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Old 06-19-2012, 11:47 AM
Tanstaafl
 
Default VMWare Hypervisor - SD vs CF card?

Hi everyone,

Ok, here's my dilemma...

I have some new Dell R515 servers (12 bay versions). These do not have
any Dell supported internal SD (or CF) card options for the hypervisor,
but they do have an internal 2.5" dual SATA/SAS drive cage, for running
a bootable OS (in my case the ESXi hypervisor)...


Well, I really hate the idea of wasting money and disk space (for 2
146GB SAS drives to be run in a mirror, what is being recommended to me)
on something that only requires about 32MB to install (the hypervisor)
when apparently there is a really cool option like:


for CF cards:
http://www.addonics.com/products/ad2sahdcf.php

or

for SD cards:
http://www.addonics.com/products/ad2sahdcf.php

I could get 2 of these for each server, each with a mirrored pair of CF
(or SD) cards (mirror mode is defined by a jumper or switch on the
adapter), then mirror those (in the BIOS), which would result in a total
of FOUR CF (or SD) redundant cards (a mirror of 2 mirrored pairs) for
the hypervisor... and I can do this for quite a bit less than even a
SINGLE 146GB SAS drive...


Is there any reason NOT to do this?

What am I missing (other than the fact that Dell won't support this
config, but I'm not using them for software support anyway)?


Appreciate any/all comments...

Charles
 
Old 06-19-2012, 12:42 PM
Michael Mol
 
Default VMWare Hypervisor - SD vs CF card?

On Tue, Jun 19, 2012 at 7:47 AM, Tanstaafl <tanstaafl@libertytrek.org> wrote:
> Hi everyone,
>
> Ok, here's my dilemma...
>
> I have some new Dell R515 servers (12 bay versions). These do not have any
> Dell supported internal SD (or CF) card options for the hypervisor, but they
> do have an internal 2.5" dual SATA/SAS drive cage, for running a bootable OS
> (in my case the ESXi hypervisor)...
>
> Well, I really hate the idea of wasting money and disk space (for 2 146GB
> SAS drives to be run in a mirror, what is being recommended to me) on
> something that only requires about 32MB to install (the hypervisor) when
> apparently there is a really cool option like:
>
> for CF cards:
> http://www.addonics.com/products/ad2sahdcf.php
>
> or
>
> for SD cards:
> http://www.addonics.com/products/ad2sahdcf.php
>
> I could get 2 of these for each server, each with a mirrored pair of CF (or
> SD) cards (mirror mode is defined by a jumper or switch on the adapter),
> then mirror those (in the BIOS), which would result in a total of FOUR CF
> (or SD) redundant cards (a mirror of 2 mirrored pairs) for the hypervisor...
> and I can do this for quite a bit less than even a SINGLE 146GB SAS drive...
>
> Is there any reason NOT to do this?
>
> What am I missing (other than the fact that Dell won't support this config,
> but I'm not using them for software support anyway)?
>
> Appreciate any/all comments...

I'd say give it a shot on something non-critical, see if it works. The
big thing I'd be uncertain of is bootup time for the Addonics
adapter...how long before it tells the SATA controller it's ready?

Incidentally, I think that adapter is brilliant. I might snag one in a
few months and set up the Gentoo live DVD as a read-only boot install.

--
:wq
 
Old 06-19-2012, 01:56 PM
Alan McKinnon
 
Default VMWare Hypervisor - SD vs CF card?

On Tue, 19 Jun 2012 07:47:10 -0400
Tanstaafl <tanstaafl@libertytrek.org> wrote:

> Hi everyone,
>
> Ok, here's my dilemma...
>
> I have some new Dell R515 servers (12 bay versions). These do not
> have any Dell supported internal SD (or CF) card options for the
> hypervisor, but they do have an internal 2.5" dual SATA/SAS drive
> cage, for running a bootable OS (in my case the ESXi hypervisor)...
>
> Well, I really hate the idea of wasting money and disk space (for 2
> 146GB SAS drives to be run in a mirror, what is being recommended to
> me) on something that only requires about 32MB to install (the
> hypervisor) when apparently there is a really cool option like:
>
> for CF cards:
> http://www.addonics.com/products/ad2sahdcf.php
>
> or
>
> for SD cards:
> http://www.addonics.com/products/ad2sahdcf.php
>
> I could get 2 of these for each server, each with a mirrored pair of
> CF (or SD) cards (mirror mode is defined by a jumper or switch on the
> adapter), then mirror those (in the BIOS), which would result in a
> total of FOUR CF (or SD) redundant cards (a mirror of 2 mirrored
> pairs) for the hypervisor... and I can do this for quite a bit less
> than even a SINGLE 146GB SAS drive...
>
> Is there any reason NOT to do this?
>
> What am I missing (other than the fact that Dell won't support this
> config, but I'm not using them for software support anyway)?
>
> Appreciate any/all comments...
>
> Charles
>
>

With my last batch of ESX hosts, someone "forgot" to order the R710 SD
internal add-on. But it has 8 x 600M SAS drives....

So what I did is configured all drives as a RAID 10 and let ESX grab
enough for the hypervisor and leave the rest for regular storage.

I figured that ESX is an appliance anyway, there's nothing on it I
can't get back by running the installer again, I have backups of the
isos and templates. And if a drive pokes and takes out a guest, I still
equally screwed regardless of whether I gave some space away to the
hypervisor or not.




--
Alan McKinnnon
alan.mckinnon@gmail.com
 
Old 06-19-2012, 02:21 PM
Tanstaafl
 
Default VMWare Hypervisor - SD vs CF card?

On 2012-06-19 9:56 AM, Alan McKinnon <alan.mckinnon@gmail.com> wrote:

With my last batch of ESX hosts, someone "forgot" to order the R710 SD
internal add-on. But it has 8 x 600M SAS drives....

So what I did is configured all drives as a RAID 10 and let ESX grab
enough for the hypervisor and leave the rest for regular storage.


That was my initial plan, but I really like the idea of having the
hypervisor separated... and I also like the idea of running it on FLASH
media...


I'll be ordering the Addonics today, and will report back if everything
works as expected/hoped...


Anyone have any recommendation for a high quality/high-speed (but
smallest capacity) CF media to put in these?
 
Old 06-19-2012, 02:28 PM
Michael Mol
 
Default VMWare Hypervisor - SD vs CF card?

On Tue, Jun 19, 2012 at 10:21 AM, Tanstaafl <tanstaafl@libertytrek.org> wrote:
> On 2012-06-19 9:56 AM, Alan McKinnon <alan.mckinnon@gmail.com> wrote:
>>
>> With my last batch of ESX hosts, someone "forgot" to order the R710 SD
>> internal add-on. But it has 8 x 600M SAS drives....
>>
>> So what I did is configured all drives as a RAID 10 and let ESX grab
>> enough for the hypervisor *and leave the rest for regular storage.
>
>
> That was my initial plan, but I really like the idea of having the
> hypervisor separated... and I also like the idea of running it on FLASH
> media...
>
> I'll be ordering the Addonics today, and will report back if everything
> works as expected/hoped...
>
> Anyone have any recommendation for a high quality/high-speed (but smallest
> capacity) CF media to put in these?

CF is really behind the times. I'd probably suggest going with one of
the SD adapters, and picking up whatever card professional
photographers swear by.

Based on recent experience, I'd also suggest keeping it small. 2GB or
less...which is more than what you need.

--
:wq
 
Old 06-20-2012, 10:52 AM
Tanstaafl
 
Default VMWare Hypervisor - SD vs CF card?

On 2012-06-19 10:28 AM, Michael Mol <mikemol@gmail.com> wrote:

CF is really behind the times.


Really? Nothing I've read indicates that - can you point me to something
that discusses how/why Cf is 'behind the times'?


I'm serious, I just ordered the CF adapter/cards, but I'm fully prepared
to send them back if you can show me something authoritative that backs
up that claim...


Thanks,

Charles
 
Old 06-22-2012, 04:04 AM
Matthew Marlowe
 
Default VMWare Hypervisor - SD vs CF card?

On Tue, Jun 19, 2012 at 4:47 AM, Tanstaafl <tanstaafl@libertytrek.org> wrote:
> I could get 2 of these for each server, each with a mirrored pair of CF (or
> SD) cards (mirror mode is defined by a jumper or switch on the adapter),
> then mirror those (in the BIOS), which would result in a total of FOUR CF
> (or SD) redundant cards (a mirror of 2 mirrored pairs) for the hypervisor...
> and I can do this for quite a bit less than even a SINGLE 146GB SAS drive...
>
> Is there any reason NOT to do this?
>

If you have a small ESX cluster, there are numerous advantages to
having some local storage on each your ESX hosts in addition to your
primary SAN storage:
- Testing major ESX version upgrades prior to rolling out to cluster
(converting VM's to new hardware format, while leaving old VM's on
SAN)
- If your setup is too small to have high performance spare SAN
devices + storage, what do you do when you have to do a major upgrade
of the SAN and/or possibly perform data destructive RAID format
changes? iSCSI storage vmotion would allow you to migrate VM's to
local storage on ESX servers while SAN is upgraded...several extra
hard drives + raid controllers are cheaper than buying another
equalogic/emc device.
- Some cluster backup software like to replicate backup data outside
of the SAN and backup server.....I felt much better when I was
performing nightly backups from the SAN to local storage on the ESX
boxes and then exporting the dedup'd backup data to backup server for
writing to tape. But, there are many ways to resolve this.
- Local ESX storage is much cheaper than SAN...there were several
cases where I used to run production VM's via SAN, and temporary
dev/test VM's on ESX server local storage
- Lastly, I never really have been a fan of ESXi as an upgrade from
ESX.....seems that it was more driven by vmware making windows admins
feel more confident since they didn't have to learn linux for ESX
console.

But, there is nothing keeping you from getting mirrored CF/SD cards
for the hypervisor boot and also keeping a few mirrored 2TB SATA
drives on each host for local datastores (7200rpm SATA is much cheaper
than 15K rpm SAS).

Of course, for large ESX clusters, you can probably afford numerous
SAN devices which would negate most of the above.

Matt
 
Old 06-22-2012, 12:38 PM
Tanstaafl
 
Default VMWare Hypervisor - SD vs CF card?

On 2012-06-22 12:04 AM, Matthew Marlowe <matt@professionalsysadmin.com>
wrote:

On Tue, Jun 19, 2012 at 4:47 AM, Tanstaafl<tanstaafl@libertytrek.org> wrote:

I could get 2 of these for each server, each with a mirrored pair of CF (or
SD) cards (mirror mode is defined by a jumper or switch on the adapter),
then mirror those (in the BIOS), which would result in a total of FOUR CF
(or SD) redundant cards (a mirror of 2 mirrored pairs) for the hypervisor...
and I can do this for quite a bit less than even a SINGLE 146GB SAS drive...

Is there any reason NOT to do this?



If you have a small ESX cluster, there are numerous advantages to
having some local storage on each your ESX hosts in addition to your
primary SAN storage:


We actually will be using ONLY local storage... Dell R515's with 8 450GB
SAS drives in RAID10 (with one hot spare assigned)...


A decent SAN wasn't in the budget (yet, but we may go that route in a
year or two)...



- Lastly, I never really have been a fan of ESXi as an upgrade from
ESX.....seems that it was more driven by vmware making windows admins
feel more confident since they didn't have to learn linux for ESX
console.


This is a new install, so not an 'upgrade'...


But, there is nothing keeping you from getting mirrored CF/SD cards
for the hypervisor boot and also keeping a few mirrored 2TB SATA
drives on each host for local datastores (7200rpm SATA is much cheaper
than 15K rpm SAS).


I do plan on having a couple of large SATA drives in RAID0 (for speed)
for temporary snapshots (which I then backup using rsnapshot or my VM
backup s/w) and for if I ever need to add some drives to my RAID10
(probably won't, the 1.7TB I'll have is 4 times what we have now which
is only 70% utilized)...


I get the CF cards today (already have the adapters), so we'll see how
this goes this weekend...
 
Old 06-22-2012, 12:50 PM
Tanstaafl
 
Default VMWare Hypervisor - SD vs CF card?

On 2012-06-22 12:04 AM, Matthew Marlowe <matt@professionalsysadmin.com>
wrote:

But, there is nothing keeping you from getting mirrored CF/SD cards
for the hypervisor boot


Also, my questions was more just to which cards are considered best/most
stable - SD or CF...
 
Old 06-22-2012, 03:00 PM
Paul Hartman
 
Default VMWare Hypervisor - SD vs CF card?

On Fri, Jun 22, 2012 at 7:50 AM, Tanstaafl <tanstaafl@libertytrek.org> wrote:
> On 2012-06-22 12:04 AM, Matthew Marlowe <matt@professionalsysadmin.com>
> wrote:
>>
>> But, there is nothing keeping you from getting mirrored CF/SD cards
>> for the hypervisor boot
>
>
> Also, my questions was more just to which cards are considered best/most
> stable - SD or CF...

Ultimately they both probably have the same flash chips inside of them
so if your main concern is reliability, I don't think it matters.

If your concern is performance, CF seems to be used in more
"professional" applications and more high-speed CF cards are readily
available.

In either case I would suggest avoiding the cheap no-name brands.
Sandisk Extreme Pro is likely the fastest card you can buy (of either
CF or SD form factor), it is available up to 100MB/sec write speeds,
but of course your card reader/host needs to support speeds like that.
Sandisk also routinely has more than 10x the random I/O performance of
most of the other brands which is important when using it on a
computer and not in a linear recording device (photos/video).
 

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