I have ESXi running from the 1st HD on a machine. I wanted to RAID 1 the other two hard drives, but couldn't since I don't have hardware RAID. For giggles, I used the "fake" RAID (software) to put those two hard drives in a RAID 1 array, but ESXI 5.1 still sees them as individual hard drives.
Is there any way to basically have ESXi mirror everything it does on one of the hard drives on the other, seamlessly and instantaneously? I've seen the Data Protection appliances and the Replication appliances, but I don't really think they are the solution, though I really don't know since I haven't tried them out.
I don't really understand how to use VSA. But from some reading it seems like I might be able to create the effect, though not with the exact same performance?
Not sure if this works, but could deploy a VSA to hard drive one, and then make it aware of hard drive 2 and hard drive 3. And then is there a way to tell the VSA to automatically replicate everything from HD 2 to HD3? Something like that?
the VSA is a virtual storage appliance, it will take the local disks that are assigned to it and offer them out to other hosts as a DataStore. it will replicate data, but only between Hosts in the VSA pooled storage, not between disks on a single host.
vSphere does not support Software RAID at all, the only way to get a RAID of disks is to have a hardware RAID controller, check out the HCL and remember eBay is your friend.
From your posts I am making the assumption that this is a lab environment not a production server, there for optimal performance is not necessary so get yourself a second hand one from ebay.
You could shift this task to VM. I mean, create two virtual disks (one on each of physical drives), assign them both to VM, and let VM create "fake" (software) raid1. But honestly, I do not think it is worth the trouble. If all you need is raid0/1, you can buy a 2nd-hand hw-raid controller for a few bucks (i.e. ebay).