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ESXi 5.5 and 4k sector volumes

Posted on 2014-04-06
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Hi,

I have a new dell equallogic san that supports creating 4k sector volumes and the legacy 512k volumes.  I read an article (from the competition) saying that 4k sector volumes aren't supported in vmware 5.5, is this true? I asked vmware, but haven't got an answer.
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Question by:ts11
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Expert Comment

by:bigeven2002
ID: 39982111
Hello,

We probably looked at the same article.  I found two articles indicating that native 4K isn't supported for ESXi or Vsphere yet.   But it is best to get official confirmation from VMware once they reply.
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Author Comment

by:ts11
ID: 39982117
They did reply, but they thought I was talking about block size in the VMFS5.  I can't find any documentation in a kb on this.
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Expert Comment

by:43t3R
ID: 39982131
From http://kb.vmware.com/selfservice/microsites/search.do?language=en_US&cmd=displayKC&externalId=2006942

[b]
While vSphere 5.x fully supports logical volumes greater than 2TB - 512 bytes, the cciss driver shipped with ESXi 5.x cannot address a single logical volume greater than 2TB - 512 bytes.[/b] This is true even if the array controller is capable of support for larger volumes, because support is limited by the driver. For more information, see the Configuration Maximums guide for VMware vSphere 5.0.

This issue occurs with version 3.6.14-10vmw of the cciss device driver that ships with ESXi 5.x. Any disk controllers using this driver are limited to 2TB - 512 byte single logical volume support. The P410i controller uses hpsa driver version 5.0.0.-24OEM.

This issue is seen to occur with, but is not limited to, the HP Smart Array controllers, P400, P400i, P410i, P600, P800, E200, E200i, and E500. 

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I can't find anything that says that 5.5 upgraded this feature --- although now they support 62TB vmdks, so I think it is logical to assume that they do now.
But I would want to test since I can't find anything that says 100% that it is fixed.

Maybe just try to create a HDD using the web interface (vsphere doesnt work with newer features, you have to use the new interface) that is over 2TB and see what it says?
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Author Comment

by:ts11
ID: 39982132
The firmware of the SAN definitely supports 4k sector volumes.

I was hoping there was an article out there that confirmed vmware supported them as well.  Not sure about that kb you posted... it's not really applicable to my setup and I'm not having the problems mentioned.
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Expert Comment

by:43t3R
ID: 39982138
the KB article states that ESXi drivers didn't support anything greater than 2TB, 512B logical drives.


However, if you compare these two documents:

https://www.vmware.com/pdf/vsphere5/r50/vsphere-50-configuration-maximums.pdf

https://www.vmware.com/pdf/vsphere5/r55/vsphere-55-configuration-maximums.pdf

The 512B limitation is no longer mentioned.
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2) earned 500 total points
ID: 39982349
Not Supported, these are new features in Dell Equallogic firmware 7.x.

As you will see confirmed here

http://austintovey.blogspot.co.uk/2013/12/vmware-and-esxi-with-4k-disks.html
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Author Comment

by:ts11
ID: 39982374
Thanks Andrew.  I actually saw that post, but wanted something a little more official.  In any case, it looks like I'll be sticking with the 512 byte sector volumes.
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LVL 119
ID: 39982603
Dell Equallogic firmware 7.x, and 4k sectors is relatively new, I've not seen any official Kbs, as yet.
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Author Comment

by:ts11
ID: 39984908
I just want to add the response from vmware:

-- Does VMware ESXi 5.5 support native 4k bytes sector volumes?

As long as your disk/raid controller supports drives with 4KB sector-size you are OK on vSphere side. It should not be any problem for VMFS5 file-system because it uses block/sub-block size 1MB and ESXi will not be aware of RAID levels on the storage array. If you are presenting the LUNs from 4KB sector-size drives it should function normally.
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