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Vanilla UnRaid VM for VMWare

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After having to do this again and not remembering all the quirks to get it running, I saved a copy of this and decided to share it. This is a vanilla Unraid vm using three IDE 50gb virtual disks. I could only get IDE drives to work as Unraid didn't want to play nice with the virtual SCSI controller. The disks are set to start automatically and I have created an array and formatted it. Other than that, everything is stock. This is in VMWare format and a full machine, not just the drives.

 

https://mega.co.nz/#!DA5kyZZA!H89e_x42SQQGRbqYMxKxImaEap0tg5RUeNEOnQnAq-A

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Well.. since I wanted to post up something like this too.. I will post it here.

 

I don't know how many people know, but back in 01, someone created this unraid image for VirtualBox (http://lime-technology.com/forum/index.php?topic=9572.msg94243#msg94243)

I took unRaid 5 beta2 image from that thread and converted to vmdk file. The VirtualBox image was just a hdd image anyway.

 

Create a VM in esxi, add this as the main hdd, and you will be able to boot up the machine. This will be like booting to unraid without any hdd.

 

but again, this is unraaid 5 beta 2, so probably needs to be updated.

 

To update this to the latest unraid, boot up the machine, go to \\tower\flash\ then replace the two file that needs to be replaced

 

here's the file

 

https://mega.co.nz/#!M58ljS6A!TkHakWeygkZNqTi1WwfKo0gMAdsDK2NRcAchg1vndNo

 

 

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Thanks. I was going to ask someone to post a bootable unraid .vmdk for me.

I just got ESX 5.1 running on a N54L and have not had the time to make the .vmdk.

 

 

Kudos man!!!

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Note you CANNOT update an old VMDK by going to \\tower\flash.. the VMDK itself is not shared out at all.  You need to attach the vmdk to another VM (windows is easiest), boot up in that and copy the new bzroot/bzimage across.  Then disconnect the VMDK from the Windows VM and boot up the unRAID VM.  The bzroot/bzimage on the flash drive are never actually used in an ESXi environment - the flash drive is purely used for config files, plugins and of course the unRAID license key.

 

In my build thread (in my signature below) is a link to a copy of a 5.0RC3-based vmdk that I have been meaning to update for some time - I'll upload a 5.0RC11 version on the weekend.

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Note you CANNOT update an old VMDK by going to \\tower\flash.. the VMDK itself is not shared out at all.  You need to attach the vmdk to another VM (windows is easiest), boot up in that and copy the new bzroot/bzimage across.  Then disconnect the VMDK from the Windows VM and boot up the unRAID VM.  The bzroot/bzimage on the flash drive are never actually used in an ESXi environment - the flash drive is purely used for config files, plugins and of course the unRAID license key.

 

In my build thread (in my signature below) is a link to a copy of a 5.0RC3-based vmdk that I have been meaning to update for some time - I'll upload a 5.0RC11 version on the weekend.

 

i dont know if it will work because i havent tried it but instead of attaching it to another VM you should just be able to mount it in vmware and do it that way. like i said, i havent tried it but i see no reason for it to not work.

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In my experience, IDE virtual disks were horrible in terms of transfer speed, even when running off a SSD - this is regardless of whether they were array or cache disks.

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In my experience, IDE virtual disks were horrible in terms of transfer speed, even when running off a SSD - this is regardless of whether they were array or cache disks.

 

on ESXi 5.1 - I am using RDM and the transfer speed was good on Array and Parity. So I tried to create IDE virtual disks just for Cache only (none RDM) and the transfer speed was horrible - it was like between 5MB/sec to 20MB/sec... I don't know why is it soooo slow! Maybe because it is IDE?

 

It would be good if Unraid can support virtual SCSI somehow? and it might improve the speed..

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The virtual drives are container files. It's not about IDE or SCSI, it's about a layer of virtualization which slows it all down.

it's good enough for testing and development. Not good enough for anything more use full for unraid.

 

 

In the past I had a virtualized container file for Windows XP. I had it for many years and it was good enough.

But not for speed or bulk file sharing.

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The virtual drives are container files. It's not about IDE or SCSI, it's about a layer of virtualization which slows it all down.

it's good enough for testing and development. Not good enough for anything more use full for unraid.

 

I disagree on this point.  It might be true on home-user level hardware but do not think the large performance difference is because of the virtualization layer.  The IDE and Buslogic controller are both slower then the LSI SAS controller and all are slower then a non-virtualized card, but most disk IO problems can almost always be traced to the back end storage speed.  It takes quite a lot of disk IO to overwhelm the LSI SAS virtual controller, less so but still a lot for the IDE and Buslogic.  PVSCSI is an awsome adapter and probably the way things are going, but it takes many thousands of IOPS for it to pull ahead of the LSI SAS controller.

 

I have had no problems pulling 6Gbps and 4k IOPS (30 robocopy jobs running at the same time against 100 million <1k file disks) through both LSI SAS virtualized drives and RDM's on a LSI SAS virtualized controller.  Granted the PVSCSI controller might have been even faster, but the virtualized controllers are not that bad.

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The virtual drives are container files. It's not about IDE or SCSI, it's about a layer of virtualization which slows it all down.

it's good enough for testing and development. Not good enough for anything more use full for unraid.

 

I disagree on this point.  It might be true on home-user level hardware but do not think the large performance difference is because of the virtualization layer.  The IDE and Buslogic controller are both slower then the LSI SAS controller and all are slower then a non-virtualized card, but most disk IO problems can almost always be traced to the back end storage speed.  It takes quite a lot of disk IO to overwhelm the LSI SAS virtual controller, less so but still a lot for the IDE and Buslogic.  PVSCSI is an awsome adapter and probably the way things are going, but it takes many thousands of IOPS for it to pull ahead of the LSI SAS controller.

 

I have had no problems pulling 6Gbps and 4k IOPS (30 robocopy jobs running at the same time against 100 million <1k file disks) through both LSI SAS virtualized drives and RDM's on a LSI SAS virtualized controller.  Granted the PVSCSI controller might have been even faster, but the virtualized controllers are not that bad.

 

I was communicating about virtual container drives. The format for virtual disk drives on an existing filesystem.

These are the drives that are actually flat files on the disk.

 

For unRAID, I would strongly recommend against it's use for the Data drives.

 

For an operating system drive or data drive to a self contained application Yes, but for unRAID I would not recommend it.

Unless you have a san with gobs of bandwidth and storage, its not very useful for unRAID. If you ever have to recover your data outside of the VMware environment, you will first have to figure out how to mount the .vmdk on an OS that can support it. Then you may need to fsck it.  God help you if there are bad sectors and the .vmdk has corruption.  That happened to me once and the .vmdk was useless.

 

While VMware states that Virtual container files vs RDM pass through are close to equal speed. there's still a level of virtualization and translation that could slow you down a little or get you into trouble.

 

I'll have to do some speed tests on the raid0 unit as an RDM and a virtual container file.

 

FWIW. I set up a N54L ASMEDIA AS601 SATA III controller to a RAID0 with 2 3TB Seagate 7200RPM drives using RDM.

With the LSI SAS controller on an  I was getting 170MB/s reads.  Same speed as a single 3TB drive.

 

With the PVSCSI controller on the same setup I was getting 230MB/s reads. Same as bare metal unRAID.

 

I'll have to make a .vmdk container file and see how that goes. This will be an interesting experiment. A VMware article says the speed should very close.

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Cool ! Worked right off the bat... Now to wait for my 2-port sata controller, I will use this VM for preclears and testing..

 

Is there an easy way to give the unraid system in the VM a virtual drive (if only of 1GB) ?  That will make it possible to start up the array and mount the flashdrive, making it easy to install new versions of the vmtools plugin for example..

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