Adaptec Support in vSphere Revoked?

It would appear (I have not yet been able to reliably verify this information) that VMware has removed support for the Adaptec aacraid driver from VMware vSphere. The driver was apparently listed on the Hardware Compatibility List (HCL) as supported at release, but shortly after release support was pulled. Apparently the aacraid driver is in such bad shape with vSphere that you can’t even install vSphere on systems using the aacraid driver. Even more mysterious is the fact that there is no documentation about this issue one way or the other, so it’s quite difficult to really verify where support stands. As of the last time I checked (a couple of days ago), the aacraid driver was still not listed on the HCL.

This primarily impacts white-box owners; users of systems from major vendors like HP, IBM, and Dell will most likely not be affected.

If anyone has any additional information on this matter, please speak up in the comments.

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  1. Lukas Beeler’s avatar

    IBM’s x3650 and x3550 (the old ones – not the M2) have ServeRAID 8k adapters, manufactured by Adaptec, using the aacraid driver.

  2. Ceri Davies’s avatar

    Hmm. The Sun Fire X4150 is still listed on the HCL and uses aacraid. See also, for example, http://www.vmware.com/resources/compatibility/detail.php?device_cat=io&device_id=781 which lists aacraid as a supported driver.

    This is pretty worrying if it hasn’t even been announced.

  3. Hannes’s avatar

    I am running vSphere ESXi with an Adaptec 2610SA SATA Controller and it is working quite well.
    It is listed here as well http://www.vm-help.com/esx40i/Hardware_support.php. No idea if it’s on the HCL though.

  4. matt’s avatar

    The AACraid driver has a reputation for incredibly bad documentation and inordinate number of dirty hacks to workaround very buggy hardware. Apparently Adaptec can’t be bothered to either design better hardware or they’ve given up. If I were vmware, I wouldn’t support that series of controllers on principle.

  5. Eric Monjoin’s avatar

    I’ve also a 2420SA who works fine even if I used a USB key to boot my ESX 4i

  6. Ben’s avatar

    G’day,
    Scott, just wondering about your comment RE it not installing.
    I posted an entry about this on the VMware forums, and while I agree it is still not on the HCL, I have since amened the thread to conirm it does actually install.
    Our problem was that the Adaptec PCIex8 card was not in the x16 slot. (You would have to ask Intel why this mattered).
    Once we sifted the 2405 into the top slot, it installed fine, and is now in prodcution without any performance issues (so far).
    I am still waiting on Adapatec to either confirm they are working on support, or issue a retraction and provide us with a refund for the cards.
    Rgds Ben.

  7. Ceri Davies’s avatar

    I spoke to a VMware Senior Systems Engineer, about this on Monday and he said that, while he couldn’t guarantee that something had happened that was unaware of, there had been no internal engineering discussion about this which he would have expected to see if such a change had been made. Also, he suggested that once a system was on the HCL, they were “obliged” to support it for 6 years and that such a move was therefore rather unlikely.

  8. Bruno Raimondo’s avatar

    Hi Scott,

    We are still in the process of reviewing logs/completing certs for supported adapters/systems and storage arrays (for some of them testing is done in house while some other are self-certified by our partners). For this reason we are still updating the HCL for vSphere 4.0 and we do expect to continue adding entries.

    There are three categories of entries that are purposely not on the HCL:

    1) 32-bit IO devices/drivers because these are not supported with vSphere 4.0.

    2) Legacy systems/devices no longer supported by the vendor(s).

    3) Self-certified systems/arrays/IO devices when certification is not completed with vSphere 4.0 (or VMware didn’t complete review of the logs).

    All other entries should be on the HCL today (for example some of the devices supported by the Adaptec/aacraid) or will be added shortly (we have some other entries going live with tonight HCL posting).

    In general, unless a system is no longer supported by the vendor, we carry forward support to the next release unless a critical issue is found (in this case we would work with the vendor to resolution before posting; as far as I know we did not have similar cases with vSphere 4.0).

    So if one system/adapter supported with VI 3.x was not on the HCL for vSphere 4.0 when you first checked, I would check back on the HCL in case the entry was recently added and/or check with us or the vendor for the expected timeline for HCL posting.

  9. Dave’s avatar

    Strangely, I see -NO- SCSI drivers on the HCL for ESXi 4.0.

    SCSI may not be the latest and greatest technology, but it’s still alive and well in the real world.

    VMWare needs to throw us all a bone somewhere — and soon. It would be nice to have my tape drive hooked up again for backups….

  10. Bruno Raimondo’s avatar

    Hi Dave, if you use the keyword SCSI and select ESX 4.0 on the web IO HCL search page you’ll find 210 entries for supported SCSI controllers with vSphere 4.0.

  11. Dave’s avatar

    Hi Bruno,

    Yes — there are many supported SCSI cards under ESX, there were none under ESXi for several weeks after the initial release. It appears that they now are supported under ESXi. Seeing as I have already upgraded to ESXi 4.0, I now have to figure out how to get that driver loaded for my card to appear.

  12. Werner Fischer’s avatar

    I just came around your posting. As far as I can see, the drivers are listed on the HCL:
    http://www.vmware.com/resources/compatibility/detail.php?device_cat=io&device_id=9026
    http://www.vmware.com/resources/compatibility/detail.php?device_cat=io&device_id=4318

    As I didn’t came around your posting sooner, I don’t know how long the drivers have been missing on the HCL.

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