Go-to RAID cards for ESXi 7.x?

jcl333

Active Member
May 28, 2011
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I am looking for a RAID card for ESXi 7.x. What are people's favorites?

There are the usual LSI options, but the Adaptec seems good too for pricing. Prefer in-box drivers.

I could theoretically get away with just RAID1 / 10 because I will be using it with eSSDs.

Tri-mode would be nice to be able to use with NVMe, but probably won't find one >$500....

Mostly I am fearful of getting counterfeits, so wondering what kind of luck ppl have had and if there are any good tricks to avoid issues and still get a decent price.

Also, side questions:
- If I am only doing all-flash and RAID1 do I need bother with BBU/FBWC?
- If you are all-flash, and performance isn't #1 concern, is R5/6 usable, or still too big of a write penalty?

Thanks

-JCL
 

jcl333

Active Member
May 28, 2011
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So, this looks like a Lenovo branded version of the card with no cache support.
I am not seeing these much cheaper than the LSI one's, did you get one for free from work or something?

Also, looks like they don't officially support ESXi 7.x, did you load the drivers yourself, or do an upgrade-in-place on ESXi 6.7?

-JCL
 

StevenDTX

Active Member
Aug 17, 2016
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So, this looks like a Lenovo branded version of the card with no cache support.
I am not seeing these much cheaper than the LSI one's, did you get one for free from work or something?

Also, looks like they don't officially support ESXi 7.x, did you load the drivers yourself, or do an upgrade-in-place on ESXi 6.7?

-JCL
yes, it’s a Lenovo. And it is absolutely natively supported in 7.0.


I paid $130 each for them.
 

StevenDTX

Active Member
Aug 17, 2016
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OK, that is good to know then.

Are you just using it for RAID1 with ESXi? Can you flash the standard LSI firmware onto it?

How is the performance without a cache?

-JCL
Yes, I am just using it for RAID1. I have read you can install the LSI firmware (in fact, the seller offered), but I have not done it myself. I haven't tested performance. I am using I just needed them for a single VM on each host that I didn't want to install on a single drive. I am using Samsung 860 DCTs, so performance is fine for my needs.

I have a NappIT fiber channel SAN for all my shared storage.
 

jcl333

Active Member
May 28, 2011
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Yes, I am just using it for RAID1. I have read you can install the LSI firmware (in fact, the seller offered), but I have not done it myself. I haven't tested performance. I am using I just needed them for a single VM on each host that I didn't want to install on a single drive. I am using Samsung 860 DCTs, so performance is fine for my needs.

I have a NappIT fiber channel SAN for all my shared storage.
Oh, how do you like NappIT?
 

StevenDTX

Active Member
Aug 17, 2016
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What made you choose NappIT over FreeNAS or other options?
Its been a few years, but IIRC, FreeNAS didnt really support fiber channel. With NappIT, FC and ZFS are a piece of cake. I moved from OpenFiler.

Also, the FreeNAS support forums are notoriously "hostile".
 

BoredSysadmin

Active Member
Mar 2, 2019
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I still rock FreeNAS (never needed FC specifically) but I learned the hard way, be VERY wary of their updates as they have a long history of breaking things in updates. Sometimes intentionally with advance warnings, sometimes not. The storage system shouldn't be Russian roulette. Like networking, I expect it to "just work" (IMHO)