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 Building new box for SOHO setup 
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Joined: Fri Mar 27, 2009 3:01 pm
Posts: 33
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Post Re: Building new box for SOHO setup
Hello-

I decided that a Raid 5 card was overkill for my needs, and the safety and simplicity of Raid 1 would suffice. So, I chose the lower-end Dell SAS 6/iR card that only supports Raid 0 and 1. I'm hoping it also will run much cooler than the Perc 5 or 6 cards. It is a PCIe x8 card that Dell included (or makes an option) on some of its workstations and lower end servers.

I'll let you know how it integrates with ESXi 4.0.

This is my first time setting up a hardware raid. Do you have any advice for setup options? I purchased 3 750 GB WD RE3 drives planning to use 2 in Raid 1 with one as a spare.

Questions -

•Should I power up the 3rd drive and configure it as a hot spare, or just wait for a drive to fail and replace it (cold spare I guess that would be!)?

•Are there any formatting options for a hardware Raid 1 I might need to know about when setting it up in the bios config? Cluster size or stripe size? Any other options that might come up that would throw me?

•Right now I'm booting ESXi 4.0 from a USB stick and that's working fine. With these drives now should I now partition the Raid 1 and have ESXi boot from the drives, or just keep it booting from the USB stick (with a backup clone stick for redundancy)?

•Beyond that I assume I should just format them as the largest possible single partition for ESXi data use?

Thanks!

_________________
Asus M4A78T-E
Phenom II X4 905e
8GB ECC DDR3
2x Intel Pro1000 GT NICs
3 drives on Dell SAS6/iR

VMWare ESXi 4: VMs: pfSense router, FreeNAS, another Ubuntu mail server, Ubuntu iSCSI host, plus a WinXP machine.


Tue Sep 22, 2009 11:38 am
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Joined: Mon Mar 16, 2009 10:13 pm
Posts: 3880
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Post Re: Building new box for SOHO setup
I would make the 3rd drive a hotspare. If you ever have a problem it'll take care of itself. Or you could use it as an individual drive and store your backups on it.

For the setup, the BIOS app for the RAID controller should take you through the process and the defaults will be fine. You could still with USB or reinstall - it really comes down to what you prefer.

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


Tue Sep 22, 2009 11:48 am
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Joined: Fri Mar 27, 2009 3:01 pm
Posts: 33
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Post Re: Building new box for SOHO setup
Thanks Dave!

_________________
Asus M4A78T-E
Phenom II X4 905e
8GB ECC DDR3
2x Intel Pro1000 GT NICs
3 drives on Dell SAS6/iR

VMWare ESXi 4: VMs: pfSense router, FreeNAS, another Ubuntu mail server, Ubuntu iSCSI host, plus a WinXP machine.


Tue Sep 22, 2009 11:52 am
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Joined: Fri Mar 27, 2009 3:01 pm
Posts: 33
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Post Re: Building new box for SOHO setup
I can report that Dell SAS 6/iR works fine in my setup. I created a Raid 1 volume using 3 WD 750 GB RE3 drives, one being hot spare.

The bios config utility was fairly straightforward, and when the raid volume was built ESXi 4 saw it correctly as a single volume. Also, in Configuration --> Health Status ESXi 4 is now reporting the sensor status information about the raid card and the drives (which it did not do before with the drive on the AMD southbridge).

It tells me that the "status" is Normal for the raid card, the individual drives, and the raid volume. There is nothing listed in the 'reading' column. I can not do any configuration of the raid from this page. Is that the expected behavior, or is there a chance I could get more info by installing some Dell customized software? I wish I could monitor the drive temps.

Should I be able to install the Dell (or LSI) Storage Manager web server so I can do more monitoring and configuring of the Raid via web browser?

Do you suppose the Raid controller keeps the hot spare spun down to save power?

Thanks.

_________________
Asus M4A78T-E
Phenom II X4 905e
8GB ECC DDR3
2x Intel Pro1000 GT NICs
3 drives on Dell SAS6/iR

VMWare ESXi 4: VMs: pfSense router, FreeNAS, another Ubuntu mail server, Ubuntu iSCSI host, plus a WinXP machine.


Sun Sep 27, 2009 2:21 pm
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Site Admin

Joined: Mon Mar 16, 2009 10:13 pm
Posts: 3880
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Post Re: Building new box for SOHO setup
I would think the drive would be only spun up for a raid failure. You can't install Dell / LSI tools into ESXi, but you can download the LSI Management app onto a PC and try to connect to ESXi. It only works on certain models of controllers.

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


Sun Sep 27, 2009 11:05 pm
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