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Community Manager
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Vmware ESXi 5.0 on P4308CP4MHEN

Just purchased a P4308CP4MHEN server system and am trying to install VMware ESXi 5.0 on it. Everything is ok until ESXi installer starts and scans for drives. Nothing appears. After lots of research I see that software RAID is not supported. Found this in the compat. guide: VMware* ESXi 5.0 (only with AHCI Capable SATA Controller in AHCI mode).

So, what BIOS settings do I use? I tried setting AHCI Capable SATA Controller to AHCI, AHCI HDD Staggered Spin-up to Disabled, and SAS/SATA Capable Controller to Disabled. Also tried a bunch of other combinations, none of which work. No drives every appear in ESXi installer.

Any hints?

Thanks,

tom

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Employee
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What kind of drives are you using, and on which ports are they connected? Do you see them in BIOS?

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Community Manager
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They are 1TB SATA drives (2 of them). They are connected via the hot swap bays. I do not see the drives in BIOS. The only time I have ever seen them was when I had RAID enabled and I entered the RAID setup. Unfortunately, I discovered that ESXi is not supported on software RAID.

My inclination is that the drives must be connected to some open SATA port on the board as opposed to the hot swap bay.

tom

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Employee
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What kind of hot swap drive bay are you using? Have you tried to connect the HDDs directly to the board?

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Community Manager
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It is an 8x3.5" bay. I don't know the exact model# , but it looks like the FUP8X35HSBP shown in the "Enclosure Management Cabling Guide for Intel C200 and C600 Series Chipset based Server Systems with Hot-Swap Drive Enclosures".

I did try attaching a drive directly to the board, though I'm not sure if I was using a valid SATA port or if it was when I had the BIOS settings the same. I will try that again.

 

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Community Manager
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I just tried again, attaching the drive directly to SATA port 0, with the AHCI settings and it was recognized in BIOS and also by ESXi!

Now I just need a drive bay adapter so I can move the 3.5" HD out of the HSB. The fans are very noisy when the case is opened.

Thank you!

tom

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Employee
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Considering you have only 6 AHCI ports on the board and 8 ports on backplane, you may want to try different drive slots. And which cable are you using to connect the drive bay and AHCI ports? As per the cabling guide you should use the SATA to mini-SAS cable (G14989-xxx, with 5-pin SGPIO).

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Community Manager
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I'm not sure of the cable part# (we bought the server completely pre-wired/configured), but there are two cables attached to the backplane and each of those ends with four mini-SAS connectors, coneected to the SAS ports on the board. My plan going forward was to just use the empty 5.25 bays to locate the two HDs. It seems like the current hot swap bay only works with the mini-SAS, which isn't recognized by vmware.

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Employee
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Yes the P4308CP4MHEN system is configured with Intel® RAID C600 Upgrade Key RKSATA8, and the backplane is connected to 8 SAS/SATA ports. However the SAS/SATA ports work in either RSTe or ESRT2 mode, but you need AHCI mode here. So you can connect one of the cables to 4 SATA ports on the board. mini-SAS is not a problem.

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Community Manager
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Thank you! I tried that this morning and it works great! Now I can leave those 5.25 bays for ODDs.

tom

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