Friday, February 8, 2008

VMWare ESX 3.5 and 3i on ASUS DSEB-D16/SAS Motherboard with SATA drives

Okay, the board arrived yesterday. So far both VMWare's ESX 3.5 and 3.5i are able to boot, install, and stay stable.

I'm not using the LSI SAS controller as of yet - Just the Intel Matrix controller, with a plain old SATA drive. I haven't created any RAID, so both versions of 3.5 are able to spot the Intel controller and work just fine.

This means that people wanting to save a few bucks could use the Intel 6321 controller only board (no SAS).

Watch out - Make sure you use SATA ports 1-4. Ports 5 and 6 are not spotted by the install scripts.


  1. Do you have any updates on this configuration that you can share?

    Have you tried using the LSI controller in a RAID setup? If so, were you physically connected using the SATA ports or the SAS ports? I was wondering if you hooked up drives to all 6 SATA ports and configured them using RAID 0/1/1e, etc.

    Do the Intel GigE nics work ok?

    I'm really interested in buying this board for a home ESXi rig and would love to hear any good/bad details you can share.

  2. This board works great under ESXi. I have 8 drives on the LSI SAS controller - You can add SATA drives on the SAS controller, just don't mix SAS and SATA in a virtual drive. If you seperate them, it's great.

    One limitation is that the LSI controller seems to be limited to 2 virtual drives. I'm going to buy the expansion card for the LSI controller to give me access to more Virtual Drives, because I want to have SATA Mirrored low speed storage, RAID 10 storage for the virtual machines, and some seperate VD's for RAID stripe swap space. (I've heard that RAID Stripe doesn't help in Swap scenarios, but I'm not sure about that - want to try).

    The SATA ports are driven by the Intel ICH controller, and that's software RAID - therefore you just see individual drives in ESX, no RAID levels. I use the Intel SATA port for holding the boot drive. I pull it and make a copy from time to time, so I'm not worried about lack of RAID ability on this one drive. It also allows me to run a Windows machine directly for any hardware testing or BIOS updates, etc.

    All four Intel GbE ports work great.

  3. Oh - One more thing.

    I'd probably get the NON-SAS board if I did this again, and add in a more powerful SAS card. I can buy a HP branded LSI 1078 for about the price of the extra add-in card, and then have access to extranl cache memory, etc.