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We are in the process of setting up a new Hyper-V host to replace our existing failing Windows 2003 R2 server.

The new Host is running Windows 2008 R2 and inside that we will be running a few Virtual Servers including one which will be used as a file server.

Our problem is that all of our documents are currently spread across multiple Apple Time Capsules and client workstations. I want to be able to centralise the documents used company wide on the single virtual fileserver, but the 2TB limit for VHD's is a problem as the total storage required will be over 2TB and climbing.

We have a Netgear ReadyNAS® Pro 4, 8TB Unified Storage System with RAID 5 total storage of ~6TB.

My question is how can I access this NAS through the fileserver to be transparent to the end user. Would it be better to use DFS to have \server\share\largedataarea or use a SAN on a dedicated NIC and use an NTFS mount point, or is there another option?

Any suggestions greatly appreciated!

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can you wait for windows 2012? On w2k8r2 you can get past the 2tb vhd limit by using a passthru disk. – tony roth Oct 25 '12 at 14:03
unfortunately no, 2012 is not an option as we have already bought the licences for 2008R2. – Jay1980 Oct 25 '12 at 15:02
up vote 4 down vote accepted

For pure data stores, I typically prefer dedicating an iSCSI LUN/volume for the data, but keep the VM OS in a VHD as you would all your other VM's. This allows you to easily grow/shrink the data volume as needed, plus you get all the fun features your SAN may offer.

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So do you tend to use a dedicated NIC in the server and connect to the SAN directly to it via a crossover lead? I'm not familiar with how iSCSI works – Jay1980 Oct 25 '12 at 15:03
If all you have is one server and one iSCSI SAN device, then yes, a crossover cable is fine. (With Gigabit Ethernet, crossover is not needed because it auto-crossovers.) – longneck Oct 25 '12 at 15:12
Great thanks for your help. – Jay1980 Oct 25 '12 at 15:15
@Jay1980 - In a more typical iSCSI implementation your iSCSI SAN would be connected to a network isolated from the "client" network and your iSCSI initiators (the hosts that connect to the iSCSI SAN) would have a dedicated NIC that connects them to the iSCSI SAN. You would tyically segregate all traffic away from the iSCSI SAN except for the iSCSI traffic itself. Of course there are a number of permutations and variations, but this would be the most typical implementation. – joeqwerty Oct 26 '12 at 0:40

Longneck's answer is probably the best solution but if you really want to use VHD's instead of connecting the VM to an iSCSI LUN then why not use 3 VHD's? One small VHD for the OS and two 2TB VHD's configured as a spanned volume for the data that needs to be shared.

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Thats just it, I dont want to necessarily use VHD's I would have preferred to provision some of the server's drives as a pass through disk but the company that is setting up our server have already installed the host operating system. – Jay1980 Oct 25 '12 at 15:02

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