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 Storage performance over 1GbE - nfs or iscsi, or stay eSATA? 
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Joined: Sun Oct 11, 2009 4:16 am
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Post Storage performance over 1GbE - nfs or iscsi, or stay eSATA?
Greetings all...

Today I'm running ESXi 3.5u4, but planning a move to 4.0 within the next 6 months, probably.

It's a single box (a home-built Shuttle XPC). So right now, I'm sort of flying without a net - no RAID. I'm planning to add a NAS to the setup, accessed via a dedicated NIC at 1G.

In terms of performance, what's going to be better, NFS or iSCSI? The NAS I'm looking at also can be direct attached via eSATA, which is of course going to be faster, but then I'll lose the flexibility using NFS/iSCSI will give (I can split off some of the capacity to be used for networked time machine backups).

I'm only running a handful of VMs (5 full time, 2-3 additional periodically) on the system, which has 8GB of RAM and a quad-core CPU. With the load, I'm not RAM or CPU bound, so my chief concern is storage. Nothing I'm running is particularly i/o intensive, except for the file serving I do (low volume, for me & my wife). Will I be sorely disappointed in the performance of NAS vs connecting via eSATA? If NAS is going to be viable, NFS or iSCSI?

If I've been unclear, or need to clarify any details, by all means, call me out on it. :) Thanks for any sharable wisdom..

Sun Oct 11, 2009 4:27 am
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Joined: Mon Mar 16, 2009 10:13 pm
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Post Re: Storage performance over 1GbE - nfs or iscsi, or stay eSATA?
Between NFS and iSCSI I think you'll find that in general the perform differences will be minimal. It will of course depend on what you use and how it's setup.

Each with other advantages. With NFS you might be able to better backup the VMs as the NFS host will be able to see the VM files while you won't with iSCSI. Both will add a bit of complexity as you'll be dealing with 2 hosts but it'll give you the option to easily add another host and you can then do some HA.

If you stick with local storage, you should get something with battery backed write cache if performance is a concern. Otherwise you might find that NFS / iSCSI might outperform local storage (without BBWC).

Dave Mishchenko
VMware vExpert 2009-2013
Now available - VMware ESXi: Planning, Implementation, and Security
Also available - vSphere Quick Start Guide

Sun Oct 11, 2009 11:40 am
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