Hey guys, need some help on choosing the mobo & raid card supporting ESXi 3.5, thanks.
We have installed the ESXi 3.5 server in our PowerEdge 2950III(using RAID 5) half a year before, and it works perfectly. So it's time to make another try. However, because of the tight budget and some personal interests^_^, we decide to diy a ESXi(NOT ESX) server on our own.
The server will be used as our internal testbed, later it might be used to support some of our critical applications. At present, it will at least host 2 ~ 3 VM: 1 ~ 2 Web server and 1 DB server all runing Windows 2003:
CPU: Intel Xeon 5405 * 2
MEM: Infineon fully buffered DIMM 4G * 4
HD: Seagate Barracuda ES.2 ST3500320NS(500G/7200RPM) * 4, we want to group them in raid 1, 10 or 5.
What really makes us big-heading is choosing the mobo and raid card that is fully supported by ESXi 3.5(free lunch is not free). For the mobo, we vote to the ASUS DSBV series for its hight cost-value: DSBV-DX/C, DSBV-DX, DSBV-DX/SAS. After calling ASUS customer center, we had another candidate: DSAN-DX(Intel 5100 & ICH9R).
Let's back to the point, my question is:
1. Are these mobos out-of-box fully supported by ESXi with consideration of the RAID. According to my understanding right now, the answer is porbably NO because they are all S/W raid. Am I right?
2. If we have to purchase an extra H/W raid card, we prefer the bundled or optional add-on card supported by ASUS at first. We do have noticed these cards is enlisted in vmWare's HCL, but still not quite sure about it. It will be really frustrating having your raid recognized as several individual physical hard disks in ESXi. Does any guys here using these card running ESXi smoothly?
DSBV-DX/SAS + LSI 8300XLP: a ZCR card work with the on-board LSI 1068 to provide H/W 0, 1, 10, 5. As I surfing on this forum, I have found someone using a likely intel ZCR card having problem in ESXi, hummmm.
DSAN-DX + PIKE 1078 8-port SAS card: a standalone card using the on-board SAS connector to support RAID 0, 1, 10, 5, 50, 6, 60.
3. The last choice is buy a HCL certified third-party H/W card from LSI or Adeptec etc, any suggestions?
Anyway, any discussion & fresh idea is welcome, thanks in advance.