Virtual File Server Storage in WHS and HyperV

I have finally got the storage aspects of my virtual file server project complete. Hardware turned out to be my biggest challenge. At first I ordered the wrong 8-port SuperMicro controller (physically and electrically incompatible). I returned that, in favor of a Dell PERC 5/i 8-port hardware RAID SAS controller.

I got that, but I just couldn't get it to start under Windows 2008. The controller was detected and its BIOS executed, but I had the dreaded and mysterious "device couldn't start" error in the Device Manager. I gave up, assuming some sort of incompatibility with my Intel DG33TL board, or perhaps G33 boards in general.

Finally I picked up a couple cheap SIL 3114 4-port controllers. I flashed them to non-RAID BIOS and was up and running in no-time. I now have 7 disks physically installed in the machine.

I have Windows 2008 running with the Hyper-V role. I have one VM configured to use 6 of the 7 disks as pass-through devices. This VM is running Windows Home Server (WHS). I have a series of other virtual machines that I'm using as well, but those will have virtual hard drives, as opposed to pass-through devices.


They disks are arranged as such:
  • Drive 1 (1.5TB)
    • 1TB system partition, with Windows 2008 installed
    • 373GB free (for future ESX, KVM, or XEN experimentation)
  • Drive 2 (1.5TB) - pass-through to WHS VM
    • 20GB system system partition, with WHS installed
    • Remaining space dedicated to the WHS storage pool
  • Drive 3 (1.5TB) - pass-through to WHS VM
    • 1.5TB dedicated to the WHS storage pool
  • Drive 4 (1.5TB) - pass-through to WHS VM
    • 1.5TB dedicated to the WHS storage pool
  • Drive 5 (1.0TB) - pass-through to WHS VM
    • 1.0TB dedicated to the WHS storage pool
  • Drive 6 (1.0TB) - pass-through to WHS VM
    • 1.0TB dedicated to the WHS storage pool
  • Drive 7 (1.0TB) - pass-through to WHS VM
    • 1.0TB dedicated to the WHS storage pool
In addition, I still have 5 disks that are not physically installed in the computer. Three are 1.0TB disks in a Venus eSATA/USB enclosure, another 1TB disk with no enclosure, and a Seagate 250GB disk. The two bare disks will be used with the SATA hot-swap bay.

The disks in the Venus enclosures, along with the bare disks, will be used for backing up the WHS server, transporting large sets of data, and if 7.28TB isn't enough, I can add them to the WHS storage pool.

My last storage task is going to be to pick up a couple eSATA brackets so I can attach eSATA disks to the two unused ports on the second SIL 3114.

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