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Server partitioning and VMware

Wondering how you should partition your host server for optimal VMware virtualization? Read this expert response by Andrew Kutz to find out.

I have a question about VMware partitioning. If I have a server which is going to have virtual machines installed on it, how should the real server be partitioned? Also what is a good partitioning method for the VMs installed on the machine?

Host server partitioning depends upon what OS (operating system) is running on the host. I like to create 2 partitions for Windows host servers -- 1 for system files and 1 for data files. I put the data partition on a separate, faster drive (preferably a RAID of some sort). For Linux host servers my file system table usually resembles:

primary
/boot     200 M
/         6 G
swap      1.5* RAM (VMware recommendation for VMware Server hosts)

logical
/tmp      1.5* RAM (VMware recommendation for VMware Server hosts)
/home     300 M
/var      5 G
/var/lib/vmware  rest of disk

Again, I usually put the VMs (/var/lib/vmware) on a separate physical disk to ensure speed.

As for what is a good partitioning method for the VMs installed on the machine -- that is an impossible question to provide a simple answer to. Use what I have shown you for the hosts as a starting point, but take into account the space requirements and purpose of the servers you will be provisioning and you should do fine.

This was first published in March 2007
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