Mac Mini Server 2011 Raid 0 thoughts for VM Hosting

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by RealEvil, Sep 21, 2011.

  1. RealEvil macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2007
    #1
    Hi,

    Just ordered a 2011 stock server (also bought Corsair 8Gb RAM that I will put in). It comes with 2 500GB 7200RPM drives. I have heard that I can Raid 0 them and would like to do so to keep costs down and performance up.

    Anyway - the machine will only be used to run 2 - 4 Windows 2008R2 VMs (normally 2 - 3) as I am a Windows Developer who only uses Macs that has to build lots of complex farms. I have a 2009 iMac with 16GB RAM (with a SSD in optical Bay) but it simply cannot run more than 4VMs and a fairly busy host with acceptable performance. I need to run 4 - 6 VMs constantly hence why I got the server too.

    So, Raid 0 will give my better drive performance but still not great IOPS. Would I be *far* better off putting in a 120GB SSD (Vertex 2 to save cash or possibly a Vertex 3 or Crucial M4) running host & 2 VMS on that and then 1 or 2 Vms on the 500Gb mechanical? Does anyone have experience of running lots of VMs on a Raid 0 setup (with laptop drives)?

    Thanks,

    Neil
     
  2. KScottMyers, Sep 22, 2011
    Last edited: Sep 22, 2011

    KScottMyers macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2009
    Location:
    Orlando, FL
    #2
    Hi Neil,

    I'm running two 2011 minis - one RAID 0 with two 500GB, 7200 RPM drives and the other with two RAID 0 SSD drives. RAID 0 helps in either setup for speed - but the SSD will be your best option. Definitely go with a SATA 3 SSD. These drives are seeing read and write speeds in the 500MB/s range and mechanical drives just can't approach that.

    Running 4 VMs is probably your biggest issue with 8GB of RAM - You'll probably want to move to 16GB down the road. They're crazy expensive right now.
     
  3. RealEvil thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2007
    #3
    Hi-thanks for the input. I don't think I could afford raid 0 ssds! I just checked and my SQL Server VM is about 100gb (and growing ) so I would need a 256 ssd or perhaps a 160GB from Intel.

    I agree 8gb ram is not really adequate for 4 VMs, but the host will be idle... Maybe 2-3 is more realistic. The 8gb RAM sticks are super expensive here - no newegg offer for example.

    How does your raid 0 mechanical drive system perform? Also, are there downsides to setting it up this way? I guess the recovery partition goes?
     
  4. KScottMyers macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2009
    Location:
    Orlando, FL
    #4
    Agreed - RAIDed SSDs gets expensive - but a single fast SATA 3 SSD would still be faster than RAIDing two traditional Hard Drives.

    I noticed a definite improvement RAIDing the hard drives - but nothing like the SSDs.
     

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