According to the vSphere 4 configuration guide, ESX supports a direct PCI device connection for virtual machines running on Intel Nehalem platforms. Nehalem is the Intel 5500 series processors, which are available with the DL380 G6. It's currently supported for some network adapters and has experimental support for certain I/O devices. The Adaptec 39160 isn't one of them unfortunately. Here is a summary:
VMDirectPath I/O device access enhances CPU efficiency in handling workloads that require constant and frequent access to I/O devices by allowing virtual machines to directly access the underlying
hardware devices. Other virtualization features, such as VMotionTM, hardware independence and sharing of physical I/O devices will not be available to the virtual machines using this feature. VMDirectPath I/O for networking I/O devices is fully supported with the Intel 82598 10 Gigabit Ethernet Controller and Broadcom 57710 and 57711 10 Gigabit Ethernet Controller. It is experimentally supported for storage I/O devices with the QLogic QLA25xx 8Gb Fibre Channel, the Emulex LPe12000 8Gb Fibre Channel, and the LSI 3442e-R and 3801e (1068 chip based) 3Gb SAS adapters.
As a matter of fact, I don't see the Adaptec 39160 in the Hardware Compatibility List.
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... or virtual machines running on Intel Nehalem platforms. Nehalem is the Intel 5500 series processors
That's the supported way, but PCI passtrough also works perfect on Intel 5400 Chipset (with VTd) and Intel Xeon 5410 with an Adaptec 19160 passed to a VM for attaching the tapedrive for the backupserver.
I have the very same situation with a 39160 that can't be used as a passthrough device. Now, my problem is that I can't even see it in the storage devices list.
Is this normal?
Thanks in advance
Because you dont find any U160 SCSI based HBA on the HCL anymore. With vSphere any driver have to be in 64Bit Code and it looks like this kills a lot of the legacy Hardware. Just buy a U320 with LSI or Adapatec Chipsset and it'll work again. To be sure take a look to the HCL first
I found a list of removed devices in ESXi 4 on http://vm-help.com/esx40i/Hardware_support_removed.php
But for me this have nothing to do with VMDirectPath because the list for this devices is very very short.
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Add Link to the Whitebox list which show removed devices on ESXi 4