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So, I'm looking at rebuilding my home server. My current setup is the following

  • Windows 7 Ultimate
  • 1TB Boot Drive (my smallest drive)
  • Windows Dynamic Spanned volume, continaing 1x 1TB drive, 2x 2TB drives, totalling 5TB.

I am upgrading to a hardware RAID controller, and I would like to run Hyper-V server core. However, I want to retain the ability to join my "file server" to a homegroup, so I must use Windows 7. I know VHDs can only be like 127GB or something, so I obviously need to directly connect disks to my Windows 7 machine. Here is my plan:

  • Server Core 2008 R2 (Hyper-V)
  • 1TB Boot Drive (storing VHDs for boot drives of VMs) - possibly in a RAID 1 with my other 1TB drive
  • 5x 2TB drives (1x 2TB drive hot spare), totalling 10TB, directly attached to a Windows 7 VM, for use of homegroup for this array.

In the past, I directly attached the windows dynamic volume to a Windows 7 VM, and performance was abysmal. The question is, with hardware RAID, will it really make that much of a difference?

Server specs:

  • Intel Core 2 Quad Q9550 2.83GHz
  • Asus Maximus II Formula (PCI-E x16)
  • 8GB DDR2 RAM PC2-6400

(Yes, I know its a bit out of date)

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Home servers are off-topic per the faq –  MDMarra Nov 12 '11 at 16:34
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VHD's were only limited to 127GB on MS's Virtual PC. Hyper-V (and Window's 7's current Virtual PC, I believe) can handle larger VHDs (up to 2TB). –  techie007 Nov 12 '11 at 17:30
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migrated from serverfault.com Nov 12 '11 at 16:41

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1 Answer

I would say the speed depends alot on the raid adapter and the raid level you will be using. But it would be better than the software one. At least the cpu would be available for the VMs when needed and not consumed by the I/O operations of the software raid

According to the Q9550 Product Specs it supports Intel® Virtualization Technology for Directed I/O (VT-d) so you should be able to directly attach the raid volume (constructed by the 5x2TB drives) to the Win 7 VM.

To attach a physical drive to a Hyper-V VM should be like creating/adding a new vhd drive but instead of choosing Virtual hard disk (.vhd) choose Physical disk and select the drive from the drop down menu. The drive you want to attach should be set to Offline in the Hyper-V Server Core installation using Diskpart or Disk Management.

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