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I have a Windows 2008 R2 server with:

  • 1 x 80GB SCSI, partitioned:
    • 100MB reserved
    • 79GB NTFS windows
  • 2 x 1TB SCSI HDD running in a hardware RAID 0 striped configuration, partitioned:
    • 7GB RAW (left for guest swap)
    • 877GB RAW (left for guest root)
    • 976GB NTFS (used for other VM)

I'm trying to use the 2 RAW partitions for the Linux VM as I've seen that the default emulated virtual HDD seem to hurt I/O performance. I've configured the HDD in Vmware 8 for the VM but the ubuntu 12.10 server install shows the HDD as having the real full size (2TB), not the partition(877GB).

I've read on the internet that SCSI can cause issues with VMware RAW HDD, but I don't know how up to date that information is for VMware 8. If so would VirtualBox's RAW HDD work in this case?

Are there any methods I could use to improve HW I/O, as I want to use a Mysql database in the VM that would require lots of writes and reads.

Raid controller:

Model:             Dell PERC 6/I Integrated / Adapter
Interface Support: 3Gb/s SAS
PCI Support:       PCI-Express 1.0
SAS Connectors:    2x4 Internal
Cache Memory Size: 256MB
Write Back Cache:  Yes (BBU)
RAID Levels:       0,1,5,6,10,50,60
Max Drive Support: 16
RAID Support:      Hardware RAID
share|improve this question
@JavierRivera why remove the VirtualBox tag, even dough I've used VMware, I'm interested to hear from VirtualBox users if there is a better option/support/drivers for this in VirtualBox. See the VirtualBox related sub-question. – clickstefan Mar 16 '13 at 11:23
up vote 3 down vote accepted

I'd run away screaming from any documentation that mentions Lilo as a bootloader that you might be using. In this case VMWare 4's documentation (that you're citing) is 10 years old. Ignore it.

Also, if you need database performance, you don't want to be emulating anything.

Even a "raw" disk in VMWare is going through a virtual (read: emulated) disk controller. That's better than going through a virtual disk controller and then VMFS and then NTFS - but only just.

I'll be frank, your options are:

  • Install MySQL in Windows. I haven't tried it for yonks, but I believe it still works. Even if you keep the virtualised environment that interacts with the database, this would be better for high IO applications.

  • Dump or virtualise Windows, make Ubuntu the host. If your main application is Linux-based, ditch windows or at least kick it to a portion of the system that doesn't require much in the way of resources.

  • Move the database disk onto another disk controller and set VMWare to pass that through. I'm not sure if you can do this with the Workstation variants but "passthrough" is a good way to give VMs real native access to hardware. The overhead is fairly minimal too but it doesn't always work and it does require extra hardware if you only have one bus.

  • Split the system into two (or more) bare-metal installations.

share|improve this answer
How could I split the system into "two (or more) bare-metal installations." I have a dell Server that needs to have a native Windows Server running for some low usage database. – clickstefan Mar 14 '13 at 12:56
By that I mean two hardware servers: one Windows, one Ubuntu. Either that or look at lower-level splitting like vsphere. – Oli Mar 14 '13 at 13:03
The "Dump or virtualise Windows" was my first plan, but the server admin didn't agree, even though the main application is in Linux, so I'm looking for the next best thing. I've thought of "Installing MySQL in Windows" but I was afraid of losing linux-specific features, but after your suggestion I've seen that it has binaries even for cluster. – clickstefan Mar 14 '13 at 13:08

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