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vSAN with the PERC H740 or H740P

This is going to be a quick blog post, as someone asked about if the PERC 740 is going to be certified, or if VMware is going to try to certify it. A few things to consider….

  1. Dell already sells a lower power, small form factor HBA330 (13Gen) and HBA 330+ (14 Gen servers) that has ultra deep queue depths, is simple to configure (no configuration), is cheap (less than 1/2 the street price of the PERC 740), and more importantly is brilliantly stable.
  2. VMware does not unilaterally certify devices. It would require the OEM (Dell) often working with the ODM for the ASIC (In this case Broadcom/Avago) to submit the device to the ReadyLabs for testing. This has not happened, and it is my understanding is likely never to happen for a device that is frankly inferior in every way (Cost, Stability of pass through, performance, heat, power) for the use case of a pass through device.
  3. NVMe devices do not need HBAs (the controller is built into the drive). Longer term as All Flash vSAN evolves, I expect low cost NVMe to “beat” the price of SAS/SATA Read Optimized flash drives plus the overhead of even a $250 cheap HBA.

But John, what about RAID for my boot devices?

I’m glad you asked! VMware has updated our boot device requirements with vSphere 7 and for Dell the BOSS mirrored M.2 solution provides a great blend of endurance, affordability, and fault isolation for boot, crash dumps, and log placement.

But what if my VAR rep said it’s ok to use?

Well beyond them being wrong, if you try using it you will encounter quite a few issues. vSAN health alarm checks will detect a non-supported controller and throw angry alarms. It’s not exactly easy to “sneak” into production with the wrong controller, vSAN Health will light up like a Christmas tree at you. On top of this you will not be able to life cycle the controller to a supported driver/firmware version using vLCM. VMware will not support the configuration (obviously). It’s worth noting that buying “ReadyNode” SKU’s from Dell (Chassis personality codes that end in -RN) will block this configuration entirely from being built in the factory.

If this happens to you feel free to reach out and I’ll happily introduce you to your vSAN account team, and the Dell ReadyNode teams who can help set the record straight.