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I am new to server administration and virtualization, and I have a couple of questions that I hope to get some help for.

I have two server boxes that are of similar set up. The differences between the two are:

Server Box 1

  • 1x 500GB HDD + 1x 1TB HDD

Server Box 2

  • 1x 500GB HDD + 2x 1TB HDD
  • Hardware RAID (Mirroring)

I will be setting up two or more VM instances on each of these server boxes (virtualization by way of Xen).

Can I set the main storage of all VMs on each server box to use the 500GB disk, and then set the 1TB disk to be used as a shared drive by all VMs on that server box?

Other than sharing of resources, another intention is for all VMs in each box to back up to the other server box. E.g. VM1 and VM2 on box 1 will back up their data to box2 and VM3 and VM 4 on box 2 will back up their data to box 1.

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500MB? Come on. Were in 2012. My phone consumes more storage than that. –  t1nt1n Apr 30 '12 at 6:01
    
You'll have to explain that a bit better because right now I'm not sure which host or guest is intended to backup which other host or guest and which 1TB is going to be virtualized or kept in the host. –  Wesley Apr 30 '12 at 6:31
    
Added an example. Hope that helps explains what I want better. –  user118942 Apr 30 '12 at 6:59
    
@t1nt1n TomTom's phone can kick your phone's butt! –  Ward May 24 '12 at 7:33
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2 Answers 2

SHort answer is yes, but you'll need to use a cluster filesystem (e.g. GFS2) on the shared drive to avoid conflicts - IMHO it would make more sense to use the vm host to export the large drive as a network filesystem (NFS or SMB) and mount it on the VM clients.

another intention is for all VMs in each box to back up to the other server box. E.g. VM1 and VM2 on box 1 will back up their data to box2 and VM3 and VM 4 on box 2 will back up their data to box 1.

You've not said what operating systems are in the mix here. Rather than 'back-up' the VMs, it may make more sense to make the storage available independently of the host and use asynchronous replication via replicated filesystem (e.g. AFS, DRBD) of the underlying substrate.

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This is "short"?-) DRBD is a good solution - and is fully integrated into xen - you can even use a disk-type "drbd" now. –  Nils May 22 '12 at 20:34
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Yep. Install visualization of some kind on both machines. On the machine with the 1TB drives, install a SAN VM (Nexenta, FreeNAS, OpenFiler, etc), provide iSCSI/NFS/CIFS storage to the Hypervisors, all other VMs run off that shared storage.

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