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  • 1.  Running a File Server on ESX

    Posted Oct 05, 2010 08:15 AM


    We recently had to transfer our file server onto the virtual enviroment. Since then we have had issues with drop outs from the file stores, for example when deleting of transfering large files.

    Its possible its our SAN, but i was wondering if ESXi is actually capable of running a file server? We have roughly 200 users but not many high volume users, although we do redirect My Documents to the server.

    The host its running on is a Dell R710, 2x 6 core 2.6 Xeon, 32gb of memory, 2x 4gb HBAs connected to our FibreCAT sx80.

    its running with about 5 other servers but they barely even register on the host other than 24gb of memory usage.

    As i understand VMware cant load balence between the two HBAs and just uses them as failover?

    Any information, tips etc would be much appriciated.



  • 2.  RE: Running a File Server on ESX

    Posted Oct 05, 2010 08:29 AM

    ESXi is capable of running any type of workload, providing you have the necessary hardware for the task. A file server shouldn't have any issues. How many users are on the server? did you virtualize it or installed it from scratch ?

    Also, is this the only VM with dropouts, have you tested your other VMs (as you say they have low traffic?)

    If this post has been helpful/solved your issue, please mark the thread and award points as you see fit. Thanks!

  • 3.  RE: Running a File Server on ESX

    Posted Oct 05, 2010 08:49 AM


    Thanks for the reply.

    The server is a new build

    We have roughly 200 users, most only access the odd bit of shared data spread sheets etc. The highest traffic users are design throwing about a few large images, but there is only 8 of them so it doesnt add up to that much most of the time.

    I'm pretty sure its an issue with the SAN, although its graphs never show much traffic travelling through it. It does have a total of 29 servers running off a 4gb link which is probably pushing it a bit.

    I have to admit i havent tried overloading the other servers, i will give that a try.

    Thanks for the help.

  • 4.  RE: Running a File Server on ESX

    Posted Oct 05, 2010 09:01 AM


    I have a few hosts connected to two Fibrecat sx100s. For every LUN I configured 8 paths, but you're right, VMware only uses them as failover and not for load balancing. You can see in the configuration tab in the storage-adapter-configuration which paths are active and which one has I/O on it.

    A Fileserver itself shouldn't be a problem. I run several here, with about 400 users and a total amount of 4-7 TB data per server.

    Have you checked the SAN log? Or tried to do a firmware upgrade of the SAN? For the sx100 there was a big fw update in march this year.


  • 5.  RE: Running a File Server on ESX

    Posted Oct 05, 2010 10:04 AM

    The firmware is old, very old to tell the truth but it is a bit difficult at the moment to do that kind of an upgrade.

    However I just tried to overload it from a different server on the same host, but it stayed steady as a rock.

    This suggests its the server itself.

    How do you guys have your servers setup? we have a setup that i would imagine isn't recomended with the server and the filestores on the same SAN.

    The server is on one Virtual Disk, and the filestores are connected via a Raw Data Map. What seems to happen during the lockup is we loose connection to the shares, and the server pretty much becomes unresponsive, but i havent seen any issues with the other servers on the host. The server is a 2003 Standard with about 15 standard windows shares.

    Do you apply any kind of IO limits etc?

    Thanks for the help.