In House Test Lab

My test lab , mainly for Hyper-V, consists of a Asus P5k WiFi/Premium motherboard, Q6600 quad core processor overclocked to 3.0Ghz, 8Gb ram, and a 5n3 IcyDock hot swap tray. I have two 300Gb VelociRaptors in RAID 0 running Windows Server 2008 R2 and two 1Tb Western Digital RE3’s in RAID 0 for the virtual machine store. I’m currently getting 230Mb/s read and 215Mb/s write on the VelociRaptors and 231Mb/s read and 214Mb/s write on the RE3’s. Before I updated to the RE3’s I was running a single 500Gb Western Digital Black hard drive as the host drive and a 250Gb Seagate drive for the virtual machine store with 4Gb of RAM.

The performance on the 500Gb and the 250Gb was ok for 2 virtual machines, VM’s, running at a time and was barley useable when you would run 3 virtual machines let alone a whole test domain. I ended up bringing a lot of my VM’s down to 512Mb ram so I could give the Exchange server 2Gb and the SharePoint server 1Gb. It was so bad I would have to wait minutes for all the servers come back from being paused or ,even worse , turning on the Exchange server. I ended up upgrading everything since I spent more time waiting than learning or testing.

I also built a second workstation/server so I could test out iSCSI and gigabit Ethernet. Something about using network storage as your local hard drive seems pretty cool. You can have a fast server hosting the VM’s and have a medium fast (translation – way cheaper) machine for storage. The box, Antec P180, consists of a P5Q Turbo motherboard with a E7300 dual core processor and 4Gb of ram and a 74GB VelociRaptor running Windows Storage Server 2008 with two 1Tb first generation RE3’s and a dual port PCI-e gigabit network card. It also has a 5n3 IcyDock tray with a 500Gb drive and a 160Gb drive with Windows 7 for random OS and software testing. Ill  write up another post about the IcyDock, soar they have been great. I moved twice and rearranged the two PC’s more times than I can remember and the docks still work.

A few of the VM’s I built are member servers, one is a domain controller, two SQL servers, a Exchange server, and a Data Protection Manager server for backup. Depending on a few things I might also build one or two Windows 7 machines so I can carry out some client side testing. Below you can see physical map of the lab.


Physical Map

CHI-HV1 V3 Virtual Build

I also purchased a few Cat6 cables from MonoPrice to test out iSCSI performance. I want to see if a switch slows down the transfer speed and if bridging the ports on the  gigabit cards will have any performance increase. All together I’m glad I upgraded the hard drives along with the ram. In the end virtual machine juggling isn’t fun.

I Found this post in my drafts last week. It looks to 10-12 months old. Ill work on getting a newer of my lab this month.