Take the 2-minute tour ×
Server Fault is a question and answer site for professional system and network administrators. It's 100% free, no registration required.

I'm about to install ESXi 5.0U2 on a RAID10 exposed by an HP Smart Array P400i. (The server is a DL580 G5.) However, I notice that the ROM-based utility lacks many of the features of the browser-based HP Array Configuration Utility, but the latter only runs in Windows or Linux distros.

I can't do any PCI passthrough on this server, so as far as I can see I can't just install ACU into a guest OS and expect to get anywhere.

The only way I can see to use ACU is to have an installation of Windows on a separate drive to boot to when I need to do array management, but this is very inconvenient and also does nothing for monitoring.

Do I have any better options for managing the hardware RAID on such a host?

share|improve this question
1  
Kevin, I may be misunderstanding, but wouldn't you be able to boot the server using an HP SmartStart CD, from which you can run the ACU? Or are you looking for a solution that does not require rebooting an operational ESXi server just in order to run ACU. –  JasonAzze Jan 24 '13 at 20:25
1  
I've not used PCI passthrough much but I think that would present a bit of a catch 22 anyway. How could you install vSphere on a RAID array being presented via that card and then pass that card though to a VM? It's my understanding that any PCI device configured for passthrough can't also be used by the host. –  joeqwerty Jan 24 '13 at 20:41
    
@JasonAzze Actually, I hadn't realized you could run ACU from HP SmartStart as I've never used it before, I was just looking at the download page for ACU itself and it made no mention of that option; thanks for clueing me into that! That worked. Ideally I would rather not even have to reboot the server, but it's not the end of the world if I do. –  Kevin Jan 26 '13 at 20:44
    
@joeqwerty In theory a RAID adapter should expose entirely separate I/O interfaces for disk access vs. array management, in which case PCI passthrough could work. In practice, few devices are ever engineered so beautifully, so I too would guess PCI passthrough wouldn't work. I was just stating for greater certainty that passthrough is definitely not an option on this system. –  Kevin Jan 26 '13 at 20:45
    
@kevin Would you also consider ESXi 5.1? Just because :) –  ewwhite Jan 28 '13 at 5:51
add comment

1 Answer

up vote 3 down vote accepted

There are several good options for handling this nowadays. The HP BIOS-based RAID utility is only meant for quick and simple logical drive configuration. For more complex arrangements, you need to use one of the following:

  • The HP SmartStart and Service Pack for ProLiant bootable disks allow fine-grained array configuration, as they boot the server into an offline Linux configuration environment.

  • The new Array Configuration Utility Offline CD is a 100mb bootable CD and a quicker way of doing the initial configuration. It boots into either an ACU command line tool or a full ACU graphical interface.

  • A Linux boot disk with the hpacucli tool was my old approach before I start making use of the bootable HP CD's.

My typical VMware ESXi install would look like below, where I'd carve out a 16GB or 18GB logical drive for ESXi to live on, then give the rest to VMFS:

/opt/hp/hpacucli/bin # ./hpacucli ctrl all show config

Smart Array P410i in Slot 0 (Embedded)    (sn: 5001438010A99E30)

   array A (SAS, Unused Space: 0  MB)

      logicaldrive 1 (18.0 GB, RAID 1+0, OK)
      logicaldrive 2 (392.1 GB, RAID 1+0, OK)

      physicaldrive 1I:1:1 (port 1I:box 1:bay 1, SAS, 146 GB, OK)
      physicaldrive 1I:1:2 (port 1I:box 1:bay 2, SAS, 146 GB, OK)
      physicaldrive 1I:1:3 (port 1I:box 1:bay 3, SAS, 146 GB, OK)
      physicaldrive 1I:1:4 (port 1I:box 1:bay 4, SAS, 146 GB, OK)
      physicaldrive 2I:1:5 (port 2I:box 1:bay 5, SAS, 146 GB, OK)
      physicaldrive 2I:1:6 (port 2I:box 1:bay 6, SAS, 146 GB, OK)

   SEP (Vendor ID PMCSIERA, Model  SRC 8x6G) 250 (WWID: 5001438010A99E3F)

Once you have ESXi installed, you should be adding the HP CIM drivers and HP Utilities packages. These will give you HP-specific reporting to VMware and the HP ILO and array command-line configuration utilities.

This will give you the ability to fully manage your storage array from the VMware command line.

Note:
PCI-passthrough of a Smart Array controller works when the server hardware supports it. The system in question is too old and doesn't support VMware VMDirectPath I/O. In newer ProLiant systems, I'm fully able to pass a Smart Array controller or otherwise to a virtual guest.

share|improve this answer
    
Thank you for the tips. As for the passthrough, @joeqwerty was referring to the specific case of passing through (for management purposes) the same RAID controller that the hypervisor is stored on - a trickier situation. But HP's VMware-based management tools you mention should make this unnecessary anyhow. –  Kevin Feb 3 '13 at 23:48
add comment

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.