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We have 2 Hyper-V hosts at present running 1 virtual server that was converted from a physical box running all roles.

My plan is to split the roles over various virtual machines, upgrading to the latest software versions as I go, and use the backup server as a standby in case the main server fails. AppAssure backup software has a feature called Virtual Standby, so the VHD's can be ready to be fired up on the backup server if necessary.

Off-site backups will be done via external USB drive for now.

I'm just seeking some input/suggestions into how I'm planning to split the roles out amongst various virtual servers.

Also, I'm curious how to setup the storage on the servers. We do not have any NAS's, SAN'S or any budget for this. What would the best RAID level be to use?

I'm thinking either RAID6 (which is currently used) however I'm concerned about the write speeds, or RAID10 but again I'm worried that I can only lose 1 drive (from the same mirror) as opposed to any 2 with RAID6.

I realise I have a hot swap for this, but what if a further drive fails during a rebuild? Is the write penalty of RAID6 worth the extra reliability over RAID10? Or will it be too slow with all the roles I am planning, therefore RAID10 is my only real option?

The reason for the needed redundancy is I am the only technician and I'm not always on-site.

Options I've considered:

1) 5 drives in RAID6 set, 200gb for host OS, rest for VM storage. 1 drive for hot swap - this is how it is currently setup

2) 4 drives in RAID10 set, 200gb for host OS, rest for VM storage. 2 drives for hot swap

3) 4 drives in RAID10 set for VM storage, 2 drives in RAID1 set for host OS. No drives for hot swap - While this is probably the best option with the amount of drives I have, I don't like the idea of having no hot swap

4) 3 drives in RAID6 set for VM storage, 2 drives in RAID1 set for host OS. 1 drive for hot swap

All options give us enough storage capacity for our files, etc.

We don't have any budget for extra drives or extra hot swap HD chassis for the servers.

We have about 70 clients and about 150 users.

MAIN SERVER

  • Intel Xeon 5520 @ 2.27 GHz (2 processors)
  • 16GB RAM 6 x 1TB Seagate
  • Barracuda ES.2 Enterprise SATA drives
  • Intel SRCSATAWB RAID controller

Virtual machine workload using Hyper-V on Windows Server 2008 R2:

  • DC01 - Active Directory Domain Controller / DNS server / Global catalog - 1GB RAM
  • DC02 - Active Directory Domain Controller / DNS server / Global catalog - 1GB RAM
  • Member Server - DHCP server, File server, Print server - 1GB RAM
  • SCCM Member Server - 4GB RAM
  • Third Party Software Member Server - A/V server, Ticketing software, etc - 4GB RAM
  • Exchange 2007 - 4GB RAM - however we are probably migrating to a hosted solution, therefore freeing up resources

BACKUP SERVER

  • Intel Xeon E5410 @ 2.33GHz (2 processors)
  • 16GB RAM
  • 6 x 2TB WD RE4 SATA drives
  • Intel SRCSASRB RAID controller

Virtual machine workload using Hyper-V on Windows Server 2008 R2:

AppAssure backup software - 8GB RAM

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2 Answers 2

One big R10, no hot-swap but have at least one spare disk to hand - simple as that.

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+1 RAID 10 for sure –  Dave M Apr 11 '12 at 17:19
    
Yes, raid 10. You want the mirroring and speed. –  Tatas Apr 11 '12 at 17:29
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You currently don't have enough drives to make Raid 6 worthwhile. If you plan on expanding the number of drives you will get a benfit. Right now you are using 5 drives (roughly spending 50% of the capacity for resilence - same as raid 10) -but with more of a performance penalty than raid 10 (depending on controller). If you double the number of disks the space wasted goes down to about 25%. I prefer the hot swap as well since I wouldn't want to have to drive to a datacenter praying I get there before disk 2 dies with raid 10, so I'd set it up as raid 10 with hot swap reserving about 60GB for the parent.

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