10 VMware Datastore Best Practices

Datastores are an important part of any VMware environment. Here are 10 best practices to follow to ensure optimal performance and reliability.

Datastores in VMware vSphere are used to store virtual machine files, ISO images, and other files used by the vSphere environment. Datastores can be created using local storage, SAN storage, or NAS storage.

When configuring datastores, there are a few best practices to follow in order to ensure optimal performance and availability. In this article, we will discuss 10 of those best practices.

1. Use VMFS-5

VMFS-5 was introduced with vSphere 5.0 and offers a number of benefits over VMFS-3, the previous version. One of the most important benefits is support for larger files. With VMFS-5, you can have up to 64TB per file, compared to 2TB with VMFS-3. This is important because it means you can store more virtual machines on each datastore, which can improve performance by reducing contention.

Other benefits of VMFS-5 include:

– Improved scalability – VMFS-5 can address up to 256 hosts and 8,000 VMs, compared to 128 hosts and 3,000 VMs with VMFS-3
– Better storage efficiency – VMFS-5 uses smaller block sizes, which reduces wasted space
– Enhanced security – VMFS-5 supports AES-256 encryption

If you’re still using VMFS-3, upgrading to VMFS-5 is a no-brainer.

2. Use Multiple Datastores for I/O Isolation

When you have multiple virtual machines running on the same datastore, they are all sharing the same I/O resources. This can lead to contention and performance problems.

By using multiple datastores, you can isolate the I/O for each virtual machine so that they are not competing for resources. This will improve performance and prevent contention issues.

There are a few different ways to configure I/O isolation, but the most common is to use one datastore for each virtual machine. This ensures that each virtual machine has its own dedicated I/O resources and prevents any contention issues.

3. Use Storage vMotion to Balance Loads

As you add more virtual machines to a datastore, the performance of that datastore can start to degrade. This is because the datastore becomes more fragmented and I/O operations take longer to complete.

Storage vMotion helps to solve this problem by allowing you to move virtual machines to different datastores. This way, you can evenly distribute the load across all of your datastores and avoid any one datastore becoming overloaded.

To use Storage vMotion, simply right-click on a virtual machine and select “Migrate.” Then, choose the destination datastore and click “OK.”

4. Disable Unnecessary Services on the ESXi Host

When you install ESXi on a server, it comes with a lot of services enabled by default. While some of these services are necessary for the proper functioning of the host, others are not. The more services that are running on the host, the more resources they will consume. This can lead to performance issues, particularly if the host is already under resource contention.

Therefore, it’s important to review the list of services that are running on the host and disable any that are not absolutely necessary. You can do this using the vSphere Client or vSphere Web Client. Simply connect to the vCenter Server, select the host in question, and go to Configure > System > Services. From here, you can see a list of all the services that are running on the host. If there is a service that you don’t need, simply click on it and select Stop.

5. Don’t Overcommit Storage Resources

When you overcommit storage resources, you’re essentially allocating more disk space to virtual machines than is actually available on the physical storage device. This can lead to performance issues because the physical storage device will be constantly trying to keep up with the demand of the virtual machines.

It’s important to allocate only as much storage to a virtual machine as you expect it to use. If you need to give a virtual machine more storage than is available on the physical storage device, you can add additional storage devices or create a storage pool.

6. Avoid Using NFS Datastores

NFS datastores are less performant than block-based storage solutions like iSCSI or Fibre Channel. They also don’t offer the same level of security and protection against data loss.

Additionally, NFS datastores can be more difficult to manage and troubleshoot. If you’re using NFS, you’ll need to be sure that your network is properly configured and that you have the necessary expertise on hand to manage the datastore.

If you’re looking for a high-performance, reliable, and secure datastore solution, we recommend using iSCSI or Fibre Channel.

7. Monitor Your Datastore Usage

As your datastore usage grows, you’ll want to keep an eye on how much free space is available. If you’re not monitoring your datastore usage, you may not realize that you’re running low on free space until it’s too late.

Not only will this cause problems with your VMware environment, but it can also lead to data loss. To avoid these problems, make sure you’re monitoring your datastore usage and keeping an eye on the amount of free space available.

8. Create a Backup Plan

If you lose data stored on a datastore, it can be difficult or impossible to recover. That’s why it’s important to have a backup plan in place so that you can restore lost data if necessary.

There are several different ways to back up data stored on VMware datastores. One option is to use VMware’s built-in snapshot feature. This allows you to take a “snapshot” of the state of a virtual machine at a particular point in time, which can be used for restoring the VM to that state if necessary.

Another option is to use third-party backup software. This can provide more features and flexibility than using VMware’s snapshot feature, but it comes at a cost.

No matter which method you choose, it’s important to test your backup plan regularly to make sure it works as expected.

9. Protect Your Data with Redundancy

If you have a datastore that’s not redundant, and it fails, you will lose all of the data on that datastore. This can be catastrophic, especially if you don’t have backups.

Redundancy means having multiple copies of your data, so that if one copy is lost, you still have others. There are many ways to achieve redundancy, such as using RAID, mirroring, or replication.

RAID is the most common form of redundancy, and it’s what most people think of when they hear the word “redundancy.” RAID stands for “redundant array of independent disks,” and it involves using multiple physical disks to store your data.

There are different types of RAID, but the most common are RAID 1 and RAID 5. RAID 1 is also known as mirroring, because it involves creating an exact copy of your data on another disk. RAID 5 is similar, but it uses a technique called “striping” to spread the data across multiple disks.

Both RAID 1 and RAID 5 provide good protection against data loss, but they have different trade-offs. RAID 1 is more expensive, because you need twice as many disks, but it’s also faster, because you can read from both disks simultaneously. RAID 5 is cheaper, because you only need one extra disk, but it’s slower, because you can only read from one disk at a time.

The best way to protect your data is to use a combination of RAID 1 and RAID 5. This is called “RAID 10,” and it’s the fastest and most reliable way to store your data.

Of course, even with redundancy, you should always have backups. Backups are important because they give you a way to recover your data if something goes wrong with your primary storage.

10. Keep Up with VMware Updates

New versions of VMware software often include performance improvements, bug fixes, and new features that can make a big difference in the stability and efficiency of your datastore. By keeping up with the latest releases, you can ensure that your datastore is running as smoothly as possible.

Additionally, new releases of VMware software are often required in order to take advantage of new features and functionality from storage vendors. For example, if you want to use a new storage array with your VMware environment, it’s likely that you’ll need to upgrade to the latest version of vSphere in order to get full compatibility.

Keeping up with VMware updates can be a bit of a hassle, but it’s definitely worth the effort in order to keep your datastore running optimally.


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