1 2 Previous Next 18 Replies Latest reply on Mar 6, 2015 4:57 AM by JarryG

    ESXi 5.5 and RAID

    erich1527 Lurker

      Good afternoon,


      I recently purchased a Cooler Master case and to build a home virtual server. The specs are:


           CPU: Intel Core i7 3770K @ 3.50GHz

           Mobo: ASUSTeK COMPUTER INC. P8Z77-V (LGA1155)

           HDDs: 3 2TB


      I chose to install the latest version of ESXi (5.5). The first issue I had was the NIC not being recognized. I was able to correct this issue by injecting a e1000 driver into the ISO using ESXi-Customizer.


      The next issue I have run into is that the software RAID I built off of my Asus motherboard is not being recognized by ESXi's installer. In BIOS, I have:


           BIOS Version 2104

           Intel Virtualization Technology - Enabled

           SATA Mode - RAID

           3.6TB RAID5 (Status: HEALTHY)


      I spoke with Asus this morning and they told me everything looked fine on their end. However, they told me they do not specifically support any VMware products. He suggested I find an Async driver to add to the ISO. I can not find this and have found conflicting reports of whether or not this configuration is even supported.


      In short, can my P8Z77-V's RAID array be seen by ESXi 5.5 and if so, how?





        • 1. Re: ESXi 5.5 and RAID
          gregsn Enthusiast

          Software RAID controllers are not supported by ESXi.  If you plan on running an onboard RAID system, you'll need to install a hardware RAID controller.  Either Adaptec or LSI brands would be a good place to start.

          • 2. Re: ESXi 5.5 and RAID
            mpogr Novice

            It is extremely annoying that in ESXi 5.5 VMWare dropped support of even booting off so-called "software RAID" controllers. I just tried upgrading one of my hosts from 5.1 to 5.5. This host has a pair of 60GB SSDs in RAID-1 on mobo built-in Marvell controller used for ESXi booting, scratch and local cache, and was working beautifully under 5.1. The upgrade process went fine and I was able to boot into 5.5, but then the host lost configuration persistency because it couldn't see the drive it's booted off! And the next reboot brought me back into 5.1!

            Why have they done that? Any sensible reason?

            • 3. Re: ESXi 5.5 and RAID
              Josh26 Master

              Fake RAID devices were never supported. This was with good reason - their use in cheap servers account for a large proportion of failures. It's much like Apple not supporting Flash on iPads - it may cost them business but at the end of the day they wanted a stable product.


              If you ever got these working on ESXi 5.1, it was a fluke.

              • 4. Re: ESXi 5.5 and RAID
                mpogr Novice

                Excuse me, but I would like to draw a line here between RAID0/1/10 and any other kind of RAID. The former don't require any excessive calculations and I see absolutely no problem of them being handled by a simple on board controller. Also, these drives are presented to the OS as standard AHCI drives, so OS doesn't even need a special driver to handle them. It looks like VMWare, in ESXi 5.5, began to DELIBERATELY exclude those drives from storage scans, which is something I completely don't understand. Are they being paid by LSI/Adaptec etc. to boost their controller sales?

                • 5. Re: ESXi 5.5 and RAID
                  dhanarajramesh Expert



                       first issue might be caused because of the your motherboard issue, because since you having CPU: Intel Core i7 3770K @ 3.50GHz , this mother board only support this CPU, when u update the BIOS version to 0312.  I'm sure the first issue caused because of the BIOS version why I'm saying because I had the same issue with P9X79 and i updated to recommended version


                  see the link for your CPU supported version from asus


                  • 6. Re: ESXi 5.5 and RAID
                    JarryG Expert

                    "...It looks like VMWare, in ESXi 5.5, began to DELIBERATELY exclude those drives from storage scans..."


                    AFAIK, bios-raid (aka "fake-raid", "software-raid", etc.) was NEVER suppported by ESXi so please stop looking for some VMware<->LSI/Adaptec conspiracy...

                    • 7. Re: ESXi 5.5 and RAID
                      erich1527 Lurker

                      I've been looking at LSI and Adaptec RAID cards... Any model recommendations for a home server?

                      • 8. Re: ESXi 5.5 and RAID
                        gregsn Enthusiast

                        I've had relatively good success with the 5, 6 and 7 series Adaptec controllers.  If you don't need cutting-edge performance, you could pick yourself up an Adaptec 5805 with a battery backup module (or a 5805Z if you can get one for cheap. it uses flash instead of a battery) from eBay for about $250 .  That'll get you 8 ports with reasonably good performance. One issue I've had with the Adaptec controllers is they sometimes hang if you have VT-d enabled on the motherboard.  Just make sure you can disable VT-d on your motherboard before using an Adaptec controller (maybe this issue has been fixed now, but I disable VT-d just to be on the safe side).


                        For LSI, any of the 92xx series controllers should work, but I recommend getting one that has a battery backup module / flash module to protect the write cache memory.  Otherwise your write speed will be horrible if you don't enable write caching.

                        • 9. Re: ESXi 5.5 and RAID
                          mpogr Novice

                          IBM M1015 can typically be found on eBay for 110-140 USD new (with cables!). This card is essentially a rebranded LSI 9240-8i with stripped RAID-5/6 support (but with RAID-0/1/10). It doesn't have any onboard RAM cache and/or battery backup. An additional advantage is it can be flashed with LSI 9211-8i IT firmware, effectively making it a very efficient SAS/SATA HBA, which is extremely popular with home Opensolaris (ZFS) based NAS builders.

                          • 10. Re: ESXi 5.5 and RAID
                            JarryG Expert

                            I have been using various Adaptec and LSI-controllers. From my own experience, LSI-controllers boots much-much faster. With Adaptec raid-controllers I had to wait sometimes even a few minutes till all drives/arrays were detected. For LSI this very same task (the same raid-arrays configuration) takes just a few seconds. Now I'm using exclusively IBM M5015 which I cross-flash to LSI-9260. M5015 is cheaper, and yet comes already equipped with BBU (compared to 9260, M5015 is missing raid6, but I do not use it).


                            One more thing: be carefull which controller you pick! Do NOT rely on "VMware hardware compatibility guide" (as I did), verify it on raid-controller manufacturer website. One "great" thing I discovered is that "supported" controller does not mean "fully supported". I found some older adaptec (not sure which type, but listed by VMware as supported). So I mounted it in my home-server, set-up raid-arrays, installed ESXi (arrays detected without any problem). So far so good.


                            Surprise came when I wanted to monitor health of raid-arrays. Guess what? Healt-monitoring NOT supported! That's reply I got from Adaptec (with advice "buy one of our new controllers"). I ask myself: what is such a raid-controller good for, if there is no way to monitor it? And yet it is still listed as supported...

                            • 11. Re: ESXi 5.5 and RAID
                              erich1527 Lurker



                              I ordered an Adaptec 5805Z off eBay today for $250. Here is hoping that solves my issue!

                              • 12. Re: ESXi 5.5 and RAID
                                GelemonOne Lurker

                                There's a zero cost reliable software raid solution. I did it once. Still running with no problem about 3 years

                                Performance is great for a zero cost solution.


                                Change SATA to AHCI mode from BIOS

                                install a virtual CentOS on a disk that is NOT one of the disks that will do raid

                                use raw device mapping and create disk files.

                                Add these disks to CentOS

                                create software raid with CentOS using mdadm

                                install iscsi on CentOS to share this raid disk (/dev/md0)

                                add it to ESXi itself to use.

                                PS: Do not forget to add this centos to Automatic Startup of ESXi

                                • 13. Re: ESXi 5.5 and RAID
                                  Punisher713 Novice

                                  very interesting alternative. Just to be sure, you installed your CentOS as a VM in ESXi?


                                  Also, what are the supported RAID modes? I'm looking for a Raid5 solution.

                                  • 14. Re: ESXi 5.5 and RAID
                                    Punisher713 Novice

                                    Erich, did the Adaptec 5805Z end up doing the job?



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