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HPE Proliant DL360 gen10 and onboard S100i controller for SATA local datastore

 
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IT_Steve
Occasional Visitor

HPE Proliant DL360 gen10 and onboard S100i controller for SATA local datastore

We have ordered a DL360 Gen10 server to use as a ESXi host.  It has an P21868-B21 HPE 32GB microSD RAID 1 USB Boot Drive added as the boot/OS for ESXi.

Our datastore is located on an NFS NAS and it has been suggested we should have a 500GB SSD added to the server as a local datastore for the swap file to improve performance.  (single drive, no RAID)

I have read some blogs that indicate adjusting the RAID and AHCI settings in BIOS will allow this config, but they were sketchy on the details.

Will VMWare recognize a SATA drive connected to the onboard S100i controller?  Thanks.

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Anu_K
HPE Pro

Re: HPE Proliant DL360 gen10 and onboard S100i controller for SATA local datastore

Hello IT_Steve,

I do not think S100i supports Vmware ESXI installation.

I can see only below OS supported for S100i:

  • Operating Systems Microsoft Windows Server
  • Microsoft Windows Hyper-V Server

You may refer to the S100i user guide at https://h20195.www2.hpe.com/v2/Getdocument.aspx?docname=a00019427enw

Hope it helps!

 

Note: "While I am an HPE Employee, all of my comments (whether noted or not), are my own and are not any official representation of the company."

I am an HPE Employee

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IT_Steve
Occasional Visitor

Re: HPE Proliant DL360 gen10 and onboard S100i controller for SATA local datastore

Thanks for the link.  It notes this side bar: NOTE: Customers using Linux and VMware can use the embedded SATA ports in AHCI mode. In AHCI mode S100i Software RAID is not enabled.

So I should be able to use single, non raid drives with vmware using AHCI mode.  That is the confirmation I needed. 

Thank you.

PatrickLong
Valued Contributor
Solution

Re: HPE Proliant DL360 gen10 and onboard S100i controller for SATA local datastore

@IT_Steve I can't peak to the efficacy of using the S100i in AHCI mode to connect a local SSD to use for a swap datastore - I too have been advised that using it in software RAID for an ESXi boot device is not supported as the poster above stated.  The explicit use case you suggest seems like it would be supported based on the snippet you found. 

I don't want to hijack your thread, but I do want to alert you that you need to carefully consider your strategy of using the P21868-B21 HPE 32GB microSD RAID 1 USB Boot Drive as the boot/OS for ESXi, or at least be aware that this is something you will likely need to address in the future..  Not sure what version of ESXi you're using now or plan to use, but I encourage you to read up on the significant issues that those of us with diskless servers using USB-based boot devices (including: standalone USB sticks, standalone SD/microSD cards in motherboard connectors connected via USB, as well as mirrored SD/microSD card solutions like the P21868-B21  device you have or the Dell IDSDM module or similar) have been experiencing under ESXi 7.0.2.

Although these USB-based boot device solutions are still technically supported and mitigations have been included in recent ESXi patches, it appears clear that the plan for VMware is to deprecate support for these type of boot devices in a future release - or at minimum require you to run the OSDATA partition from another local "high-endurance" device that is NOT the USB-based boot media.  The language is a bit fuzzy, and different KB articles echo different stances which I expect to unify as time goes by, but in general I would encourage you to read VMware KB Removal of SD card/USB as a standalone boot device option (85685) as well as various posts on the subject on VMware Communities / Reddit, etc.  The two main categories of issues are 1) bootbank and altbootbank filesystems becoming disconnected from the running hpyervisor (recoverable), and 2) USB/SD card media corruption (non-recoverable requiring hardware replacement.) 

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Issue #1 - loss of connectivity to USB-based boot devices, APD to the boot device filesystem:

KB 83450 - ESXi hosts experiences All Paths Down events on USB based SD Cards while using the vmkusb driver https://kb.vmware.com/s/article/83450

KB 83963 - Bootbank cannot be found at path '/bootbank' errors being seen after upgrading to ESXi 7.0 U2 https://kb.vmware.com/s/article/83963 "USB devices have a small queue depth and due to a race condition in the ESXi storage stack, some I/O operations might not get to the device. Such I/Os queue in the ESXi storage stack and ultimately time out."

A host suffering from this condition can usually be brought back under control in order to perform remediation steps using procedures outlined here: https://www.provirtualzone.com/vsphere-7-update-2-loses-connection-with-sd-cards-workaround/ credit to Luciano Patrao (@JailBreak).

 

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Issue #2 - corruption of USB-based boot media devices due to continuous and high-volume I/O

KB 83376 - VMFS-L Locker partition corruption on SD cards in ESXi 7.0 https://kb.vmware.com/s/article/83376

KB 2149257 - High frequency of read operations on VMware Tools image may cause SD card corruption https://kb.vmware.com/s/article/2149257

IT_Steve
Occasional Visitor

Re: HPE Proliant DL360 gen10 and onboard S100i controller for SATA local datastore

Thanks for the tip on the boot drive.  My vendor had caught that and changed it to a P12965-B21 HPE NS204i-p x2 Lanes NVMe PCIe3 x8 OS Boot Device so we should be good there.