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Passthrough to PCI RAID possible?

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Have 6.0 update 2 running on a Mac mini 7,1.  Two OS 10.10.5 guest OSes running nicely.

The mini is in a Sonnet Xmac mini case, with two PCI slots.  One slot running an HP dual port NIC.  The second slot has Areca 1882 RAID card in it, and the host sees it. I enabled passthrough for the RAID card.

Want to use the Passthrough feature to present the RAID card (and attached RAID array formatted HFS+) to one of the VMs.....but when I try to add a PCI device, nothing is available.  Have rebooted guests and host repeatedly.

Have I missed something?

One variable is that the PCI slots/cards are connected via thunderbolt, but the fact that the NIC is working fine, and the RAID card is seen makes me think that all is correct here.  Never used Passthrough before....so can someone verify steps to config/troubleshoot?

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Passthrough is not supported on the Mac Mini, so I suspect this is probably why you're having issues.

I'm not sure if you've seen this article Thunderbolt Storage for ESXi | virtuallyGhetto but most folks who have the Sonnet Chassis are just directly connecting it to their storage of choice rather than doing passthrough (at least from the folks I've talked to)

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I should add that I have not installed any Areca drivers on the host, as I was assuming this was unnecessary for Passthrough.  Again, new to using Passthrough....

UPDATE:  Was using web interface for everything.  Just tried the Vsphere client to compare....and it shows the RAID card needs a reboot to complete Passthrough configuration.  After reboot, the RAID card is unchecked again.  Stuck in a loop.

Tried selecting passthrough both in and out of maintenance mode, always with all VMs shutdown.  No change.

Curious that web shows the RAID card passthrough enabled after reboots.....while client shows the box unchecked after reboots.

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For anybody following along:

Decided to pull the PCI NIC.  It was not config'd as Passthrough, and was working nicely.  Both ports.  But, as both PCI slots are extended via a single Thunderbolt connection, I was wondering if having direct-to-host hardware on that same single bus might be the issue.  Pulled the card, started host back up, and tried to add RAID card as Passthrough yet again.  No change.

Tried adding the entire Thunderbolt bus and RAID as Passthrough, and rebooted again.  Same problem:  now both RAID and TB bus are seen via the client as waiting for a reboot to be available as Passthrough devices.  But multiple reboots changed nothing. 

Alas, starting to think that passthrough over Thunderbolt is a deal breaker.  Too bad....everything else was working so lovely on this mini with SSD and 16GB of RAM.  :smileycry:

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Passthrough is not supported on the Mac Mini, so I suspect this is probably why you're having issues.

I'm not sure if you've seen this article Thunderbolt Storage for ESXi | virtuallyGhetto but most folks who have the Sonnet Chassis are just directly connecting it to their storage of choice rather than doing passthrough (at least from the folks I've talked to)

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Oh....I see.  Was unaware.  Thanks for ending useless suffering.  :smileyblush:

As for direct connection, as this is a PCIe card that came from an Intel Xserve, don't see how I could utilize it (or the Mini-SAS connected volume) without going Passthrough.  Yes, I have been reading Willam's excellent blog goodies, but as this is not a Thunderbolt device, did not think it would apply.

Maybe I am missing something basic, but not seeing how to present a RAID controller to the Mac VM without Passthrough.  Is there a way?  If not from the guest OS, how/where is the RAID volume managed?  Will keep looking, but any links would be welcomed.

I suspect I would have to:

get the Areca driver loaded into ESXi

dump a rather large RAID 5 volume (as it is HFS+ now)

create a new volume that would play nice with ESXi

create a new VM datastore

share that datastore with the VM....

Everything I have found is the traditional "boot to bios and configure RAID controller".  Not happening on a Mac mini.  I am unaware of how to configure the Areca beyond loading the software/drivers on the guest OS, and using the web interface.  :smileyconfused:

but most folks who have the Sonnet Chassis are just directly connecting it to their storage of choice rather than doing passthrough...


Good to know.  But, can you clarify.....do they have an existing volume, or are they starting fresh?

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