Horinius
Enthusiast
Enthusiast

How ESXi deals with RAID controller?

Right now I'm using VMWare Server 2 within Windows Server 2003 R2 in a DELL PowerEdge860.

I've seen all those introductions about how good it is to use ESXi because we would not need an underlying commercial O/S. I'd really like to try it, and also because we could use WS2003 (license) in another server. But my question is, how ESXi deals with RAID controller?

Actually, there is a RAID controller inside DELL PE860 and WS2003 is accessing logical hard disks through drivers. So, before I break everything and install ESXi in the same server machine, how should I prepare for the RAID controller?

And I think there might also be potential problems with the network card (as WS2003 also needs a specific driver to use network adapter), and even with the graphic card. What preparations should I have first?

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PabloOttawa
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Horinius,

Your first step should be checking the ESX HCL (Hardware Compatibility List). Make sure all the components are listed there: Server hardware itself, RAID controller, and network card. If they are all there, then you don't need to donwload other drivers and start messing with that.

To answer your question, "how ESX deals with RAID controllers", ESX does not control the RAID level or anything like that from within ESX, since that's a property of the hardware RAID controller. I am not familiar with Dell servers, but with HP I will boot the server and get into the RAID controller BIOS (or use the configuration CD, SmartStart) and from there I will configure my RAID.

After that, all that ESX sees is a SCSI controller with a disk attached to it. Whether it is RAID1, 0+1, 5 or 6 ESX does not care.

So, verify that your RAID controller is on the HCL and you should be good to go.

Cheers,

Pablo

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Horinius
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Thanks for your reply.

Your first step should be checking the ESX HCL (Hardware Compatibility List). Make sure all the components are listed there: Server hardware itself, RAID controller, and network card. If they are all there, then you don't need to donwload other drivers and start messing with that.

OK, that's what I was looking for amongst the myriad of infos... too much to read...

Unfortunately, that DELL server I own isn't listed there... hmm...

To answer your question, "how ESX deals with RAID controllers", ESX does not control the RAID level or anything like that from within ESX, since that's a property of the hardware RAID controller. I am not familiar with Dell servers, but with HP I will boot the server and get into the RAID controller BIOS (or use the configuration CD, SmartStart) and from there I will configure my RAID.

After that, all that ESX sees is a SCSI controller with a disk attached to it. Whether it is RAID1, 0+1, 5 or 6 ESX does not care.

When I said about "deals with RAID controller", I didn't mean "how ESX controls RAID" (ie configuring the RAID array). I just meant:

1. as I've written, accessing the logicial disk, as opposed to accessing physical disks. As a matter of fact, without a proper driver, an O/S would either see zero disk or n physical disks. But now I think I understand, ESXi has its own driver base.

2. how the monitoring is done? I mean, most RAID controllers would provide monitoring softwares besides drivers, and the monitoring softwares would allow us to supervise physical disks health, and sometimes when a disk is offline, an email is sent to us to warn us of problem. And how about within ESXi? Does such software exist?

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