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Gen 8 ESXi Advice?


cattlerustler
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Just bought a new Gen 8 (I already have a N54L and a Gen 8) to also run ESXi. I have seen performance issues with my current Gen 8 and just want to make sure I don't fall into them again. At the end of this I will probably upgrade my other Gen 8 retire my N54L.

 

What I have bought;

 

Gen 8 1610T 4GB

i5-3470T

4GB RAM from my other Gen 8 (I'll probably go to 16GB once all is working well.)

A pair of 60 GB SSD

4 500GB Sata drives

Adaptec 6504 Raid card (might buy the BBC daughter board for this)

 

My current plan is to run the pair of SSD for ESX off first 2 BL120i ports and the 500GB drives in RAID 10 for the VMs

Use the HP ESX ISO for Version 6 U2.

 

My current issues, when I setup the other Gen 8 I could never get it to recognise the 6504 but ran out of time to resolve it and used an old Adaptec card I had. I also never quite realised the limitations of the CPU (I have 4 guests on the old Gen 8).

 

Any advice would be good to make sure my upgrade and install goes well, any advice would be greatly appreciated, I have read a lot of the forum which is why I am doing this.

 

Do I need to downgrade the raid driver? Also any good advice for making sure there is Raid 1 for ESX to boot from?

 

TIA 

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why waste SSDs for ESXi OS install, why not use a MicroSD or USB flash drive ?

 

We've been doing this since 2004! ESXi will only BOOT faster, and how often are you going to restart the server.

 

ESXi just reads and it goes memory resident!

 

Save your SSDs for host cache, or VMFS datastore

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I don't see Adaptec 6504 on ESXi 6 U2 HCL list - http://www.vmware.com/resources/compatibility/search.php?deviceCategory=io

 

My bad, typo, it is a 6405 :)

why waste SSDs for ESXi OS install, why not use a MicroSD or USB flash drive ?

 

We've been doing this since 2004! ESXi will only BOOT faster, and how often are you going to restart the server.

 

ESXi just reads and it goes memory resident!

 

Save your SSDs for host cache, or VMFS datastore

 

Host cache sounds a plan (new setup to learn), got a good recommendation for a reliable Flash drive?

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My bad, typo, it is a 6405 :)

 

Host cache sounds a plan (new setup to learn), got a good recommendation for a reliable Flash drive?

 

any 16GB good quality USB flash drive, SanDisk, Kingston, Lexar - just don't purchase something for a $1 from Walmart!

 

it does not really matter about speed, faster USB just means, it's going to boot 5 seconds quicker!

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Host cache sounds a plan (new setup to learn), got a good recommendation for a reliable Flash drive?

You've got 3 options for SSD usage under ESXi.

 

1. Host cache which is included in the free hypervisor is only used for VM memory swapping. If you're not overcommitting memory and you should avoid doing so as much as possible then it doesn't do anything useful. You can still store VMs on a SSD used for host cache but it is best to dedicate the SSD for host cache only if you do use it.

 

2. vSphere Flash Read Cache (vFRC) implements the Host Cache feature and additionally adds a cache to accelerate your datastores reads. You define how much vFRC space you want to dedicate for each VMDK and ESXi will transparently cache blocks onto the SSD. It will automatically select frequently read data from your VMDK and cache it in the SSD. vFRC requires an Enterprise Plus license though. vFRC will take over the entire SSD so you can't also store VMs on there as well.

 

3. Format the SSD as a VMFS datastore to store your VMs.

 

For my Gen8 Microserver, I have a fast SATA SSD for vFRC attached to first port of the internal SATA controller as this runs at SATA III speeds.

 

For large production servers, I use multiple NVMe SSDs in each server. ESXi is fully supports NVMe SSDs and you get a performance increase over SSDs attached via SATA or emulate a SATA controller via PCIe.

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Ordered a couple of USB flash drives.

:D

 

As I will be using all, if not overcommitting, the 16GB of RAM I will take your advice and use the SSD for host cache. Is it worth using these in RAID 1 to cover against failure?

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Now installed ESX 6 used a Sandisk USB as advised and loaded the Cache onto a single  Sandisk 120GB SSD

Still had problems with the Adaptec card, I am more convinced this is faulty so I have ordered a P410 instead I know it is only Sata 2 but funds are limited as I just treated my other Gen 8 to a Xeon CPU

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ran a couple of simple tests copying Data to the SSD (now to be host cache) that is on the B120i first with the driver that came with HP ESX6 U2 and the performance was very poor, then I downgraded the driver to the 0.88 one, and wow the performance increase was huge!  

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Well All running and all was well, shut down the server to add the P410 raid card and USB drive has failed, won't work in anything, worse though this is the 2nd one I bought the first also failed!

 

I just bought the pair from Amazon SanDisk Ultra 16 GB USB Flash Drive USB 3.0

 

Ideas? 

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