10 Replies Latest reply on Mar 20, 2018 11:47 AM by suhag79

    PERC H730 RAID Controller - ESXi boot

    suhag79 Enthusiast

      Hi,

       

      Sorry for starting new thread. we already have one thread how to boot vSAN from local disk covering this partially.

       

      We are going to have Dell R730xd vSAN ready node R730xd, where we are planning to use two front disk slot (SAS SSD) in RAID-1 for ESXi boot. RAID controller will be "PERC H730 RAID Controller, 1GB NV Cache".

       

      Now as per the KB, VMware Knowledge Base ,

       

      "VMware does support ESXi installed on a disk (ESXi boot disk only) on the H730 with vSAN drives. To apply this, first install ESXi on a device attached to the H730 controller, and then remove/delete the VMFS datastore from the local boot device."

       

      Can anyone pl clarify what does it mean by "remove/delete the VMFS datastore from the local boot device" - is it referring not to include vSAN disks in VMFS ?

       

      Our plan is as below with PERC H730 RAID Controller, 1GB NV Cache controller

       

      - 2 * SSD front disks in RAID 1 for ESXi boot and storing persistent logs

      - rest disks will be participating in vSAN DG

       

      Please let me know if this is supported configuration ?

       

      Thanks,

       

        • 1. Re: PERC H730 RAID Controller - ESXi boot
          TheBobkin Virtuoso
          vExpertVMware Employees

          Hello suhag79,

           

           

          "Can anyone pl clarify what does it mean by "remove/delete the VMFS datastore from the local boot device" - is it referring not to include vSAN disks in VMFS ?"

           

          Typically the data used to perform the installation is located on a VMFS partition, then when you install the ESXi host this creates new non-VMFS partitions for boot. This kb is advising to remove the VMFS partition that was used to store the installation medium.

           

          As the kb articles say: it is not supported to use H730P controllers for vSAN devices (e.g. Disk-Groups) AND VMFS devices at the same time even when just used for logging.

          What I would advise is configuring these hosts with HBA330 controllers which are better suited for vSAN (H730P were designed for RAID not passthrough) and thus more reliable, to the point that Dells official recommendation is to not use H730P for vSAN and use HBA330 instead:

          "While this controller will continue to be supported on vSAN for the full service life, DellEMC strongly recommends using the HBA330 pass-through controller for vSAN deployments. The HBA330 is specifically designed for Software Defined Storage applications like vSAN, and does not introduce the unnecessary RAID processing overhead involved with the H730 PERC RAID family of controllers."

           

          "Please let me know if this is supported configuration ?"

          Not with H730 - get HBA330 instead.

           

           

          Bob

          1 person found this helpful
          • 2. Re: PERC H730 RAID Controller - ESXi boot
            suhag79 Enthusiast

            Hello TheBobkin,

             

            Are you referring  "HBA330 12Gbps SAS HBA Controller (NON-RAID), Minicard"  ? As per the specs, this does not support HW raid.

             

            Also as per VMware vSphere 6 on Dell EMC PowerEdge Servers Release Notes , Software RAID is not supported for VMware ESXi.

             

            As i mention earlier, our plan is to make RAID -1 of two front disk for ESXi Boot.

             

            Sorry, pl let me know if i am missing something here.

             

             

             

            • 3. Re: PERC H730 RAID Controller - ESXi boot
              TheBobkin Virtuoso
              VMware EmployeesvExpert

              Hello suhag79,

               

               

              Good point, didn't consider that you were planning on using R1 on the non-vSAN disks, but with H730P you would be in the same situation as these are ONLY supported for passthrough-mode on vSAN and you can't mix and match disks in different modes.

               

              So your options would be to have an additional controller (that supports RAID) for these drives or potentially to use some other on-board connector for these.

              I would be very interested to see what Dell advise as a solution when given the above choices and limitations (e.g. is there another option other than adding more controllers), if your discussions with pre-sales/sales and/or partner provide an alternative solution, do let us know here.

               

               

              Bob

              1 person found this helpful
              • 4. Re: PERC H730 RAID Controller - ESXi boot
                suhag79 Enthusiast

                Sure, i will keep posted how this will end up. Thanks for your help

                • 5. Re: PERC H730 RAID Controller - ESXi boot
                  AdamCSC Novice
                  vExpert

                  If it helps we are using Dell 740xd units and two SD cards in a RAID 1 setup to install and boot ESXi off of.....we then have the recommended HBA330 adapter for all the cache and data drives.  I run those in a JBOD state and let vSAN handle the RAID config within vSAN.  You see in this compatibility doc the last line shows recommendations on boot drive.  I am using the BOSS with two 16GB SDs but you can use M.2 sticks

                  VMware Compatibility Guide - vsan

                   

                  Adam

                  2 people found this helpful
                  • 6. Re: PERC H730 RAID Controller - ESXi boot
                    suhag79 Enthusiast

                    Hello ,

                     

                    Thanks for the suggestion.

                     

                    I believe, 2 M.2 Sticks 120G (RAID 1) is also providing the persistent storage to store the ESXi logs along with boot device.  If this is the case then i would go with BOSS 2 M.2 Sticks 120G (RAID 1).

                     

                    Also wan to know if anyone used Flex bay HDD for boot device ?  Flax bay require separate controller ?

                     

                     

                    Just FYI - I have the setup of vSAN with CISCO UCS C240  along with CISCO 12 GB RAID controller, which does support to have boot device in RAID-1 and vSAN disks in pass through connected on same controller.  That setup does not require to have separate BOSS type of controller for boot device. In this scenario, CISCO vSAN ready node has an advantage over Dell vSAN.

                     

                    Thanks

                    • 7. Re: PERC H730 RAID Controller - ESXi boot
                      TheBobkin Virtuoso
                      VMware EmployeesvExpert

                      I was trying to think of other potential (but far from ideal) solutions such as using PCIe(s) slots for other storage such as NVMe (wasteful ) but PCIe to 2x M.2 is fairly ideal as these are fairly suiting durability and cost-wise. PCIe slots tend to end up being left mostly empty on boxes without NVMe and/or GPUs so this is a good use of these.

                       

                       

                      Bob

                      1 person found this helpful
                      • 8. Re: PERC H730 RAID Controller - ESXi boot
                        xianxb Lurker

                        is the sas disk you use to isntall ESXi,before format in vsan?

                        if yes,when Host boot ,enter Ctrl+R ,go to RaidControl Mange daiglo ,select init Raid1 (2sas ssd).now the disk have no format ,try to install esxi. Make SUre this operation will lost all data in disk.

                        • 9. Re: PERC H730 RAID Controller - ESXi boot
                          GPVenkatesh Novice

                          Hi -

                           

                          1) SCSI \ RAID Controller has to be configured in pass-through mode (or) each device \ disk need to be configured as Raid-0.

                           

                          2) It seems not recommended to have vSAN & non-vSAN Disks under PERC H730 Controller, You have to check and maintain compatible firmware & driver version as well. Else vSAN cluster may end up with frequent Disk access \ health issue.

                           

                          I would recommend you to check possibility of installing ESXi in SD-Card & using all the disks available under PERC H730 controller for vSAN Disk group.

                           

                          Please refer below KBs for more insight:

                           

                          Best practices for vSAN implementations using Dell PERC H730 or FD332-PERC storage controllers (2109665)

                          Required vSAN and ESXi configuration for controllers based on the LSI 3108 chipset (2144936)

                          Best practices when using vSAN and non-vSAN disks with the same storage controller (2129050)

                          • 10. Re: PERC H730 RAID Controller - ESXi boot
                            suhag79 Enthusiast

                            Thanks GPVenkatesh .

                             

                            "Best practices when using vSAN and non-vSAN disks with the same storage controller (2129050)" -  Not able to open this KB since long.

                             

                            I am thinking to go with either SATADOM or BOSS (2 M.2 Sticks 120G (RAID 1)) option as this will also provide the persistent storage to store the ESXi logs.

                             

                            Controller as mention in previous thread,  HBA330 for vSAN disks.