HP Proliant DL180 G6 and VMware ESXi (part II)

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?

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5 thoughts on “HP Proliant DL180 G6 and VMware ESXi (part II)

  1. There is a 2TB limit on VMware disk, it is not really an issue of the P212 RAID controller, just create a logical volume of less than 2TB and it will load fine.

  2. Thanks for the confirmation. Honestly, I find this limitation to be annoying for a product that calls itself Enterprise-ready. I undersand that most ESX deployments will use shared storage (iSCSI, NFS) for data storage itself and not a local VMware volume, but given that VMware ESX requires a 64-bit processor, this limitation escapes my understanding. In the end, I ditched VMware in favor of native Solaris. Solaris has all I need for my particular use case.

  3. To be more specific, the largest VMFS LUN is 2TB but VMFS supports up to 32 concatenated LUNS making the largest VMFS volume 64TB in size.

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