On this second post I want to talk about the interaction problems I experienced with the HP SmartArray P212 controller in this computer. The HP SmartArray P212 controller is certified for VMware ESXi 4.0 and Solaris 10. Initially I thought that using VMware would be useful to me in order to play with Solaris and even Windows 7.
However, I haven’t been able to get VMware ESXi 4.0 to work properly on this controller. If I create 4 logical drives in the HP controller, one for each phyisical disk, VMware finds the drives and figures out their right sizes. However, if configure a 3-drive RAID-5 logical volume in the HP controller, yielding a usable 3.0TB volume size, VMware finds and reports a 0.0B-sized volume. I tried different options from the HP SmartArray BIOS, like limiting the maximum bootable partition size, but the end result is always the same: VMware sees a 0.0B logical volume that can’t be used to install VMware neither to store virtual disks.
In the end, I ditched VMware ESXi 4.0 in favor of OpenSolaris, at least on this machine. I could have created 4 logical volumes, but it doesn’t make much sense for VMware itself. It makes perfect sense when running Solaris and using RAIDZ, though.
I haven’t been able to found any explanation to this problem other than VMware does not support LUNs bigger than 2TB. Is this the case? Do any of you have experience with VMware and LUNs larger than 2TB?