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.
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.