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 Whitebox - Thoughts and ideas 
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Joined: Fri Aug 06, 2010 11:42 pm
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Post Whitebox - Thoughts and ideas
Hi all,

I have installed a whitebox basically, and it all works very nicely :D
Specs:
Board: Intel DP55WB (note, no on-board graphics). (1x PCI slot, 2x PCI-Exp single speed and 1x 16xPCI-Express slot)
Core i5 750 quad core CPU.
8 GB Kingston HyperX DDR3
PCI Graphics card (Whatever was available...)
Intel dual port Pro 1000 PT adapter
2 or 3 1.5 TB disks (Should be enough to help me with any disk needs what so ever (2 disks raid 1 and 3 disks in raid 5, see below)
ESX 4.1 (not ESXi)
I have disabled the following devices:
- onboard sound.
- onboard nic (after testing it was not picked up).

Setup worked out of the box otherwise. However, the on-board raid of course is a bit messed up. I configured a raid 5 and a raid 1, both with the same two conclusions:
1: only one disk is seen in both raid 1 and 5 so Raid 5 is not a good solution I believe, and I assume raid 10 which the board supports, will not work either.

2: After configuring the raid, the installation picks up the installation, it finished but on reboot, the system reports that it can not boot, which leaves me to think, AHCI with single disk for installation.... :x

The above things are just facts I have noticed, not really problems for me currently I have some questions for some changes that I am thinking about making.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
1: I have an adaptec raid adapter 1420SA (OK... HOST raid adapter) I have noticed that there are drivers on adaptecs website for Linux, red hat (advanced server 2 and RHEL 3, 4, and 5). Does someone know if these drivers could be utilized to recognize the adapter in vmware?
Adapter would go in the PCI slot.
(Bonus question: Does the adapter allow for a proper raid to be seen, like in raid 5 or will it give the same result as with the on-board host adapter?)

2: I would like to replace the PCI graphics adapter with a PCI-Express. To be honest, if I could find a single speed GFX adapter I suspect it would do, however I suppose I'll have to use the 16x slot for this after all. This leaves me with 2x single speed ethernet ports, does someone have an idea for single or dual port ethernet cards pci-express single speed to put there which are recognized in vmware without issues?

3: Failing the above options, does someone have a good recommendation for a PCI-Express raid card which would recognize the disks properly?

//Demogenes


Sat Aug 07, 2010 12:03 am
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Joined: Mon Mar 16, 2009 10:13 pm
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Post Re: Whitebox - Thoughts and ideas
Quote:
However, the on-board raid of course is a bit messed up. I configured a raid 5 and a raid 1, both with the same two conclusions:
1: only one disk is seen in both raid 1 and 5 so Raid 5 is not a good solution I believe, and I assume raid 10 which the board supports, will not work either.

Is it something like an ICH*R controller? If so the driver that supports these controllers on ESX(i) does not support the RAID functionality of these cards. That's the case for the Intel STorage Matrix family.

Quote:
2: After configuring the raid, the installation picks up the installation, it finished but on reboot, the system reports that it can not boot, which leaves me to think, AHCI with single disk for installation....

It is likely that ESX wrote to one disk and then when you rebooted the system tried to load from the 2nd disk.

Quote:
1: I have an adaptec raid adapter 1420SA (OK... HOST raid adapter) I have noticed that there are drivers on adaptecs website for Linux, red hat (advanced server 2 and RHEL 3, 4, and 5). Does someone know if these drivers could be utilized to recognize the adapter in vmware?
Adapter would go in the PCI slot.
(Bonus question: Does the adapter allow for a proper raid to be seen, like in raid 5 or will it give the same result as with the on-board host adapter?)

You would have to compile the Linux source code after modifying it work with ESX(i). ESX(i) has a Linux compatability mode for drivers but you can use native Linux drivers. They have to be modified and compiled specifically for ESX(i). As the 1420 is a software RAID controller ESX(i) will only see the individual drives in any array that you create.

Quote:
2: I would like to replace the PCI graphics adapter with a PCI-Express. To be honest, if I could find a single speed GFX adapter I suspect it would do, however I suppose I'll have to use the 16x slot for this after all. This leaves me with 2x single speed ethernet ports, does someone have an idea for single or dual port ethernet cards pci-express single speed to put there which are recognized in vmware without issues?

I would look at Intel Pro 1000 cards and check to see if they're listed here www.vmware.com/go/hcl


3: Failing the above options, does someone have a good recommendation for a PCI-Express raid card which would recognize the disks properly?

Have you seen the list here - http://www.vm-help.com//esx40i/esx40_wh ... hp#Storage?

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Dave Mishchenko
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Sat Aug 07, 2010 10:06 am
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Joined: Fri Aug 06, 2010 11:42 pm
Posts: 5
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Post Re: Whitebox - Thoughts and ideas
Hi Dave,

Thanks for your response.
I believe you are right in all points, I was merely looking to see if someone had found something newer than what I've seen in this forum and other forums.

For the raid and network controllers I did look through what you have on the page. So far most of the intel adapters I have seen do not fit properly in a PCI-Express 1x slot sadly though. However I'll keep looking.

I'll inform if I find something that works :)

//Demogenes


Mon Aug 09, 2010 2:39 am
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Joined: Wed Aug 11, 2010 12:38 pm
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Post Re: Whitebox - Thoughts and ideas
Demogenes,

I believe this card may be what you are looking for:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6833106033

I've not tested it myself, but I would be hard-pressed if you had any issues. It's also pretty cheap for some good and proven Intel NIC performance/compatibility. Check out the Newegg reviews and you'll see many people purchase this for the sole reason of using it with ESXi.

Cheers


Wed Aug 11, 2010 12:41 pm
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Joined: Fri Aug 06, 2010 11:42 pm
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Post Re: Whitebox - Thoughts and ideas
Hi 33rev

thanks for the suggestion. I bought two test cards today, which unsurprisingly turned out to be based on the realteak 8111 chip... *sigh*

I will probably order a storage adapter adaptec 3405 for the storage controller and two of the cards you mention. Now the real pain:
I live in Greece... noone sells either part so I have to see if I can get my dad to buy it and bring it along when they come down here in a months time *argh* :roll:

Oh well I'll survive I suppose :)

//Demogenes


Thu Aug 12, 2010 10:30 am
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Joined: Mon Mar 16, 2009 10:13 pm
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Post Re: Whitebox - Thoughts and ideas
Have you tried the driver from here - viewtopic.php?f=12&t=2187. I think there are a few 8111/8168 drivers floating around.

What part of Greece are you in? I haven't been there in a few years but my wife, the kids and I had some of our best vacations there.

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Dave Mishchenko
VMware vExpert 2009-2013
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Now available - VMware ESXi: Planning, Implementation, and Security
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Thu Aug 12, 2010 12:04 pm
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Joined: Fri Aug 06, 2010 11:42 pm
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Post Re: Whitebox - Thoughts and ideas
Hi Dave,

I might try some drivers over the weekend, as much for the experience of compiling them.
I found a link here:
http://www.kernelcrash.com/blog/using-a ... 009/08/22/
Which seems interesting to try out.

I live in Athens, I assume you've been to the islands mainly though or?

//Demogenes


Thu Aug 12, 2010 9:07 pm
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Post Re: Whitebox - Thoughts and ideas
The kernelcrash site is the best I've seen for compiling a driver.

Our last trip we were just on Crete but got a few days in Athens at the start and end of the trip. Our first trip we started in Rhodes and hit a few islands and the 2nd trip was on the west side of Greece.

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Dave Mishchenko
VMware vExpert 2009-2013
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Now available - VMware ESXi: Planning, Implementation, and Security
Also available - vSphere Quick Start Guide


Thu Aug 12, 2010 11:04 pm
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Joined: Fri Aug 06, 2010 11:42 pm
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Post Re: Whitebox - Thoughts and ideas
nice!
Lots of things to see down here, even on the islands. Of course if people just want to go swimming that's ok too :)


Thu Aug 12, 2010 11:12 pm
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Joined: Mon Sep 20, 2010 3:26 pm
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Post Re: Whitebox - Thoughts and ideas
i just want to add that Ive also built up a box with this motherboard - Intel DP55WB using ESXi 4.1. The install initially failed due to the onboard NIC not being supported, however I changed to an Intel PRO 1000 GT NIC and its all sweet now.

Xeon X3440 CPU, 8GB RAM...good bang-for-buck box.


Mon Sep 20, 2010 3:33 pm
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