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I have a Hyper-V host with 4 physical HDDs, 300 GB each, and this machine will host a couple of VMs, each probably with a size of approximately 150GB.

The VMs are not mission critical but I still need some kind of protection against HDD failure and would rather avoid RAID (please accept that I would rather find a software solution, for various reasons). First I was thinking of a setup like:

HDD 1:
  VM A
  full image backup of VM B
HDD 2:
  VM B
  full image backup of VM A
etc.

So if disk 1 fails, I can recover both machines from disk 2, and vice versa.

However, that feels very "manual" and I also need to have VMs of the proper size - e.g., if VMs grew to 200GB, this strategy would break down.

If the box was Windows 8 Server with the new "Storage Spaces" feature, I would almost certainly go for that (at least it sounds ideal for my scenario).

But in this pre-Windows 8 time, what do people use on Windows Server 2008 R2? Is there some built-in service that provides something like Storage Spaces today? Can 3rd party utilities like Drive Bender provide this functionality? Are they proven and reliable?

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2  
I don't want to be rude here, but have you come across the term "RAID" before? You seem to be describing a manual and inefficient way of setting up a RAID 1 array, so I'm not sure where you're coming from here. Have you seen this answer? serverfault.com/questions/339128/… –  RobM Jan 17 '12 at 0:18
    
The "server" is built on an older and pretty standard consumer-level motherboard (things running on this server will not be mission-critical) and though there is some kind of RAID support there I'd rather depend on a software solution. Firstly, for the sake of user friendliness, secondly, because I'm not sure if my motherboard would allow me to set up a storage pool of more than 2 disks. I'm generally looking for a software solution, will update the question, thanks for pointing out that it was not clear. –  Borek Jan 17 '12 at 0:26
    
If you have money, buy a hardware RAID card and install the monitoring tools that come with it. –  Andrew Jan 17 '12 at 2:41

1 Answer 1

up vote 3 down vote accepted

What happens when your disk controller fails? It's not really a backup if it's on the same physical host that you're backing up.

Your best bet for availability is to use RAID on the internal disks and back up your data to an external medium like a removable disk or tape.

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Certainly there will be some backup solution besides HDD failure resilience. RAID may be a good solution if my motherboard supports it but it is a pretty low-cost server (actually an older PC) and I'd rather find a software solution, if there is any. –  Borek Jan 17 '12 at 0:31
    
@Borek Windows includes software RAID –  MDMarra Jan 17 '12 at 0:33
    
I really like what's being prepared for Windows 8, both in terms of user friendliness and features (multi-TB pools even on much smaller drives, several protection mechanisms etc.) If something like that existed for WS2k8 I'd gladly use it. –  Borek Jan 17 '12 at 1:03
1  
@Borek - from your comments, you seem obsessed with trying to do something clever with your storage. "Clever" often means having to explain to the boss why you can't recover something important, which is why professional sysadmins shouldn't do it on a server. To answer your actual questions literally: But in this pre-Windows 8 time, what do people use on Windows Server 2008 R2? RAID. Is there some built-in service that provides something like Storage Spaces today? - Software RAID is as good as it gets, for now. See a pattern building? –  RobM Jan 17 '12 at 8:39
    
OK I'll consider hardware RAID. –  Borek Jan 17 '12 at 10:00

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