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mbuurman

HP MS Gen8 barebone -> esxi vm

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I want to use my machine a little more flexible and want to know if it's possible to migrate from barebone to esxi without losing my data.

If it's possible what are the steps I need to take to accomplish this?

 

My setup, HP MicroServer Gen 8 (i3-3220), 4GB RAM, 3 harddisks in SHR.

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I migrated my SHR array from bare metal to DSM running under vSphere 6.0 on the hardware in my signature. I didn't lose any data or users or applications settings or anything else. They key is to pass-through a SATA controller to DSM using VMDirectPath IO and connect the array to that - that way the virtualized DSM pickups up all the personality that's stored on the existing array. The Xeon in my T20 supports VMDirectPath I/O (which is why I bought it); unfortunately, I think you might be out of luck with your i3...

 

Intel® Virtualization Technology for Directed I/O (VT-d) ‡ No

 

From: http://ark.intel.com/products/65693/

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Hi, maybe a little off topic, but I have tried the HP MS Gen8 with ESXi 6(latest) image by HP and the experience was really bad.

Each time I wanted to do almost any operation with disks, it always stopped responding and I had to forcibly shut it down.

Have tried to downgrade the HP Raid drivers, but it did not resolve the instability.

I am now running Hyper-V Server 2012 R2 without any trouble, XPenology runs fine, passthrough disk vritualization also works as it should.

I'd recommend to use either original ESXi iso or rather try Hyper-V.

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I plan to buy the Microserver Gen8 with integrated Smart Array B120i RAID controller. And replacing the CPU to a Xeon E3-1230 v2.

So my question, is this conroller working well on ESXi with DirectI/O Passthrough?

Has anybody any experience with it?

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sfu420: As I stated before here, I had very bad experience with ESXi 6 (latest update 2) and the Microserver. However I have used a ESXi image by HP. I googled a lot and have found that the SATA Raid driver is not working OK in that image, so I installed an older version as suggested. But it did not help at all.

My experience was, that almost by any Disk operations within the vSphere, it caused the server to stop responding.

I did not use the original ESXi image by VMWare.

I am using Hyper-V now and it works just fine, even by Hard Drive Passthrought.

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for the best ESXi6 experience: use the white label esxi installer with the sata mode (that's what I use on two boxes). The hp custom esxi installer plays fine when the raid controller is enable, but this would require to add each hdd to a raid0 - no smart information would be available to esxi though. hp custom esxi installer with sata mode -> unusable, lots of errors in the esxi log files.

 

Regardless of vt-d, the integrated Smart Array B120i controller can't be passed thru to a vm.

 

You can easily move from bare metal to esxi, either use a dedicated controller (like the LSI2008 chip based ones) or create RDM mappins for your harddisks. In both cases you can continue to use your disks. just make sure your drive order stays the same!

 

@sandisxxx: is the smart information forwarded into xpe?

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haydibe: well, I did not try to do the ESXi as you write, however my current config with the Hyper-V is the same, all disks are as Raid 0.

The SMART inforamtion is not forwarded to the VM (all smart options are greyed out within DSM).

Maybe I will try again the ESXi(which I personally like a lot more than Hyper-V) with the Raid0 setup.

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Like i said - whitlabel esxi installer works like a charm (my personal experience with HPMS gen8). It's just the sata drivers in the custom hp esxi installer that cause trouble... That's why the customer image works with B120i enabled and hds in raid0. I don't see any drawbacks in using vanilla ESXi, instead of the custom one. Since the HP image is generic to all HP machines, i am pretty sure that some other machines or use cases might benefit from the custom hp image - but the HPMS gen8 does definitly not.

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So to be clear here, you say that the Vanilla ESXi image works just fine in AHCI mode, and for Raid 0 for each disk(if needed from some reason) it would also work?

Actually the only reason I go with the Raid 0 is that I use SSD in the DVD Rom bay as a boot device, which does not work in AHCI mode.

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So to be clear here, you say that the Vanilla ESXi image works just fine in AHCI mode, and for Raid 0 for each disk(if needed from some reason) it would also work?

Actually the only reason I go with the Raid 0 is that I use SSD in the DVD Rom bay as a boot device, which does not work in AHCI mode.

 

Since I am booting from a microSD card, i never tried to boot from the B120i raid in vanilla ESXi. My SSD is connected to the non-SAS port and used as my ESXi datastore. A 2GB microSD or larger is sufficient for the job.

 

But why do you want to use vanilla ESXi, if you don't use the SATA mode? Im my tests the custom HP ESXi image worked well with raid0. But i disliked that not even ESXi was able to get the smart information.

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haydibe, 2 questions: Is the SMART passed in ESXi when using AHCI mode? Can you use the spin-down feature within XPE in ESXi?

That's what I am actually missing the most. I am still runing my bare metal XPEnology with a Micro ATX board and Celeron J1900, which is quite low power consuming along with the disk spin down feature. Is it possible to achieve this using Vanilla ESXi and AHCI mode? (an d boot from SD Card or USB) please?

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haydibe, 2 questions: Is the SMART passed in ESXi when using AHCI mode? Can you use the spin-down feature within XPE in ESXi?

That's what I am actually missing the most. I am still runing my bare metal XPEnology with a Micro ATX board and Celeron J1900, which is quite low power consuming along with the disk spin down feature. Is it possible to achieve this using Vanilla ESXi and AHCI mode? (an d boot from SD Card or USB) please?

 

SMART is passed to ESXi, but if you use RDM mapping (or vmdks) ESXi does not pass it to XPE in a way that DSM could make use of it. On the other side: if you open a ssh shell on the XPE instance and execute the 'smartctl' cmd, SMART information is displayed. AFAIK the RDM Mapping just uses a subset of the sata commands, thus resulting in SMART informations that are incompatible with DSM.

 

Because of the missing SMART informations in DSM, i added LSI storage controllers to both my ESXi hosts and assigned them to my XPE VMs in pass thru mode.

 

Without a dedicated storage controller, neither vanilla, nor custom ESXi will be able to provide valid SMART informations to DSM.

Either you use a dedicated controller and pass it into your vm (vt-d required) or you stick with your bare metal installation.

 

Regarding spin down: never cared for it ...

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Thanks haydibe for the information. Lastly,could you please recommend some raid card? Not necessarily a new one, I could go with some ebay used one.

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Thanks haydibe for the information. Lastly,could you please recommend some raid card? Not necessarily a new one, I could go with some ebay used one.

 

My experience is limited to this type of LSI HBA(! not raid, i want DSM to take care of SHR) controllers:

- IBM ServeRAID M1015 SAS/SATA HBA

- LSI 9220-8i

 

I actualy run both of them, the IBM M1015 is a rebrand of the LSI 9220-8i controller. You don't want to use a controller that does the raid management for you, you want to leave raid management to DSM.. Make sure the controller is flashed to "it mode" and acts as a simple HBA.

 

I bought mine from a 2nd hand it reseller, cause i didn't wanted to find out, if the rumors about knock-off controllers from china are true.

 

you need a low profile bracet in order to be able to use it in your gen8

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Thanks haydibe for the information. Lastly,could you please recommend some raid card? Not necessarily a new one, I could go with some ebay used one.

 

My experience is limited to this type of LSI HBA(! not raid, i want DSM to take care of SHR) controllers:

- IBM ServeRAID M1015 SAS/SATA HBA

- LSI 9220-8i

 

I actualy run both of them, the IBM M1015 is a rebrand of the LSI 9220-8i controller. You don't want to use a controller that does the raid management for you, you want to leave raid management to DSM.. Make sure the controller is flashed to "it mode" and acts as a simple HBA.

 

I bought mine from a 2nd hand it reseller, cause i didn't wanted to find out, if the rumors about knock-off controllers from china are true.

 

you need a low profile bracet in order to be able to use it in your gen8

 

Thanks a lot for very useful tips and info!

Gonna get one from second hand and try.

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