Now that I got the right ISO I proceeded with my install. I am using a SuperMicro-based 2U with 2 on-baord RAID controllers, Intel and LSI SATA RAID. The Intel is set up as a RAID 5 (storage); the LSI has 2 RAID 1s (1 RAID 1 for the Vsphere 4.1, the other RAID 1 for the VMs). The vsphere 4.1 DVD did not recognize the LSI RAID so I put in the supermicro disc to install the drivers. The install program did not recognize any drivers on the supermicro disc.
Any ideas on how to get the LSI RAID controler driver that will work with vsphere 4.1?
P.S. This is first time installing vsphere; my previous experience with installing ESX 3.x has been much easier...
The board is a SuperMicro X8STi-3F server board with a LSI 1068E 8-Port SAS Controller (RAID 0, 1, 10) and an InteI CH9R SB SATAII (3.0Gbps) Controller (RAID 0, 1, 5, 10). It is the LSI which is unrecognized.
No listing for this board in HCL as far as I can see.
I found LSI drivers at
and tried using them in the install process where the Add Drivers screen allowed you to eject 4.1 disc; however the driver disc I made (confirmed SHA 1 and MD 5 hashes this time) was not recognized as a driver disc.
I will try firmware update and see how that goes...
If the controller is not on the HCL then there won't be drivers to support the card directly in the ESXi software or available as a downlod. You would only see a download available from VMware if the card was supported. Often cards that only support RAID 0, 1 and 10 requre special operating system drivers to provide the RAID functionality. This type of controller is not supported by ESX(i).
I would install ESXi directly to a USB flash disk and use the recognized controller to provide your datastore space. Use a 1GB or larger USB disk.
VMware is about reliability and stability. The drivers that are used with ESX(i) are supported by VMware and the manufacturer and are expressly designed to work well in a virtual environment. Windows on the other hand works with whatever someone cares to put together and not necessarily designed to work for virtualization.
I suggested that you install to a USB flash disk because it is a supported install destination whereas your controller is not. Running from USB works well since ESXi loads directly into RAM. There are very few writes to the disk, one per hour for a configuration backup. Everything else happens in RAM including logs which are written to a RAM disk. There is no advantage to installing ESXi to hard disk.
I have been running ESXi in production from USB for 3 years without incident. Most major server manufacturers offer ESXi embedded via either USB or SD.
I have been using ESX in production as well. Problem is I wanted a rackmouont servert that supported both controllers enabled. I have found out from manufacturer that this is not the case. Me goal was to use a RAID 1 73 GB SAS for Vsphere 4.1, RAID 1 600 GB SATA for VMs on LSI controller. Intel controller was to be for storage RAID 5.
I guess I could follow your suggestion and use USB for vsphere and switch the 600 GB drivers over to the Intel. I just prefer redundancy all around...
Will try that solution.
It doesn't look like the LSI controller supports a battery backed cache module either. I didn't look to see what the Intel controller is like and if it supportes a battery backed cache module. You will want battery backed cache so that you can enable write caching. Write caching is very important in virtualization since you will now have multiple OS's competing for disk I/O. Without caching performance suffers since read / write operations must be completed before access is passed to the next VM.
Is there any downside to installing both the ESX 4.1 and the VM Oses on the same drive (in this case the 10,000 RPM 600 GB SATA configured as RAID1)? I had separated the ESX and VM OSes on prior installs.
The install will create the proper partitions for ESX(i) and the balance will be datastore. It will create the datastore with the default block size so you may want to check that. It is better to create a small virtual LUN or virtual disk on an array to isolate the ESX(i) installation from the datastore if the controller supports that capability. 5GB is all that is necessary for ESX(i) and ESX is less. The ESXi install will use 1GB for the OS and 4Gb for scratch.
Thanks again for answers to questions. Apologize if I appeared surly; this is my first time installing ESX on a 2U with storage. Prior to this I installed ESX 3.x on serveral 1Us which were plug and chug hardware-wise. It's what happens when you get a PhD: you forget how to hold a screwdriver!