rcflyer2005
Contributor
Contributor

How does ESX 3i install on multiple HDDs?

Sorry for the silly question.

When I install ESX 3i U3 on a box with multiple HDDs, does it install one HDD and then "own" all other HDDs?

For illustration only, suppose I have two 300MB SATA HDDs. On HDD0 I have a Win XP install. I allocated 50% of HDD0 to the XP installation. Next. for a Ubuntu install, I might want to put the swap file and "/home" on HDD0 and the remaining directories on HDD2. Is this an OS installation issue or a ESX issue?

Thanks much.

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4 Replies
Texiwill
Leadership
Leadership

Hello,

Moved to ESXi forum.


Best regards,
Edward L. Haletky
VMware Communities User Moderator, VMware vExpert 2009
====
Author of the book 'VMWare ESX Server in the Enterprise: Planning and Securing Virtualization Servers', Copyright 2008 Pearson Education.
Blue Gears and SearchVMware Pro Blogs -- Top Virtualization Security Links -- Virtualization Security Round Table Podcast

--
Edward L. Haletky
vExpert XIII: 2009-2021,
VMTN Community Moderator
vSphere Upgrade Saga: https://www.astroarch.com/blogs
GitHub Repo: https://github.com/Texiwill
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Jackobli
Virtuoso
Virtuoso

ESXi "owns" one disk, the one it is installed on. It's using some (small) space for system partitions and will use the rest as datastore (will format it with VMFS).

You are storing your guests (that are just a bunch of files) on a datastore.

If there are other disks, you may create additional datastores on them. There is a possibility to "concatenate" this datastores, but it is usually not advised.

But be aware, that just some SATA controllers will work with ESXi as datastores. And don't expect speed. ESXi does not well on local disks without a hardware RAID controller with Cache and Batterie.

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rcflyer2005
Contributor
Contributor

*Quote From: *Jacobli -

"But be aware, that just some SATA controllers will work with EXXi as datastores. And don't expect speed. ESXi does not well on local disks without a hardware RAID controller with Cache and Batterie."

Would you please elaborate a little on why the speed of ESXi does not perform on local disks without a RAID controller. Is it the specific ICH9 or ICH10 controller installed on a motherboard that causes the performance issue?

I can install ESXi on two motherboards:

1. Intel DP35DP.

  • Intel P35 Express Chipset Memory Controller Hub (MCH)

  • Intel® 82801IR I/O Controller Hub (ICH9R)

  • Intel® Matrix Storage Technology

  • Intel® 82566DC Gigabit (10/100/1000 Mb/s) Ethernet LAN controller

2. ASUS P5Q PRO

  • Intel® P45 / ICH10R

  • Intel® ICH10R Southbridge
    - Intel® Matrix Storage, supporting SATA RAID 0,1, 5 and 10 .

  • - Silicon Image® Sil5723 (Drive Xpert Technology) - SATA_E1 and SATA_E2).

  • PCIe Gb LAN controller, featuring AI NET2

Would you recommend one board over another? I understand with the ASUS board, I will have to purchase a NIC from the hardware compability list.

Would you recommed a low cost RAID card that will alleviate the performance issue you spoke of?

Thanks much.

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Jackobli
Virtuoso
Virtuoso

Well it depends... (Sorry...).

You already checked your hardware with Dave's whitebox-list?

The first issue with ICH and other chipsets is that their RAID functionality is usually software based on thus not supported on ESX(i).

The other part is, that ESX(i) for security reasons does not use a local cache itself. So every I/O has to be written immediatly to disk.

Now it really depends, what your guests are doing. If this are webservers, that just write logfiles, a SATA local disk may be ok. It may also be ok for storing ISO files for installing OSses and other stuff.

I am using (quite) cheap HP e200i Smart Array controller. If found some on online auctions like ebay for about $100-150. They can be upgraded with a 128 MB BBU for another about another 150.00. You will also find some Adaptec cards on Dave's list.

You may also think about using NFS (on a Linux or *BSD box) as datastore.

P.S.: I wouldn't bet, but the nics on the Asus Board may be supported. Asus sometimes uses forcedeth chips that are supported.

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