Configuring nVidia SATA controllers for use with VMware ESX

October 16, 2008

Part of the beauty of ESX 3.x from a hardware support standpoint was the addition of SATA as a viable install media for the hypervisor and service console.  However, opening up support for SATA also included a few hiccups along the way, most related to the SATA controllers officially supported by VMware.  For folks like myself who spent a lot of time with AMD-based platforms, the only real choices for SATA controllers (onboard the motherboard, not discrete) were offerings from Broadcom and nVidia.  This post will highlight how to configure your ESX 3.x host to use nVidia SATA controllers.

Note: This information is available within the VMware user community as well.  I am indebted to the person(s) in that community who provided this information, albeit in a slightly less “visual” way.

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Snoop Filters and the Tyan S5397

September 26, 2008

Just to add to the ever-growing information data base on the excellent Tyan S5397.

If you seem to be having problems with reported memory bandwidth in your favourite worthless synthetic benchmark or reality-based simulation workload, try disabling the Snoop Filter in the bios.

Remember, the Intel Xeon processors use a different set of prefetch schedulers than standard “consumer” level parts, so, this can also affect workload.

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