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HW (SAS PCI-x) Raid for ESXi 4.0

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June 7, 2010 7:06:31 PM

Goin crazy here. Pls help.

Got this server for my client:

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Rackable Systems Server Model: C1001-2TY5 1U Server (Total 8 cores)
This Server's specs are:
2x Quad Core Xeon L5420 2.50Ghz/ 12M Cache/ 1333 fsb Processors with heatsinks and cooling devices
8GB Memory
2x 146GB SAS Drives 2.5"
Intel S5000PSL Motherboard
Rackable Systems SGI Roamer KVM-IO Remote Management device
400W AC Power Supply (we have DC Power Supply Available upon request)
1U Rackable Sysems Half Depth Case Dimensions: 19" width, 15.5" Depth, 1U hieght
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And downloaded ESXi 4.0 Update 1.

BUMMER! ESXi 4.0 Update 1 doesn't support that RAID controller. So it only works when the drives are NOT in RAID config.

I just want to do RAID1 (Mirror) on those two SAS drives.

Attempt 1: Bought a 3ware 9650SE-2LP but after getting it installed, I find docs online saying that ESXi 4.0 will recognize that controller and RAID array ONLY AS ADDITIONAL STORAGE. Not the primary. Bummer again!

Now the guy who sold me the server is saying that I should try this card instead: MegaRAID SAS 8344ELP
Link to card on LSI: http://www.lsi.com/storage_home/products_home/internal_...

I'm going in circles trying to find out or decide on the following :

1) Will this MegaRAID SAS 8344ELP work with a RAID1 as the primary drive? If so, I'll order that card and be done with all this.

or
2) Will ESXi 3.5 Update (x) work with either this new card (8344ELP) or the card I have (9650SE-2LP) AND work as the primary boot?
2A) Additionally, what are the differences I should be aware of between 3.5 Update x and 4.0 Update 1?

If it's any consideration, I have purchased an APC batt backup with the network interface card and I've purchased the APC Powerchute software that's made for VMWARE. If going to ESXi 3.5 would not make the battery backup software work, then of course I should rule that out.

A prompt response is much much appreciated. Thank you in advance.
Please don't just link me to the whitelist or compat guide on VMware.com ... as I've been going in circles, swimming in the amount of vmware compatibility information that exists out there. THank you.

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