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WHS 2011 + DP on ESXi

edited September 2011 in DrivePool
Hi, I'm about to install WHS 2011 to replace my old WHS v1 box, and I'm thinking of running it on VMware vSphere Hypervisor (ESXi) as a bare-metal hypervisor so I can run other VMs on the same machine. I'd like to use DrivePool on this setup, and was wondering if anyone has tried this and had a good or bad experience, or know of any potential problems.



  • edited September 2011 Member
    Hi datageek,  I am actually running WHS2011 on ESXi 4.1 U1 and it does work very well.  I have tried both Windows Hyper-V (free) and Windows 2008 R2 with Hyper-V role - but I still prefer ESXi.

    Be aware that to keep your data available out of a vmdk file (ESXi virtual disk), you will have to create RDM (raw device mapping) if your controller permit it (for reference see

    Here are some benchmarks...

    Physical host
    - Intel DG965OT motherboard
    - Intel Core2Duo 6300 @ 1.86GHz
    - 8GB RAM
    - 6 Hitachi 5K3000 HDDs
    - WHS 2011 (latest Windows Updates)
    - DrivePool

    Host platform vs time used to copy 1.14GB of data

    ESXi 4.1 U1
    - Share in a VMDK (virtual disk): 62 seconds
    - Share on a RDM (Raw Device Mapping): 68 seconds
    - Share on a RDM managed by DrivePool: 114 seconds
    - CPU cores dedicated to WHS2011 : 1 core

    Windows2008 Hyper-V R2
    - Share in a VHD (virtual disk): 63 seconds
    - Share on a RDM (Raw Device Mapping): 68 seconds
    - Share on a RDM managed by DrivePool: 114 seconds
    - CPU cores dedicated to WHS2011 : 2 cores

    Physical Host (bare metal)
    - Share on a physical disk: 37 seconds
    - Share on a physical disk managed by DrivePool: 111 seconds
    - CPU cores dedicated to WHS2011 : 2 cores

    For conclusion, we can see that copying to a share located on a virtual disk vs a physical disk, we almost double (1.85x) the required time.  Copying to a share located on physical disk (either RDM or not) with DrivePool involved in the equation, the required time stays almost the same.

    Let see what's coming in M4 release!
  • That's great, thank you Codegear. I did wonder about whether it would be necessary to set up RDMs, I assume performance will suffer significantly using virtual disks (if it works at all). I'm not too worried about DrivePool adding a bit of overhead, WHS v1 DE seems to slow things down too.

    Do you know if it is possible set up the WHS 2011 System drive using an RDM, in addition to all the data-only drives? I was planning to install ESXi on a USB flash drive, with the first (2TB) hard drive containing a small OS partition and a large data partition for WHS / DrivePool.
  • ESXi or Hyper-V can't boot off a RDM disk.  It has to be thru a virtual disk.
  • edited September 2011 Member

    Just for the records... I upgraded my setup to a "AMD Phenon II X6 1090T", keeping the same disks.
    Because ESXi 4.1 or 5.0 had not full support for my board, even thru I tried as much as I could, it never worked as I wanted to.  Had no choice to switch from ESXi to Hyper-V...

    Performance and timings are the same.
  • edited April 2012 Member
    Since VMware published Update 1 for ESXi 5.0 and Gigabyte, it's F7 BIOS, I decided to give it a try...

    My final setup looks like this:

    Physical ESXi 5.0u1 host
    - Gigabyte 990FXA-UD5 motherboard
    - AMD Phenon II X6 1090T @ 3.2GHz
    - 16GB RAM
    - 1 Hitachi 7K3000 2TB HDD
    - 7 Hitachi 5K3000 2TB HDDs (accessed by WHS 2011 as RDM disks and totally allocated to DrivePool)

    WHS 2011 Virtual Machine
    - Allocated 2 vCPU and 4GB RAM
    - WHS 2011 (latest Windows Updates)
    - DrivePool
    - MyMovies 2.1.1 PR3 (including the latest SQL 2008 R2 Update 1)
    - All 7 5K3000 disks are dedicated to WHS 2011 for DrivePool thru RDM disks

    Doing a quick test, I copied/wrote 1.51GB to the pool in 40 seconds.  If you compare to a physical host, DrivePool is faster by 18% (compared to 37 seconds for 1.14GB).  These results are from my workstation to my ESXi/WHS2011 using a 1Gb LAN.

    At a larger scale in another test, I copied 928GB in 2h35.  This lot was composed of 10683 files in 1021 folders of various depth.  On average, this is 102MB/s.

    Using DrivePool is a win/win situation for me and the all of you.

    Thank you Alex !
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