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ASUS M11AA / ESXi / VMWARE

I recently purchased an ASUS M1AA.  

http://www.pcworld.co.uk/gbuk/desktop-pc-monitors/desktop-pcs/desktop-pcs/asus-essentio-m11aa-uk010s-desktop-pc-21656717-pdt.html

ESXi won't pick up the storage on the machine and i believe this to be because there is some kind of software RAID configured in the BIOS.  My NAS box has broken and i need to find a way to get ESXi to pick up the storage on the machine.

If i could find a way to break the RAID, then that would be the answer as then the disks would appear as standard SATA disks.  I cannot find anywhere in the BIOS that references RAID.

Anybody help?
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cmatchett
Asked:
cmatchett
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1 Solution
 
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
Your whitebox storage controller is not compatible with ESXi.

Is there an option to use AHCI, instead of RAID in the BIOS?

Due to ESXi smaller 1GB footprint, hardware designed for use with is on the HCL.

Check the VMware Hardware Compatability Lists HCL here

The VMware Hardware Compatibility List is the detailed lists showing actual vendor devices that are either physically tested or are similar to the devices tested by VMware or VMware partners. Items on the list are tested with VMware products and are known to operate correctly.Devices which are not on the list may function, but will not be supported by VMware.

http://www.vmware.com/go/hcl

Whitebox HCL


The Whitebox Hardware Compatability Lists is a list put together by the community that have had success with whitebox servers, e.g. unbranded or homebrew, DIY servers, which have been found to work with VMware Products.

http://vm-help.com/Whitebox_HCL.php

Ultimate Whitebox

The Ultimate Whitebox Hardware Compatability Lists is a list put together by the community that have had success with whitebox servers, e.g. unbranded or homebrew, DIY servers, which have been found to work with VMware Products.

http://ultimatewhitebox.com/

VMware Communities

This list is maintained and put together by members of the VMware community forum, that have had success in building whitebox servers.

http://communities.vmware.com/cshwsw.jspa

Storage Controllers and Network intwerfaces often break installations of ESXi.

I would recommended obtaining one or the following storage controllers, which does work with ESXi

LSI 3081E-R
LSI 9211-4e
LSI 9211-8e
IBM BR10i
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cmatchettAuthor Commented:
I can change the SATA mode to:

IDE
AHCI
DISABLED

None of them work

There is also an to option the BIOS to disable ASM1061 storage controller.

I found this link to add support?

http://www.v-front.de/2013/11/how-to-make-your-unsupported-sata-ahci.html
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
If you want to "hack and slash" your installation of ESXi 5.5, it's possible to do anything, by adding your own compiled drivers.

Just note, any future update could break the change, and a move in the future to different driver platform, could be the death of whiteboxes for ESXi.

see here

http://www.v-front.de/2013/10/the-good-and-bad-of-new-native-driver.html

Unfortunately, because this enters a "grey area" of modifying ESXi installation media, which breaks the VMware EULA, it's against EE rules to discuss such modifications, as it's regarded as a hack.
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cmatchettAuthor Commented:
It looks like i will have to buy one of the controllers you have recommended
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cmatchettAuthor Commented:
Can you recommend a good NAS box to buy?
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
What's your budget, we prefer to BUILD our own for Lab use, using ZFS, e.g. Oracle, Open Solaris, Open Indiana, Nexenta

Nexenta Community Edition
http://www.nexenta.com/corp/downloads/download-community-edition

if you are in the UK, you can get very good deals on HP ProLiant MicroServers, with Cashback, we offer good building blocks for NASes!

We use these, and stack 12TB (iSCSI and NFS) in a single low power (electric) box!

see my SAN here!

http://andysworld.org.uk/2011/08/25/skynet-ssdsupersan-hp-proliant-microserver-with-a-6-bay-hot-plug-sata-drive-bay/

otherwise, at the low end...

Synology, Qnap, Drobo and Iomega....

Serverplus do a good deal....

http://www.serversplus.com/microserver_cashback
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cmatchettAuthor Commented:
if i got one the storage controllers you advised me to get, i could use the vmware storage appliance with the local storage and then i wouldn't need the NAS?

i have two of these ASUS machines
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
Do you have licenses for VSA?

Yes, you could, but performance on a single disk (if supported), will be poor.

Is this lab to play with?

or production?
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cmatchettAuthor Commented:
Yes, this is my own personal lab to mess about in.

You can get the trial of the VSA?
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
To trial and mess about with I would build it all on ESXi in VMware Workstation!

Yes, trials are available 60 days.

vSphere 5.0 AutoLab by Alastair Cooke

I would also recommend looking at vSphere 5.0 AutoLab by fellow vExpert - Alastair Cooke
 
What is the AutoLab?

The AutoLab is a quick easy way to build a vSphere environment for  testing and learning using a single desktop or laptop PC and VMware  Workstation, Fusion or ESXi. The whole lab runs in VMs on that one PC,  even ESXi runs in a VM and can then run it’s own VMs.

 Take a look over at ProfessionalVMware for details of how to get started with building your own vSphere 5 AutoLab.
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