VMware Solutions Discussions

Setup Advice Needed


Hi Everyone,

I am fairly new to storage and and I am only somewhat experienced in virtualization.  I am currently in the process of installing and configuring a NetApp FAS2240 at my primary site and a FAS2220 at a DR site.  I would like to provide some details concerning my implementation and get advice!  I appologize in advance for this lengthy post.  I hope this is coherent enough to follow.

Current Conditions:

I am the network admin of a small school district.  Our needs are fairly small, but growing.  About 4 years ago, a local consultant "helped" us virtualize our data center by installingVMware ESXi on three Dell servers.  No vCenter and no shared storage.  All VMs are stored locally on the servers.  I finally have the funds necessary to put our virtual datacenter together correctly.  I am doing most of the install myself with the help of my NetApp engineer.

Equipment/Software Purchased:

On the VMware side, I have purchased VMware vCenter Foundation and 6 CPU licenses for vSphere. 


Primary - FAS2240-4 HA with DS4243 shelf with twelve 1TB SATA drives.  I have also purcahsed a DS2246 with twelve 600GB SAS drives.

DR - FAS2240 with twelve 1TB SATA drives.  This site will be used exclusiely for SnapMirror replication.



The Virtual DataCenter and primary storage are connected to a Cisco WS-4506E.  I am using interface e0a on a management VLAN and I have bundled interfaces e0b - e0d into a VIF running on the same VLAN as the VMs.  I am using iSCSI and have turned up the MTU to 9000 on the ESXi hosts, the switch, and the filer.  The DR site is accessible via a 1gbps AT&T leased fiber line. 

Storage Configuration:

I currently have everything except for the DS2246.  That will be ordered later this week.  It was something of an afterthought since we weren't running any databases or Exchange in our environment.  That is about to change because we are going to host our Student Information Services database locally due to too many latency issues at the provider.  Here is what I want to accomplish:

1.  All of my VMs will be stored on an aggregate using the SAS drives.  My VMs will take up 2.1TB, but that will shrink to barely 1TB once I migrate all my Windows file shares to a CIFS aggregate.

2.  My Windows file shares will be stored on an aggregate using the SATA drives.

3.  My FAS2220 will be used as a replication device.  I assume I will need to create a single volume for my VMs and a single volume for my Windows shares.  I am also assuming I can do this on the same aggregate.  I understand that adding aggregates reduces useable disk space considerably.

Here are my questions:

  • How will I need to seperate my VMs from my SQL database?  Will this require a seperate aggregate, or just a seperate volume?  I have right at 30 VMs, but most of them are not heavy on the IO side.
  • What would be the most efficient way to configure my controllers?  Should I use one controller for SAS/iSCSI and the other for SATA/CIFS? 

I have been playing with my gear even though I don't have everything yet.  I have succeeded in adding the FAS2240 to my vCenter environment.  I have a non-critical VM running.  I have SnapMirror working.  I have also tested HA and vMotion.  I have a few more things to test before I am confident enough to make the cutover:

  • Practice a CF Takeover.
  • Simulate a complete primary failure.  I want to see how easy it is to point my Virtual DataCenter to the backup filer.  Is that even possible, or must I first get the primary back up and running?

Please feel free to suggest any other tests I should perform.  Thanks!



It looks like many of my questions have already been answered in this thread:  https://communities.netapp.com/message/81400#81400

I nevertheless appreciate any additional insight!