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HP Proliant ML150G3 - VMware ESXi install - SATA raid problem

Posted on 2011-10-22
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Last Modified: 2012-05-12
Hi folks, I need to install VMware on one older server - HP Proliant ML150G3 where we have four SATA disks in RAID 1 (two in each) and unfortunatelly, VMware does not support raid controller on server mainboard, thats why I need to find some solution, how could I install VMware on it. Either buy som other controller which should be supported, or any other workaroung.

When I go to install VMware ESXi, I can only see physical disk, no logical disk (arrays) I created in RAID utility.

thanks for all help
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Question by:AndrejArdan
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LVL 24

Assisted Solution

by:Luciano Patrão
Luciano Patrão earned 668 total points
ID: 37012612
Hi

First you need to inform the VMware version. I am sure that ESXi 5 will not work on that server. Also ESXi 4.x is not supported. But vSphere ESX 4.x will work in some conditions. But even for ESX you have this:

On some standard configurations, ProLiants come with HP Smart Array B110i. If this Smart Array is installed, RAID is not supported in any version of ESX. For RAID support, please add HP Smart Array P212, P410 or P411.

Check here:
http://h18004.www1.hp.com/products/servers/vmware/supportmatrix/hpvmware.html#note

Check you VMware version, and also you server model.

I know that in some cases the RAID controller doesn't work in VMware 4.x. But updating the server sometimes help. Go to HP support and upgrade all your BIOS, Firmware etc.

Use the Smart Update Firmware DVD

Since I do not know the RAID controller, you need to check.

Hope this can help

Jail
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Expert Comment

by:prak_seafarer
ID: 37013653
Is the RAID configuration complete and logical drive is available to vmware. You can try to check by trying to install any other OS like RHEL. If the OS is able to install then vmware will also install.

let us know if any help is required.

-prakash
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by:
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2) earned 1332 total points
ID: 37013813
The controller in the server is a software fake RAID controller, VMware ESXi does not support the fake RAID controller.

Either purchase a Smart Array 410i Hardware RAID Controller or as a workaround use UnRAID.

See here in this article

UnRAID on VMWare ESXi with Raw Device Mapping  
http://lime-technology.com/forum/index.php?topic=7914.0
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LVL 24

Expert Comment

by:Luciano Patrão
ID: 37014250
Hi

@hanccocka have you haver tested this UnRAID solution? Is a good solution for a test server?

Jail
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LVL 125
ID: 37014296
@BestWay:

Yes, all these solutions we use in house and for clients. Fine for test servers.

We've used it in many servers, and some clients have it in Production, as well as our offices.

We also use Open Solaris ZFS/Openindiana/Nexenta VMs in the same way, to provide "storage in a box", for ESXi solutions. So all the storage is presented to the ZFS NAS, and then the storage is used by ESXi as NFS or iSCSI (in kind of loopback!)

This is not really much different to the VSA approach of vSphere VSA, HP Lefthand and other Virtual Storage Array solutions.

Why pay, £400 GBP for a Smart Array 410i controller, that does not support many normal SATA drives, due to TLER issues, so just build a 4 - 8 disk based ZFS RAID solution to provide much faster read and write for ESXi.
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Expert Comment

by:Luciano Patrão
ID: 37014326
Hi

Thank you, will try to test this and see how it works.

Jail
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LVL 125
ID: 37014382
@BestWay: Look at "Storage in a Box - ZFS Solution"
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LVL 24

Expert Comment

by:Luciano Patrão
ID: 37014464
Hi

@hanccocka I read about that, but never used. I will take a look at that options.

Thank You man.

@AndrejArdan Sorry this of topic. But at the same time good answers/options for your question.

Jail
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LVL 37

Expert Comment

by:ArneLovius
ID: 37015027
all of the "real" HP controllers are supported, however, what processor do you have in the ML150 ? doe sit have VT capabilities ?
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Author Comment

by:AndrejArdan
ID: 37018635
Hi all, thanks for answers

sincerelly, I am bit dissapointed, because I was expected to be able to install VMware ESXi on some older systems, and this is not "so old" server.

Server PN is: 403438-002 (but unfortunatelly, I was not able to find any information about this server on web). Processor is: Intel Xeon 5120 (1,86Nhz) and Intel VT option is in bios, so I enabled it.

I was considering about buying new controller (hoped that P212 could be enough), but I will definitely do not invest more than price of that controller (besides cables). We upgraded BIOS and all possible firmware on that server, unfortunatelly, we was not able to install VMware on logical drives.

@BestWay and @hanccocka: no problem, its allways good to get know something new, unfortunatelly, unRAID looks really difficult for me, so I am not sure, if I would be able to use it. Also we need it for production environment.



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Author Comment

by:AndrejArdan
ID: 37018663
EDIT: little mistake, real PN of server is: 416770-421 (it was only PN of mainboard)
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LVL 125

Assisted Solution

by:Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2) earned 1332 total points
ID: 37018683
You can still install ESXi on this server.

But the RAID controller on this particular server is not a hardware RAID controller, and is not supported by VMware. This is usual for the lower specification HP servers.

If you want to use hardware RAID and protect your datastores with hardware RAID you will need to purchase a RAID controller.

HP Smart Array Controllers, Dell PERC, and LSI 3081E-R, 9211 are all available on eBay cheaply, supported by ESXi and you will be able to complete hardware RAID.

What you also have to remember that VMware ESXi is only compatible with tested and certified systems that are on the HCL.

G3 servers are not on the HCL, but this does not mean, that they cannot be made to work, with tweaking.

I would recommend a LSI 3081E-R over an HP Smart Array controller!
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LVL 125
ID: 37018724
If you are using this server for a *Production* environment, I would assess the risk of using a non-certified Server for use with VMware ESXi.

You may experience other compatiblilty issues.

The HP Proliant ML150G3, was retired in June 2008, which makes it 3+ years old, which for most organisations at the end of it's life, as most organisations, replace servers between 3 - 5 years.

It will be out of the Standard HP Carepaq Warranty, unless you've renew, for an extended 2 years.

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Author Comment

by:AndrejArdan
ID: 37030300
This server should have one VM with Widndows Server 2003 R2 (additional DC, backup DNS, file server) and one VM with linux based firewall (Kerio Control).

What do you suggest?
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LVL 125
ID: 37030327
Its your organisations risk of putting a non certified VMware ESXi server into production.

We would recommend at least a HP ProLiant DL160 or ML150 G6 to our clients.

0
 

Author Comment

by:AndrejArdan
ID: 37030344
Problem is, that we already invested 500 eur for repairing this server (changing mainboard), unfortunatelly, I was not able to convince them not to do it and rather buy new server.... they still operated, that they would lost their OEM licence for windows server.... as far as I know, the OEM licence can be used on server in virtual environment but only on the server, which has been bought with.
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LVL 125
ID: 37030367
It would seem that a poor decision has already been made!

I would add a hardware RAID controller, if hardware RAID is required, but to be honest, your environment will be unsupported by VMware, running on unsupported hardware.

Your OEM understanding is correct. Please see below

Note: Physical-to-virtual hard drive migration of a Windows installation is a valid function for customers with Software Assurance and full retail copies of Windows XP, Windows Vista, and Windows 7. Software Assurance provides users valuable benefits—please contact Microsoft Corporation for further information. Windows XP, Windows Vista and Windows 7 installed by Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEM) using OEM versions of these products may not be transferred to a virtual hard drive in accordance with Microsoft licensing terms.

Source
http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/sysinternals/ee656415
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Author Comment

by:AndrejArdan
ID: 37030396
Ups, its a absolutely new for me, unfortunatelly, I got this information from Microsoft vendor. Do you think, thats is also aplicable to server licences ?
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LVL 125
ID: 37030614
If your licenses are OEM, they are not transferable to virtual servers.
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