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VMware/VSAN support for Intel RAID controllers


Intel RAID controllers are on the VMware/VSAN 5.5 Hardware Compatibility List but none have even been tested for version 6.x!

Why is this? I would think having them approved would certainly improve sales.

Customers who have already incorporated Intel RAID controllers into their VSAN solution are unable to upgrade to current VSAN versions.

What can be done to remedy this situation?

Does anyone know who is the Intel Product Manager?

4 Replies
Valued Contributor III

Intel RAIDs and HBAs are based on LSI, and LSI makes drivers for Intel-made cards too, including VmWare ones. Since the LSI was acquired by Avago in late 2013, game rules probably changed. BTW, no new Intel RAIDs for year or more.

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JFFulcrum wrote:

Intel RAIDs and HBAs are based on LSI, and LSI makes drivers for Intel-made cards too, including VmWare ones.

I'm aware of this. But for VMware support, hardware has to be on the HCL. For VSAN in particular, because the integrity of the customer's data is at stake, certification testing is much more stringent. RAID controllers and HBAs are certified for a specific model, firmware, and driver. The issue is not whether or not they can be made to work but whether they have been certified. Before they can be certified, they have to be tested.

Intel has told me it is up to VMware to determine what they want to test. VMware has told me that before a device is tested, Intel must first request that specific devices be approved for specific software versions. Many LSI devices are already on the VSAN 6.x HCL while none of the Intel devices have even been tested!

As you can see, I'm faced with a Catch-22 situation. Since neither company makes available contact information for internal staff, I'm having a difficult time trying to find someont to look into this matter.

Does anyone have any suggestions?


Thanks for the link, John.

Take a look at my link. As an example, I'm using the RAID controller in my customer's server. VMware Compatibility Guide

Here you will see two entries. One of the entries does indeed show this controller is compatible with many versions of ESX/ESXi using a variety of drivers. The other entry shows the device compatibility with VMware's virtual SAN (VSAN). This entry shows it is compatible with VSAN 5.x. In fact, none of the Intel RAID controllers are on the VMware VSAN 6.x HCL. So, while most customers using Intel RAID controllers can upgrade to vSphere 6.x, those who are using VSAN cannot!

Perhaps that is part of the problem. There is a separate VSAN HCL. Somehow these Intel RAID controllers were tested and approved for the initial VSAN release (5.5 U2) then no further testing was done. Customers who have deployed an all Intel solution and chose not to incorporate a third party RAID controller are now being severely penalised for their loyality to Intel.

Are you able to determine why no further testing has been done for these devices or, better yet, have the appropriate group work with VMware to get them tested?