12 Replies Latest reply: Feb 13, 2014 10:18 AM by Justin Rich RSS

    What is the ideal volume configuration for a Microsoft SharePoint 2013 VM?

    Alex Goltz Adventurer

      I am in the process of building a new SQL 2012/Sharepoint 2013 VM on Windows Server 2012 R2 VM.

       

      I am using the following information as a guide from this TechNet article:  Storage and SQL Server capacity planning and configuration (SharePoint Server 2013)

       

      ------------------------------------------------------------------------------

      Configure databases

      The following guidance describes best practices to plan for as you configure each database in your environment.

      Separate and prioritize your data among disks

      Ideally, you should place the tempdb database, content databases, Usage database, search databases, and SQL Server 2008 R2 with SP1 and SQL Server 2012 transaction logs on separate physical hard disks.

      The following list provides some best practices and recommendations for prioritizing data:

      • When you prioritize data among faster disks, use the following ranking:In a heavily read-oriented portal site, prioritize data over logs.
        1. Tempdb data files and transaction logs
        2. Database transaction log files
        3. Search databases, except for the Search administration database
        4. Database data files

      ------------------------------------------------------------------------------

       

      I'm considering the following volume setup:   (I am very open to suggestions)

       

      1. C:\ - Standard ESX 5 Policy volume through vSphere (standalone) - 4KB cached
      2. D:\ - TempDB Data and Log together (Direct iSCSI from VM guest) 8KB Non-cached  (64KB NTFS cluster size)
      3. E:\ - Transaction Log (Direct iSCSI from VM guest) 8KB Non-cached  (64KB NTFS cluster size)
      4. F:\ - Transaction Data (Direct iSCSI from VM guest) 8KB Cached  (64KB cluster size)

       

      Do I need a seperate volume for the search databases?   And does the Search Administration database go in the same location as the primary Transaction Log/Data?

        • Re: What is the ideal volume configuration for a Microsoft SharePoint 2013 VM?
          Andrew Wark Wayfarer

          That looks pretty good and personally I would separate out the search DB to alleviate any IO contention (I'm not sure what you're using to connect be it 1 Gig ISCSI or 10 Gig ISCSI). Right now with our VM - Nimble environment we're doing an entire remapping of the ISCSI layout so it's a big chore to get it right. Since you won't run into any target limits with using a VMDK for another volume for the search, why not just make another volume? It's all direct attached to the VM anyway so seems like it wouldn't hurt.

           

          Just my thoughts on it.

          • Re: What is the ideal volume configuration for a Microsoft SharePoint 2013 VM?
            David Tan Adventurer

            Looks like this is more a SQL question than a Sharepoint one

             

            I've got some SQL on Nimble Storage related articles on my blog which I'll be adding to more over time

             

            http://blog.cosiemodo.com/2013/11/05/sql-server-on-nimble-storage--storage-layout.aspx

             

            Without knowing your snapshot backup and replication requirements, your layout looks good. The only difference might be the block size on the transaction log volume. IO size for tlogs varies quite a lot but they can be very small <2KB so a 4KB block size is what I use.

             

            The advise of splitting databases across drives is more of an old school thing when DBA's and Storage admins used to create various raid sets for specific workloads for the database (remember they mention physical hard disks in your reference which is not what we are dealing with on a Nimble Storage Array). All iop writes are channelled from network to memory, compressed then written as a stripe across all spindles. Reads are essentially the reverse. Locating IO on different volumes makes no difference to this process, so adding extra volumes is only going to consume valuable volumes on the array (there is a 255 volume per array limit), for no extra benefit (if anything more of an overhead to maintain). So keep all your databases on the same pair of volumes. You can potentially push more IOPs by adding more data files to the database - SQL can then use some threads on one data file while other threads are busy on the other data file.

              • Re: What is the ideal volume configuration for a Microsoft SharePoint 2013 VM?
                Alex Goltz Adventurer


                Hi David,

                That's a good blog post.  I'm really interested in your migration path from NetApp/NFS datastores.  We DID NOT migrate from NetApp.  However, I can't seem to figure out what the big hurdle is to migrate off of NFS.

                That's a good point on the "different RAID sets" note.  We are only seperating volumes if the "cache" option is different.

                I've heard the point on "4KB for Logs" before.  Either way (4 or 8 KB) I think a user should be ok.  As long as they don't cache it and they format the NTFS volume with 64KB blocks.

                If you could briefly share your thoughts on moving from NetApp, that would be awesome.

                 

                Thanks,

                Alex G

                  • Re: What is the ideal volume configuration for a Microsoft SharePoint 2013 VM?
                    David Tan Adventurer

                    Hi Alex,

                     

                    We migrated from NetApp but with iSCSI attached luns to Nimble iSCSI attached volumes. There are probably a few different ways to do this but I chose wearing an outage and performing a straight data copy due to simplicity and being able to semi-automate the process (in total about 2600 Netapp luns were migrated to 1300 Nimble Volumes over 7 arrays in about 8 weeks).

                     

                    Yes totally agree the important property of the TLog performance profile will be cache being disabled. 4KB vs 8KB block size probably matters very little.

                     

                    We didn't migrate VMDK's and these still exist on Netapp NFS datastores. I would love to see these move to Nimble as well but I have no control in this area. There was great hesitation for the team to move from NetApp/NFS to Nimble/vmfs and in the end they didn't even try it. I would have thought the benefit of increased performance and reliability (not to mention cost, space power) would be incentive enough to suffer some short term pain in migration and process change. Would love to see Nimble support NFS natively as I think they would increase their market share.

                     

                    Cheers

                      • Re: What is the ideal volume configuration for a Microsoft SharePoint 2013 VM?
                        Alex Goltz Adventurer

                        Thanks again David.  I've heard that same NFS to VMFS scenario before.  The downtime of migrating a large number of VMs seems to be what scares alot of Admins.

                          • Re: What is the ideal volume configuration for a Microsoft SharePoint 2013 VM?
                            Justin Rich Adventurer

                            downtime? what down time? I migrated all my VMs off Isilon which was NFS mounted datastores over to nimble, took a while, but wasnt that big of a deal, the PowerShell script to do it was also really straight forward.

                             

                             

                            $ds = get-datastore Nimble*  #mine are all called nimble01 02 etc etc

                            $vms = get-vm  #can filter based on harddisk or whatever, depends on what needs to move

                             

                            for($i=0;$i-lt $vms.count;$i++)

                            {

                                move-vm -vm $vms[$i] -Datastore $ds[$i%($ds.count)] -DiskStorageFormat Thin

                            }

                             

                             

                            let it rip and come back in a few days

                             

                             

                            you could get a little more complex to monitor datastore usage and also move multiple at a time, but for me and the VMs i had to move, this was fine. If you wanted to be a little safer about things it wouldnt really be all that hard.

                             

                            im so glad we are moving away from isilon

                              • Re: What is the ideal volume configuration for a Microsoft SharePoint 2013 VM?
                                David Tan Adventurer

                                Let me find out the reasons they were not keen to move, but I think it was first the migration process, then the process change around provisioning and DR. I really think they were simply happy with how things work currently and did not want to move. The VM environment is HUGE! Approx 65 clusters, 500 hosts and 5800 VM's so I guess any task that size is daunting, but in the IT world nothing stands still and its either move with the times or get left behind. The pros to moving this amount of storage from NetApp to Nimble should be a no-brainer especially when a datacenter migration is on the horizon where space and power is so constrained. Should be killing 2 birds with 1 stone, but I'm sure I don't have to convince anyone here

                                • Re: What is the ideal volume configuration for a Microsoft SharePoint 2013 VM?
                                  Andrew Wark Wayfarer

                                  Now when you do this migration, how do you deal with the latency and slowness on the machines while performing the move? If I storage motion a SQL vm it'll all but die.

                        • Re: What is the ideal volume configuration for a Microsoft SharePoint 2013 VM?
                          Justin Rich Adventurer

                          Yeah i only moved 100 or so VMs so it wasnt too big of a deal, but, it also wasnt really hard, just took a lot of time.

                           

                          I REALLY hate isilon, and NAS as a datastore location. especially with err... cant recall if it was 5.1 or not, but the storage DRS and the fact that you get more insight in to performance. oh well

                          • Re: What is the ideal volume configuration for a Microsoft SharePoint 2013 VM?
                            Justin Rich Adventurer

                            my systems have been fine. There really shouldnt be any issues with doing that. Actually i think what it proves is you need to get off the NAS storage

                            really depends on how the env is setup, but, if its all setup correctly there should be little impact from doing that.

                             

                            you could also easily modify the script so that it only works at night.