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 Asus-server DSEB-DG & VT-d 
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Joined: Sun Mar 27, 2011 11:30 am
Posts: 3
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Post Asus-server DSEB-DG & VT-d
Hello, this is my first post and i hope somebody can help me...

At home i'm having a luxury problem.

I'm running 2 seperate machines: 1 ESXi & 1 M$ Storage server, both own storage...

Both running decent hardware as in server components:

ESX ASUS DSEB-DG Serverboard
2 * XEON L5420
ESX LSI 8344 ELP array controller
M$ Storage LSI 8888 ELP array controller


To save some money on electricity and an upgrade from 4.0 to 4.1u1, i decided to use VT-d and move the storage server's array-controller + drives to the ESX environment.


Unfortunately, i'm unable to use the VT-d feature. After i turn it on in the BIOS, (and get past the hanging VFAT loaded message), the datastore gets missing (unknown VM's).


************************

I tried a lot of stuff for a few days now, updated the devices firmware's, re-created the arrays, cleared CMOS, turned off onboard luxury devices as Marvell and Intel Matrix chipsets, PXE. No luck.

Now i'm not even able to get past the "vfat loaded successfully" message with VT-d enabled.

************************

Could it be a solution to install ESXi on a USB stick, boot from it, and when the device-drivers get loaded (with passthrough support..), that the datastore remains?


I'm starting to become a little desperate with my overrated system(s).


Thanks for any attention...


Sun Mar 27, 2011 11:30 pm
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Joined: Sun Mar 27, 2011 11:30 am
Posts: 3
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Post Re: Asus-server DSEB-DG & VT-d
YES!

That i did not do this earlier....

Running it from an USB stick....

Turned on VT-d (also disabled all intel sata/pata interfaces to bypass VFAT hanging, what a crap intel creates and/or such a bad VMware support on that) and i'm able to keep my array!!!


Anybody knows about ESX on USB? Is that a reliable situation? It just boots and stays resident isn't it? Here and there a write maybe, or does it wear out after 2 weeks and i'm cooked?

Imagine it wears out, am i able to install on a fresh stick and able to add the old array without data-loss?


Thanks in advance,


Martijn


Mon Mar 28, 2011 11:24 am
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Joined: Mon Mar 16, 2009 10:13 pm
Posts: 3880
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Post Re: Asus-server DSEB-DG & VT-d
Once ESXi has booted it create a RAM disk and most I/O is to it. I've been running ESXi on the same USB for at least 3 years so it's an option that won't fail early.

You can use vicfg-cfgbackup from the vCLI or Get-VMHostFirmware from PowerCLI to take a system backup. In the case of a USB flash device failure you would install ESXi onto a new USB flash drive, patch it and then restore the backup you took.

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Mon Mar 28, 2011 3:49 pm
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