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Thin Client and Virtual Machines Thread, ESXi 4.1.0 not seeing RAID in Technical; Ive got an Acer A380 server that has an Apaptec RAID card and also has an Intel on board card. ...
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    RabbieBurns's Avatar
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    ESXi 4.1.0 not seeing RAID

    Ive got an Acer A380 server that has an Apaptec RAID card and also has an Intel on board card. Ive tried both, in various types of raid configurations, but each time I boot off the ESXi CD it only shows the individual drives, not the RAID.

    Am I doing something wrong? Surely ESXi should support this server hardware?
    Last edited by RabbieBurns; 9th August 2011 at 03:56 AM.

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    ESXi doesn't support the RAID functionality of the onboard Intel and Adaptec SATA controllers in the Acer AR380 F1 because they both require drivers for the RAID to work. This is why you only see the individual drives.

    You would either need to get a proper PCIe hardware-based RAID controller which is on VMware's HCL or VM-Help e.g. LSI MegaRAID, or use some form of shared storage.

  3. Thanks to Arthur from:

    RabbieBurns (9th August 2011)

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    RabbieBurns's Avatar
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    Is it not possible to add drivers to ESXi? Would ESX resolve this problem?

    I had a look at the VM Ware HCL but couldnt make any sense of it. I did a search and it listed the F1 as compatible but i couldnt find any specifics about RAID.

    What PCIe card would you recommend?

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    jamesfed's Avatar
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    Not that it helps but its one of the reasons to use Hyper-V it works with anything that Windows Server/7 can run on.

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    Quote Originally Posted by RabbieBurns View Post
    I did a search and it listed the F1 as compatible but I couldn't find any specifics about RAID.
    Intel's ICH10 controller is supported by ESXi, but only when you use the drives individually.

    Quote Originally Posted by RabbieBurns View Post
    What PCIe card would you recommend?
    How many HDDs are you looking to use in your array and which RAID level do you need?

    Quote Originally Posted by RabbieBurns View Post
    Is it not possible to add drivers to ESXi?
    Not in this case.

    Quote Originally Posted by RabbieBurns View Post
    Would ESX resolve this problem?
    No.

  7. 2 Thanks to Arthur:

    andrew-virtusolve (9th August 2011), RabbieBurns (9th August 2011)

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    RabbieBurns's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jamesfed View Post
    Not that it helps but its one of the reasons to use Hyper-V it works with anything that Windows Server/7 can run on.
    \

    I use HyperV for my SAN virtualisation of servers. I just have this one Appliance that is provided as a VMware image thing and is only supported on ESX. I dont really want to have to install 2008R2 Just to get Raid functinality, and then VMware Server.

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    RabbieBurns's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Arthur View Post
    Intel's ICH10 controller is supported by ESXi, but only when you use the drives individually.
    How many HDDs are you looking to use in your array and which RAID level do you need?
    Not in this case.
    No.
    I have 3 HDDs and was wanting to just mirror them with a live hot spare. Or Raid5, but I think the first option would be better.

    I'm a bit confused as to why there are 2 RAID options though, surely the adaptec one is a proper bit of hardware. Is ESX just that crap that it only supports a hand full of drivers?

    This server has bays for I think it is 12 hot swap disks. How will putting in an pcie card affect the hot swap capabilities?

    I might just put blooming 2008R2 on it and use VMWare server to save all the hassle.

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    vmware 'server' is a desktop virtualisation tool, not to be relied on - the Intel raid offloads processing to the CPU thats probably why its not supported, the adaptec may do the same or its just an old chipset...

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    Quote Originally Posted by RabbieBurns View Post
    I have 3 HDDs and was wanting to just mirror them with a live hot spare. Or RAID5, but I think the first option would be better.
    LSI MegaRAID cards would be good choices. The 9240-4i, 9260-8i and 9260-16i are all available directly from Acer (P/Ns: TC.32300.028, TC.32300.034 and TC.32300.042 respectively) along with the necessary mini SAS cable(s) to connect them to the hotswappable drive bays on your AR380 (you could probably source the cards/cables cheaper elsewhere though).

    Another alternative would be the Dell PERC 6/i (P/N: 405-10837). This is supported by ESXi and costs £130.99 ($210.60) directly from Dell (which is surprisingly cheap considering it comes with 256MB cache, a battery backup kit and supports RAID 0/1/5/6/10/50/60).

    Quote Originally Posted by RabbieBurns View Post
    I'm a bit confused as to why there are 2 RAID options though, surely the Adaptec one is a proper bit of hardware.
    I'm not sure why there are two either, but if you take a look inside the .inf for the Adaptec driver you will notice it is listed as a HostRAID device (Model No.: AAR-1220SA) which means it definitely isn't a hardware RAID controller.

    Quote Originally Posted by RabbieBurns View Post
    Is ESX just that crap that it only supports a hand full of drivers?
    VMware only support hardware-based RAID controllers from what I can tell. You would have exactly the same issue with XenServer. As nicklec mentioned, software-based RAID solutions use the hosts CPU and RAM because they lack any of their own.

    What is fakeRAID?
    In the last few years, a number of hardware products have come onto the market claiming to be IDE or SATA RAID controllers. These have shown up in a number of desktop/workstation motherboards and lower-end servers such as the HP DL360 G5, if ordered without the optional RAID card. Virtually none of these are true hardware RAID controllers. Instead, they are simply multi-channel disk controllers combined with special BIOS configuration options and software drivers to assist the OS in performing RAID operations. This gives the appearance of a hardware RAID, because the RAID configuration is done using a BIOS setup screen, and the operating system can be booted from the RAID. With the advent of Terabyte disk drives, FakeRAID is becoming a popular option for entry-level small business servers to simply mirror 2 1.5 TB drives, and dispense with an expensive hardware RAID 5 array.

    Older Windows versions required a driver loaded during the Windows install process for these cards, but that is changing as it has already changed in FreeBSD (which has FakeRAID support built into the ATAPI disk driver). Under Linux, which has built-in softRAID functionality that pre-dates these devices, the hardware is normally seen for what it is -- multiple hard drives and a multi-channel IDE/SATA controller. Hence, fakeRAID. (Source)
    Quote Originally Posted by RabbieBurns View Post
    This server has bays for I think it is 12 hot swap disks. How will putting in an PCIe card affect the hot swap capabilities?
    You will still be able to hotswap drives. The PCIe RAID card would be connected to the SATA/SAS backplane.

    Quote Originally Posted by RabbieBurns View Post
    I might just put blooming 2008R2 on it and use VMWare server to save all the hassle.
    I wouldn't bother with VMware Server personally. It isn't officially supported on 2008 R2 (due to it being EOL'd over a year ago) and has some pretty serious bugs which still remain in v2.0.2.
    Last edited by Arthur; 10th August 2011 at 03:17 AM.

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    RabbieBurns (10th August 2011)

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    RabbieBurns's Avatar
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    Thanks, Ill look into getting a RAID card thats supported soon. I'll just run it on one HDD for now,

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    Quote Originally Posted by Arthur View Post
    LSI MegaRAID cards would be good choices. The 9240-4i, 9260-8i and 9260-16i are all available directly from Acer (P/Ns: TC.32300.028, TC.32300.034 and TC.32300.042 respectively) along with the necessary mini SAS cable(s) to connect them to the hotswappable drive bays on your AR380 (you could probably source the cards/cables cheaper elsewhere though).
    One a quick note: I'd normally have recommended LSI too, but having just bought a 9240-8i I've found out it's a pile of

    Just an FYI before you buy.

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