauska Oct 13 '11 at 7:46
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My gut says your performance is going to suck... big time. Exchange and SQL Server will hammer your disks and I think your other VMs are going to suffer as a result. –  Ben Pilbrow Oct 13 '11 at 7:53
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The way you're asking this question I can only suggest you hire someone who knows what he's doing to set this up for you. This kind of setup is not for the inexperienced and getting it wrong means a lot of time and money down the drain. –  John Gardeniers Oct 13 '11 at 11:36

1 Answer 1

up vote 4 down vote accepted

With 4x1TB S-ATA disks you only have one real option considering the amount of services you're going to run, and that is to use one RAID10 set wich gives you 2TB free (raw) disk space without any hot-spare (wich could be quite dangerous). If you're nervous then you'll need to run RAID5 with 3 disks and 1 hot-spare, wich also gives you 2TB of storage - but at a hefty performance penalty.

That being said.. we don't have any idea how many users these virtual servers are going to support, or how they behave. It's impossible to give a precise answer.

  • SQL Server: Depends highly on the type of transactions. If you're a heavy user of temp tables and/or high number of log transactions then I can guarantee that this server will swim upstream in I/O and eventually drown..
  • Sharepoint: Highly dependant on the amount of users and how the users use it. It's basically a web-based fileshare, and doesnt require much if all your users do is to download/upload documents from time to time.
  • Exchange: Exchange 2010 behaves well with low-end disks such as large S-ATA drives because of the newly designed storage engine wich favours asymmetrical writes. We run 800 mailboxes here on 5x2TB RAID5 without problems (abeit with a hefty controller in front with lots of cache)
  • SVN/fileshare: Impossible to answer without knowing the amount of users and how they use it. SVN can kill your S-ATA disks if there are constant check-in's or check-out's of thousands of small files.. but that isn't exactly normal
  • Domain controller: Low amount of disk I/O, can run on just about anything
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Thanks for your answer @pauska I will explain the other server roles. The SVN will host 3-10 users. The SharePoint with host maximum 20 users. Also the SQL will host midrange databases. The SVN/SQL are for a team of 3 developers and I dont see it as a problem. Pauska hope that this information is hopeful if you decide to add anything to your answer. Again thanks for you support –  user97195 Oct 13 '11 at 8:56
    
The server is going to be choking on those SATA disks most of the time. It really needs a handful of SAS spindles to keep that sort of workload running well. Though you'll survive with what you've got... –  Chris S Oct 13 '11 at 13:00

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