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Probably a noob question, but I'd like some guidance on which RAID configuration is best in this server scenario.
I am aware of and understand the different RAID configurations, but am after guidance in the use of RAID in a hypervised virtual machine configuration specifically.

Hardware is an older IBM x3650 with an IBM ServeRAID 8k hardware controller. There is 3x 300GB SAS drives and 2x 146GB SAS drives.

I wish to install the free VMware ESXi 6.0 hypervisor on the system and have just found out that I can't boot from USB flash drive. So I'm gonna have to use one of the HDD's or RAID volumes to install the baremetal OS on. I'm only going to be running 2-3 VM Guests (most likely 2x Win Server 2012R2 Std's and maybe 1x Win7 Pro or Linux distro) for basic AD/DC redundancy and a RDS gateway.

Do I:

  1. setup the 3x 300GB drives in RAID5 and the 2x 146GB drives in RAID1
  2. setup the 3x 300GB drives in RAID1e and the 2x 146GB drives in RAID1
  3. setup the 2x 300GB drives in RAID1, the 2x 14GB drives in RAID1 and assign the remaining 300GB drive as a global failover/hotspare
  4. leave the drives unassigned and do the RAID config using Windows Server software RAID (with the physical drives assigned to the guest)

Note that if the ESXi host allows it, I'll do a controller pass-through for the larger RAID volume for dedicated use on one of the Windows servers (which would allow me to possibly do #4 in the above list).

I'd prefer compatibility, reliability and redundancy over performance.

What I don't know, and the reason I'm asking this question, is the type of read/write (or I/O's) hypervised virtual machines will have which would lead to choosing the best RAID configuration for the drives I have listed.

marked as duplicate by Ward, mdpc, MadHatter, kasperd, ewwhite vmware-esxi Mar 17 '16 at 22:41

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

  • Not sure why the down-vote. And to be honest, almost anything asked on a Stack Exchange site nowadays is going to be a possible duplicate. I had already read that question and answer, but if you had read mine, you would see that I asked specifically about my scenario with the number of disks I have and the Virtual Server configurations I was looking at. – Reece Mar 16 '16 at 22:02

With such disk configuration, I suggest a RAID1 over the two 146GB disks and a RAID5 over the 300GB disk.

This disk config is far from optimal, though.

  • Thanks. This is the config I had it for when it was an on-prem exchange server. I thought it might be different when set up with ESXi – Reece Mar 16 '16 at 21:58

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