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ESXi 6 - AHCI to RAID 0 Arrays


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Hi Everyone.


Intel Xeon E3-1270 v2 - 4 x 3.5 Ghz

2 x 8 GB Kingstone 10600 Mhz ECC

4 x 4TB Western Digital Red NAS Disks

1 x 240 GB SSD


ESXi 6 Update 2


When I change AHCI to RAID on bios and create 4 x RAID 0 arrays for each 4TB disk and another RAID 0 array for SSD disk I cant use data on it. If I reformat SSD and create new datastore it works but my datas on 4 TB disk non readable. Its said unknown partition. After reformating SSD for datastore and revert back to AHCI then I cant access to SSD again until I reformat. But my data still on disks. Is that normal. Cant I just remove single disk RAID 0 arrays to another computers SATA ports and read it ?

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I have moved drives back and forth between AHCI and B120i single drive RAID0 with data staying in place. Although I have not tried this with ESXi.

Are you booting from a USB drive.

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I also have moved between AHCI and RAID mode on the B120i and P410 -- no problem at all, everything is visible before and after.

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Just make clear everything.





DataStore on SSD

XPEnology VM on SSD

4 x 4 TB disks attached to XPEnology with RDM


Synology DSM 5.2 and RAID 5 on disks. Works perfect until reboot. AHCI port reset problems.


Second Test

Still AHCI

Remove ESXi USB

Boot XPEnology iso via iLo

DSM just boot and detect disks and partitons. Work without problem.



Change AHCI to RAID

Enter B120i SSA

First create Raid 0 for single SSD at 5th port. Default Settings.

Then create RAID 0 arrays for each disk seperatly. So I have 5 different RAID 0 arrays for 4x4TB disks and SSD

Put ESXi USB back and boot.

ESXi boot found my HBA (b120i) and detect all disk. But Datastore cant be detected. I have to reformat and recreate datastore on SSD.

ESXi show partition table on 4TB disks after very long wait. I recreate RDM for each 4TB disks.

I recreate XPEnology DSM VM and attach RDM disks. After boot XPEnology found 4 x disks but say "unknown partiton table" on every disks.

So DSM cant boot.



Still RAID

Remove ESXi USB and mount XPEnology ISO again.

XPEnology cant found disk or partition. I cant remember but not boot DSM.



Change RAID to AHCI

Mount XPEnology and boot. Works again. So RAID0 to AHCI wont damage anything.



Still AHCI

Boot ESXi from USB. But ESXi cant detect datastore on SSD because I had to recreate when I change to RAID.

This isnt my first HP Server with B120i. But its first time AHCI to RAID or vice versa affect disk access.


Any idea. Because mines out. The only solutions I think boot from XPEnology. Get all data to another system. Then scratch rebuild with B120i. But if I remove disks from system and put another system I think it will be unreadable.

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When you move to RAID are you installing the RAID driver in ESXi for the B120i? I believe the best performance is still achieved using an older version of the driver. It is discussed in the forums.

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Here is my experience:


Before: Microserver G7, Windows 2012 R2 installed on an SSD in the ODD bay, 3 x WD Red disks in bays 0, 1, and 2. Everything physical, no problems.


Now: Microserver Gen8, RAID mode (all disks presented as single-disk RAID 0), ESXi 6 on a USB stick (hpvsa driver build 88), SSD in the ODD bay as datastore (formatted fresh during the ESXi install), 3 x WD Red as RDM with all the data intact from the G7. No problems. Fan 6%.




Can I suggest that you either sacrifice one of the existing data drives, or test with a different (spare) one? Could it be something that XPenology does to the disks that the B120i doesn't like? My data disks are formatted as NTFS (and have no problems switching between RAID and AHCI modes -- they were even connected to a P410 in the G7 for a while).


What I mean by sacrificing: set everything up with RAID mode, with SSD datastore (fresh format under RAID mode) and 1 x "sacrifice" drive, format the sacrifice drive in XPenology, and then revert back to AHCI mode and see if the data is still there.


Hmmm just remembered you had to re-format the SSD datastore drive as well, so it's definitely not XPenology.


OK, another suggestion: latest firmware on everything (there is an April 2016 SPP ISO you can boot from and it will update everything), reset everything to factory defaults, and start again? It doesn't make sense to me that lots of other people move disks back and forth between RAID and AHCI, and that you can't for some reason. Leave your data disks to one side, and do some destructive tests. Oh and by the way, ideally on your test disks, you should wipe them: the easiest was is to boot into a Windows install, Shift-F10, diskpart, list disk, select disk x (where x is the disk you want to wipe), list disk (again, to confirm the * showing the currently selected disk is the correct one you are going to wipe), clean, exit, exit


That wipes the partition table and leaves the disks completely clean (from a logical standpoint), no leftover partition tables or boot sectors.

Edited by rotor
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Some updates.I boot my server with B120i and RAID0 arrays with single disks. XPEnology ISO on iLO. XPEnology boot but want reinstall. Not install. So its seams found somethink. I done reinstall. And DSM said RAID5 volume is degraded. Because my Disk 1 is missing on RAID 5. Bu Disk 1 is ready to install. So I add Disk 1 to Raid 5 and its start to rebuild. After almost 18 hours my RAID 5 rebuild and everything good.



XPEnology direct boot from iLO ISO

4 x RAID 0 arrays for each 4 TB disks

1 x RAID 0 array for SSD

1 x USB for ESXi (didnt removed for test)



And B120i

ESXi 6.0 u2

NFS Datastore for DSM VM and ISO

B120i Raid Controller Passthrough



Then I have an idea. I install and setup NFS on my old Zyxel NAS. Setup NFS Datastore on ESXi. And just install 300kb DSM VM and XPEnology ISO (16mb). And whole passthrough B120i Raid controller to DSM VM. Its need reserved memory and i set it up to 2GB reserved memory. After boot DSM VM its works. So B120i isnt problem for XPEnology. Its still contains my data loaded on disk when it was AHCI. I dont know why its ask rebuild due disk 1. Maybe I corrupt it when I do my tests. But I cant use my SSD. :( Maybe I will make another volume on XPEnology for just SSD and attach that volume as NFS to ESXi for other VMs. But problem it will decrease performance whole system. And I dont want to use my old Zyxel NAS for DSM vm.


So problem is RDM when working with B120i. And RDM on AHCI not problem but AHCI with ESXi is big problem. B120i isnt problem but B120i with RDM wont working. At least wont work with already data contained disks. Maybe scratch build solve problem but thats more risky for future disasters.


Any ideas ? :) Now I will remove all disk and add a dummy disk for scratch build. Wish me luck.

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I think I found the problem. B120i Raid mode shows disk size almost 64 mb lesser. So partition table isnt fit. I think B120i using 65536 bytes from end of disk. So if I use create disk in B120i mode and then change to AHCI mode or move another AHCI system it will work. Because smaller partition on bigger disk isnt problem but bigger sized (incorrectly sized) partition on smaller disk is problem.


Wish me luck again.

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