Best Practices for ESX Host Partitions
Installing ESX is fast and simple. By default you could click through the installer GUI changing only your local time zone and end up with a stable, dependable host. However, there are some recommended partitioning best practices that should be followed in order to make sure you minimize possible future headaches and create a repeatable and scalable environment.
This post uses content from documents found in the VI Plan and Design Toolkit available to VMware partners. Logging on to Partner Central and accessing > Info Center > VAC > Services is how you find the various toolkits. It also should be pointed out that the partitioning information in this post is for ESX 3.x only, and is not applicable to ESX 3i, 2.x or previous versions.
When installing ESX you quickly reach the Partitioning Options screen. Select the “Recommended” radio button initially. You can then make changes from the Partitioning Disks screen which follows.
Primary Partition Changes
Best practices state that the following partitions should be made “Primary” partitions:
This can be accomplished by selecting each of the aforementioned partitions (one at a time) and clicking the “Edit” button. The configuration options for that partition/file system will be brought up. Select (turn on) the checkbox option near the bottom of the box labeled “Force to be a primary partition”. Do this for each of 3 file systems listed above, clicking “OK” after fixing each file system.
Create New Partitions
Following VMware best practices, it is best to dedicate entire partitions for the following directories:
This can be accomplished by clicking New.
Follow the configurations from the following table, as the file system should reflect these sizes. Click Next when finished.
Local Storage Partitions
This table shows the service console partitions and sizes for each ESX Server host. Some of these recommended partition sizes are larger than the default values. The additional partitions and increased sizes will protect against the critical root partition getting filled up which can lead to issues. Note that this section does not apply for ESX Server 3i. Also, the following partition table uses less than 16 GB of space.
Service Console Partitions and Sizes for Each ESX Server Host
|/boot||ext3||250 MB||Change for additional space for upgrades|
|N/A||swap||1600 MB||Change for maximum service console swap size|
|/||ext3||5120 MB||Change for additional space in root|
|/var||ext3||4096 MB||Create partition to avoid overfilling root with log files|
|/tmp||ext3||1024 MB||Create partition to avoid overfilling root with temporary files|
|/opt||ext3||2048 MB||Create partition to avoid overfilling root with VMware HA log files|
|/home||ext3||1024 MB||Create partition to avoid overfilling root with agent / user files|
|Free Space||(Optional) Auto-configured and used for local VMFS-3 volume (needed for virtual machines running Microsoft’s Clustering Software.|