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I've just purchased a HP Microserver and trying to work out the best way to set it up. Currently got 2x2TB hd's in a D-Link 323 NAS using RAID1, with over 1.5TB of data on it.

I've installed Windows 8 (as I had a spare key) onto the 250GB hd it came with and been toying with the idea of using Storage Spaces but not got much knowledge about it. I'm leaning towards having mirrored redundancy as I just don't like the idea of losing an entire drives worth of data even if it's TV shows or movies. I also want to be able to easily add more drives to it later down the line.

Is Storage Spaces a good option or is there something better I could use?

I will also be using the Microserver to run Sickbeard and SABnzbd as well as streaming media to devices around the house and a place to backup my photos (as well as in the cloud).

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Posted

i had issues streaming video from mirrored redundancy in a storage space install so I went with a more conventional RAID 1 implementation. At the time, I did find others on the web that were having the same streaming issues from mirrored redundant storage spaces. I do want to note I was not using the same server hardware so your mileage may vary.

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I've got an HP Microserver running Server 2012 Essentials with 3 2TB drives in a parity storage space. I haven't had any problems streaming video from the server but you should be prepared to lose the capacity of one drive for the parity bits if you choose this configuration. Parity is meant to be slower than a mirror (although, as I said, this hasn't cause me any problems) but offers greater redundancy.

One thing to note is that storage spaces isn't very flexible and it can be difficult to just add drives to in the future. It's best to plan what you want to do in advance and try to make sure that you are happy with the size of the drives you start off with because that might dictate what you can do in the future.

This blog post from MS is quite useful although it's sometimes glosses over important details:

http://blogs.msdn.com/b/b8/archive/2012/01/05/virtualizing-storage-for-scale-resiliency-and-efficiency.aspx

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Posted

Look online for a 3ware raid care and a broadcom netextreme 2 based NIC so you can do teaming theyre cheap.

As for the drives youll want parity ie RAID5 and to carefully consider the cluster/stripe size depending on the files you are storing

Large movies and iso's > REFS + 64k clusters
Lots of small files > smaller cluster size

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Posted

Thanks, lots to read up on.

Does RAID5/parity require at least three hard drives? As right now that really isn't an option for me as I only have two and can't spend any more money for a while.

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Posted

Yep, you'll need at least three drives for parity.

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Mine has:
LSI RAID Card (or actually an IBM Rebadge, the ServeRaid M1015) with the IBM ServeRAID M1000 feature key so I get proper RAID5
4x1TB 3.5" Drives in the Standard Drive Bays
4x1TB 2.5" Drives in [url="http://www.icydock.com/goods.php?id=142"]an IcyDock Caddy[/url] sitting in the optical slot.
7 of the drives are in a RAID 5 Array (giving 6GB of storage, with the 8th acting as a Hot Spare)

[url="http://www.scan.co.uk/products/lycom-pe-115m-6g-msata-hybriddrivers-low-profile-pcie-20-host-adapter"]A PCIe x1 card[/url] which is carrying a 64GB mSATA SSD
This is used to boot the server (i.e. holds the hypervisor) and a small partition for the database files to give better performance.

It runs ESXi 5.1 and hosts a number of VMs, performing some functions:
a Windows Home Server 2011 VM, performing back-up and file serve duties.
an Ubuntu 11.10 VM, providing a LAMP Stack, an instance of MongoDB, a Graphite instance and a node.js execution environment
a pfSense VM, for playing with.
a WIndows 8 VM for testing stuff.
a Windows 7 VM for testing stuff.
a WIndows XP VM for nostalgic reasons

I love my MicroServer.... :-)
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Posted

Mirror it if you value constant data use without keeping recent backups. If you have less than 500gb of things that are crucial, it might be better to get a smaller external drive, then use the other full 2TB.

The good thing about mirroring is that if one drive fails, you have an operational system straight away without having to worry about rebuilding (At least that's in my experience of using a microserver as I disconnected one of the drives when I decided to reformat for extra storage)

You could also just ensure those folders are sync'd across both drives (essentially the same as mirroring). Not sure what the Windows 8 equivalent of SyncToy (may still work with Win8).

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[quote name='Red Arrow' timestamp='1360353372' post='595510496']
Thanks, lots to read up on.

Does RAID5/parity require at least three hard drives? As right now that really isn't an option for me as I only have two and can't spend any more money for a while.
[/quote]
Yeah and most of the online sources go into details that you don

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[quote name='imachip' timestamp='1360355086' post='595510538']
You could also just ensure those folders are sync'd across both drives (essentially the same as mirroring). Not sure what the Windows 8 equivalent of SyncToy (may still work with Win8).
[/quote]

SyncToy works fine with Win8.

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[quote name='.fahim' timestamp='1360354419' post='595510520']
Mine has:
LSI RAID Card (or actually an IBM Rebadge, the ServeRaid M1015) with the IBM ServeRAID M1000 feature key so I get proper RAID5
4x1TB 3.5" Drives in the Standard Drive Bays
4x1TB 2.5" Drives in [url="http://www.icydock.com/goods.php?id=142"]an IcyDock Caddy[/url] sitting in the optical slot.
7 of the drives are in a RAID 5 Array (giving 6GB of storage, with the 8th acting as a Hot Spare)

[url="http://www.scan.co.uk/products/lycom-pe-115m-6g-msata-hybriddrivers-low-profile-pcie-20-host-adapter"]A PCIe x1 card[/url] which is carrying a 64GB mSATA SSD
This is used to boot the server (i.e. holds the hypervisor) and a small partition for the database files to give better performance.

It runs ESXi 5.1 and hosts a number of VMs, performing some functions:
a Windows Home Server 2011 VM, performing back-up and file serve duties.
an Ubuntu 11.10 VM, providing a LAMP Stack, an instance of MongoDB, a Graphite instance and a node.js execution environment
a pfSense VM, for playing with.
a WIndows 8 VM for testing stuff.
a Windows 7 VM for testing stuff.
a WIndows XP VM for nostalgic reasons

I love my MicroServer.... :-)
[/quote]

That's an insane setup, I love it :D

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Posted

.fahim that is an awesome set up.

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You cant say your a true geek unless your running an ESXi Setup :-D

I have 250GB Drive that came with it, Installed ESXi on there. I have a 1TB WD Red and a 60GB SSD that I had littered about. It runs an instance of Open Filer (just to copy **** between computers). Own Cloud. 2003 Server to Share my printer and run the UPS Software
a Win 7 for Remote Access and running my horse racing betting bot, A 2008R2 running the same betting software but in a test setup.

I am going to get get Dual Nic and then maybe run PF sense on it so I can get rid of my hardware firewall that I have running.

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"running my horse racing betting bot"

you tweaked my curiosity with statement ;) Could you PM me on what that is, twinspires locked out IL residents is more than ticking me off!! Since its a bit off topic ;) But yeah I would run esxi on it.. Now your not limited to what 1 OS can do.. Just add some more ram, extra nic and your good.

I have 8GB of ram, but it can go to 16 even if specs only say 8. Did you get the 36, 40 or 54?

I have 2 extra nics in mine a dual and a single for total of 4 nics. So I could breakout the vmkern on its own, wan, lan and wlan and these are all tied to the pfsense vm other than the vmkern nic.

I use a 2008 storage essentials install for my NAS, but have 3 drives in the bay in a drivepool using stablebits [url="http://stablebit.com/DrivePool"]http://stablebit.com/DrivePool[/url] I find it much more robust than spaces.

As to the statement of nic teaming - that would be a waste if you ask me, what drives are you running that are going to exceed gig speed. In a shome setup while would you need failover, etc. If your going to exceed 1 gig, then sure it wold it make sense - but unless your moving files between SSDs that is unlikely to be a requirement.. Sure not need for simple streaming or watching files off your shares.

As .fahim setup shows you - you can fit quite a bit of space into tiny microserver case ;) For my storage needs using drivepool the onboard controller is more than enough for me, I choose to use the slots to add nics which I thought was more useful since the box is not only storage but my router in vm along with ubuntu, centos, freebsd, win7, win8, 2012, etc.. for testing and playing with but the pfsense, nas and linux vms run 24/7/365 since these are my work horse vms.

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Posted

Whilst ESXi will run on it, unless you have a need for it, I would avoid it.

I ran ESXi on mine when I first got it - with a Debian, an XP and a Windows 7 guest. With all 3 VMs idle, the machine was sitting at around 0.7 load - and it was all getting a bit cramped.

I have since switched to having a Debian install running natively, with Windows XP and 7 installed via Virtualbox (although this did cause a minor licensing/activation issue which a couple of calls to MS solved) - it now idles at about 0.17 - and everything feels very much more responsive.

Disk wise - I didn't bother with a RAID card - when I switched it out from ESXi I setup a 2TB disk for the Debian install and crap that doesn't need to be on the RAID array (space for tmp, etc), another drive for the VM HDDs, and put 4 3TB drives in software RAID 5 in the main bays. Software raid is good enough for what I need - although it did take an age to do the initial sync. ~9TB + 2TB usable should be enough for me for a while - and if needed in the future there's still a vast amount of room for expansion.

Obviously if you're going to be changing/installing loads of different VMs, ESXi is the way to go - but if you're only using 1/2 then I'd think twice.

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"With all 3 VMs idle, the machine was sitting at around 0.7 load"

So your solution was to run a type 2 hypervisor? So here I am running 5 Vms as you can see - and NOT idle, in the middle of a download from my seedbox that is doing 2MBps - I limited it to that so I can use the internet, or it maxes out my download pipe at 3.27MBps. My router is VM, so routing/firewalling stuff while my whole house uses the internet is not idle.. But I forgot I am running those other vms, going to shut them down and check the load again.

[attachment=334848:loadesxi.jpg]

Notice its been up 20 days, it would of been up longer if I handed updated it to 5.1 update 1, etc.

edit: here you go shut down those 2 hogs using up multiple vcpus - they are both set to use 2. win7 and win8 vms.. So shut them down and now just my core 3 running. Pfsense, ubuntu and 2008 storage essentials and my download is finished - let is sit for a minute without doing anything so I would say this is typical of idle

[attachment=334850:shutdownthehogs.jpg]

So curious to how your setup was if you were seeing .7 without doing anything??

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Hmm, you guys are giving me ideas for my box. Good read here :)

(sorry nothing to contribute but i'll be checking this thread more often :p)

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[quote name='BudMan' timestamp='1369745975' post='595718784']
"With all 3 VMs idle, the machine was sitting at around 0.7 load"

So your solution was to run a type 2 hypervisor? So here I am running 5 Vms as you can see - and NOT idle, in the middle of a download from my seedbox that is doing 2MBps - I limited it to that so I can use the internet, or it maxes out my download pipe at 3.27MBps. My router is VM, so routing/firewalling stuff while my whole house uses the internet is not idle.. But I forgot I am running those other vms, going to shut them down and check the load again.

Notice its been up 20 days, it would of been up longer if I handed updated it to 5.1 update 1, etc.

edit: here you go shut down those 2 hogs using up multiple vcpus - they are both set to use 2. win7 and win8 vms.. So shut them down and now just my core 3 running. Pfsense, ubuntu and 2008 storage essentials and my download is finished - let is sit for a minute without doing anything so I would say this is typical of idle

So curious to how your setup was if you were seeing .7 without doing anything??
[/quote]

Not all of us are experts when it comes to ESXi - I had a fairly default ESXi installation, with pretty much default Windows installations. Those are the figures I saw.

Now, you may be able to optimise things, and tweak it to the levels you suggest, but that's probably beyond most people's capabilities.

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There are no tweaks in my setup - other than turning on ssh access, disable the firewall, enable copy paste from a vm, etc. Simple googles, etc. It really is a pretty generic out of the box config. Hit go, following the bouncing ball sort of thing. My guess was your system was not as idle as you think it was ;)

What I find curious vs looking closer into what you thought was an issue with the box not handling your load correctly is to jump to a type 2, which moves your vms even father away from the hardware and adds more overhead, since your now running a full OS, then on top of that VM software, and then your vms. Vs what you were doing before was a type 1, which is hypervisor then vm - less things to suck up overall hardware resources then your current setup.

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[quote name='BudMan' timestamp='1369749875' post='595719000']
There are no tweaks in my setup - other than turning on ssh access, disable the firewall, enable copy paste from a vm, etc. Simple googles, etc. It really is a pretty generic out of the box config. Hit go, following the bouncing ball sort of thing. My guess was your system was not as idle as you think it was ;)

What I find curious vs looking closer into what you thought was an issue with the box not handling your load correctly is to jump to a type 2, which moves your vms even father away from the hardware and adds more overhead, since your now running a full OS, then on top of that VM software, and then your vms. Vs what you were doing before was a type 1, which is hypervisor then vm - less things to suck up overall hardware resources then your current setup.
[/quote]

I can only go by what I can see. All guest VMs were pretty much as idle (CPU and I/O wise anyway) as they could be.

Either way - performance has improved dramatically. I was just suggesting that there's other options out there ;).

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Yeah there are plenty of options, and depending on what the user wants its very true that a type2 might be better suited for his needs. And depending on which one used some of them do run at the kernel level like virtualbox or KVM, etc. So yes there have been advances in performance between type 1 and 2.

I personally would of investigated why you were not getting the performance you thought you should get before jumping to a different setup.. If what your looking for is a box to run your vms. If you were looking for a workstation to use, that can also run vms - then sure type 2 is better choice. But the microsever line does not make for good desktop type machine ;)

Also you do need to keep in mind that your on a dual core system with a microserver. So .7 is really a .35 compared to a single core.

Just wanting to point out this information before you attempt to scare away the use of esxi on the microserver line.. I am more that happy with its performance - and if research you will find many many happy users of esxi on the hp microservers. They just need more ram and nics to make them viable little home/vm hosts. Would love to fire up a second one to be honest ;) And power consumption is great on them - mine draws like 55 watts. That is with 4 HDD in it..

But I agree options are always great..

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[quote name='BudMan' timestamp='1369826160' post='595721156']
Yeah there are plenty of options, and depending on what the user wants its very true that a type2 might be better suited for his needs. And depending on which one used some of them do run at the kernel level like virtualbox or KVM, etc. So yes there have been advances in performance between type 1 and 2.

I personally would of investigated why you were not getting the performance you thought you should get before jumping to a different setup.. If what your looking for is a box to run your vms. If you were looking for a workstation to use, that can also run vms - then sure type 2 is better choice. But the microsever line does not make for good desktop type machine ;)

Also you do need to keep in mind that your on a dual core system with a microserver. So .7 is really a .35 compared to a single core.

Just wanting to point out this information before you attempt to scare away the use of esxi on the microserver line.. I am more that happy with its performance - and if research you will find many many happy users of esxi on the hp microservers. They just need more ram and nics to make them viable little home/vm hosts. Would love to fire up a second one to be honest ;) And power consumption is great on them - mine draws like 55 watts. That is with 4 HDD in it..

But I agree options are always great..
[/quote]

I'm firmly in the ESXi Camp with Budman and 99% of other geeks here. I was taken back a bit when you posted about performance issues with ESXi. The CPU for me is NEVER under any load. Unless I am running Boinc ha. Its the memory thats an issue for me. Im nearly always 7gb out of 8 but then again thats my problem. I just need to buy more ram.

I think ESXi and the later versions 5.1 + seem to get better every-time. Never really looked at the advanced options to squeeze that extra bit of performance out of these little babys! :-D

P.S Budman I have PM'd you ;-)

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Saw your PM, thanks - answered you ;) Since that is clearly off topic discussion..hehehe

There was a thread back awhile when someone was troubleshooting esxi peformance.. cpressland I think.. They were having issues with moving files to the datastore, or just in general network related issues in speeds..

Now moving files to the datastore there have been complaints on that - and I have not followed through with going back to that thread, etc. And I have not benchmarked it since I don't move files to my datastore very often. Just new new iso for some linux distro now and then, and a couple of minutes was not that big of deal.. But now that I broke out my vmkern to its own nic, moving to the datastore does seem quicker than it was.. I should benchmark it.. Now vmware does state that your vmkern should be on its own.. So running it shared with other vms and vswitch to your lan could be a hit on performance that way.

I am curious what your load was when you were actually doing something on your vms? That would be more of indication of problems.. If your under 1 on single core your not slowing anything down. Since your dual core under 2 you still have room.. So I would be curious to what it was while you were using a VM to do something stressful.

I would be also curious - did you install the vmtools on your VMs?

Also there is much better ways to look into performance issues with your VMs vs just looking at pretty generic number like your cpu load average.. The performance tab is there for a reason ;) There is lots of variables to look at help determine why your performance not be what you expected, etc.

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