I have 3 Dell PowerEdge R820 servers running in duplex mode, directly attached to a Dell PowerVault MD3220 and MD1220 expansion enclosure. Each R820 has a Dell H200E SAS 6Gbps HBA dual port external controller so I can attach directly to the MD3220 and avoid using iSCSI.

Each R820 has Windows Server 2012 R2 installed and are part of a 3-node failover cluster running Hyper-V. The VMs are stored on separate CSV volumes on the MD3220.

I’m migrating drives from an existing MD3220 to a new MD3220 which has several Dell Premium Features enabled. Below is a summary of the new MD3220 and the SAS drives I have available for use in the array.

MD3220 Specifications:
RAID Controller Module in Enclosure 0, Slot 0
Firmware version:   08.20.24.60
NVSRAM version:  N26X0-820890-008
Data Cache:           4GB

RAID Controller Module in Enclosure 0, Slot 1
Firmware version:  08.20.24.60
NVSRAM version:  N26X0-820890-008
Data Cache:           4GB

MD3220 Premium Features (installed/enabled):
Additional Physical Disk Support
High-Performance Tier
SSD Cache

Available Physical Drives:
SAS SSD
6 x 200GB SLC SSD SAS Drive SANDISK LB206M (Dell PN: 6R5R8)
SAS HDD
24 x 900GB 10K SAS 2.5" 6Gbps HDD Seagate ST9900605SS Savvio 10k.5 SED (Dell PN: XRRVX) one additional drive for use in case of a drive failure.
3 x 300GB 15K SAS 2.5" 6Gbps HDD Seagate ST9300653SS (Dell PN: H8DVC)
1 x 300GB 15K SAS 2.5" 6Gbps HDD Toshiba MK3001GRRB (Dell PN: NWH7V)

I need some advice on setting up the new MD3220 to take full advantage of the SSD caching and high-performance tier features of this MD3220. Since I have so many 900GB HDDs, I’m thinking of creating one large disk group using all 24 as RAID-10 which would give me 10.8 TB. I have VMs of various sizes and was going to create virtual disks of different sizes and place several VMs into a virtual disk based upon the given VM. For example, create a single 2.25 TB virtual disk for exclusive use by an existing VM running SQL 2014. I’m sure this is not the best way to setup SQL Server 2014 in a virtual environment (I can change that later) but for now I need to get the new MD3220 up and running.

I have 22 Hyper-V VMs which are currently using cluster storage on the existing MD3220. Since I have to move the drives from my existing MD3220 to the new MD322 - destroying the array in the process - I'll copy all existing Hyper-V folders and corresponding structures in their entirety (Snapshots, Virtual Hard Disks, Virtual Machines) to local storage on two of the R820's.

Windows Server 2012 R2 Standard - 2nd AD DS (Windows Server 2012 R2)
Windows Server 2012 R2 Standard - SQL 2014
Windows Server 2008 R2 Standard - Oracle 11g
Windows Server 2012 R2 Standard - Oracle 12c
Windows Server 2012 R2 Standard - SQL 2008R2
Windows Server 2012 R2 Standard - SQL 2012
Windows Server 2012 R2 Standard - TestServer01
Windows Server 2012 R2 Standard - TestServer02
Windows Server 2012 R2 Standard - Team Foundation Server 2015
Windows Server 2012 R2 Standard - Application Services

Windows XP Professional (x86) - 3 client VM's

Windows 7 Professional (x86) - 2 client VM's
Windows 10 Enterprise (x64) - 7 client VM's

Questions:

  • I know it will take hours, but is there a way to tell how long it will take to create an RAID-10 array consisting of 24 x 900GB 10K SAS 2.5" 6Gbps HDD's?
  • How should I partition the virtual disks on the MD3220 for the various VM's?
  • Aside from choosing "using SSD cache" when creating the virtual drive, is there anything else I need be aware of to ensure the SSD caching is performing at an optimum level?  

Thank you very much for your help!