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Cannot install VMware ESXi onto external pci-e ssd mass storage device


tanio.artino
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Hi all,

 

I am building my hp microserver and when I thought that I was there ready to enjoy it I faced a last minute problem, I think a bad one.

 

Current settings

 

Processor: Xeon E3-1265L V2

Ram: 16GB specifically 2 of Kingston Technology 8 GB DDR3 1,600 MHz DIMM ECC Memory Module

Disks: 4 of western digital black 500GB in raid 1+0

 

I want also to install a pci-e ssd controller with 128gB of ultrafast memory so I bought the controller and the memory below

  • LyCOM DT-120 - Lycom DT-120 M.2 PCI-e SSD to PCI-e Adapter Card
  • Samsung MZHPV128HDGM-00000 SM951 128 GB Internal

The Bios recognises it as other mass storage device and I setup it to be the primary boot device

 

So far so good

 

When I installed VMware 6.0.0 Update 1 January 2016 the 128GB disk does not appear in the list (I can only see the raid 10 logical drive and the USB where I installed VMware)....... OPS

 

Why is this happening? Is it a driver problem? 

 

 

 

 

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Not sure why you have the issue, but not sure why / if you really need to boot off the SSD as it seems a bit overkill. ESX will load, and then mainly run in memory. ESX would best be "installed" onto a MicroSD card or USB stick. Then use the SDD as a fast datastore for your VM's. 

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Totally agree,

 

I wanted to create a 10 gb partion for vmware and use the rest of it for a dedicated ultrafast VM

Now I have the doubt if this is actually possible

 

Can I create a partition on the disk where I install vmware? I use vmware daily but I have never installed myself from scratch

 

Thanks 

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Just install vmware esxi on the microsd card and boot it from there and format all SSD surface as vmware datastore, and wd disks as second datastore, or as RDM - what you want. Of course, if installed vmware ESXI will recognize your Lycom adapter card with SSD disk. If don't recognize, you have to find drivers for Lycom adapter or change it for SATA SSD disk and connect it instead DVD drive to SATA 5 in B120i.

I've the same configuration as you with additional HP H222 SAS controller. In my microserver, ESXI is booting from microsd, SATA SSD 256GB is connected to B120i, and formatted as datastore which stores my virtual machines. To HP H222 I've connected disks as RDM and vmware datastore and all works well.

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What snapper said about AHCI.

 

I've used the NVMe version of those SM951 SSDs and the NVMe driver is built into ESXi so you don't need to do anything special. You won't be able to boot from it though unless your BIOS/firmware also supports it however. I'm using them for vFRC and they work well.

 

One warning about the SM951, they do require decent airflow to work properly. There is a significant performance penalty if they get too hot as they start throttling. I've got several installed inside rackmount servers and they're okay there with the strong forced airflow but a Gen8 Microserver has very poor airflow over the PCIe slot so beware.

 

As the SM951 is classified as an OEM part by Samsung, there are no publicly available firmware updates available for it and the Samsung SSD Magician utility doesn't recognise it.

Edited by GotNoTime
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