FusionIO Duo 640GB MLC – installation on ESXi5.1

Few days ago I got a awesome piece of hardware – Fusion-IO Duo  640GB Multi Level Cell – MLC, in fact it’s single PCI express card with 2 Fusion-IO modules, 320GB each). Within following week I will be doing performance testing and compare results with data provided by vendor.

FusionIO Duo MLC 640GB

FusionIO Duo MLC 640GB

Technical details:

ioDrive Duo Capacity 320GB 640GB 640GB 1.28TB
Nand Type Single Level Cell (SLC) Multi Level Cell (MLC)
Read Bandwidth (64KB) 1.5 GB/s 1.5 GB/s 1.5 GB/s 1.5 GB/s
Write Bandwidth (64KB) 1.5 GB/s 1.5 GB/s 1.0 GB/s 1.1 GB/s
Sequential Read IOPS (512 Byte) 261,000 273,000 196,000 185,000
Sequential Write IOPS (512 Byte) 262,000 252,000 285,000 278,000
Mixed IOPS (75/25 r/w) 238,000 236,000 138,000 150,000
Access Latency (512 Byte) 26 μs 26 μs 29 μs 30 μs
Bus Interface PCI-Express x4/x8 or PCI Express 2.0 x4
Warranty 5 years or maximum endurance used
Supported Operating Systems
Microsoft Windows 64-Bit Microsoft XP/Vista/Win7/Server 2003/2008/2008 R2
Linux RHEL 5/6; SLES 10/11; OEL 5/6; CentOS 5/6; Debian Squeeze; Fedora 15/16;openSUSE 12; Ubuntu 10/11
UNIX Solaris 10 U8/U9/U10 x64; OpenSolaris 2009.06 x64; OSX 10.6/10.7, HP-UX* 11i
Hypervisors VMware ESX 4.0/4.1/ESXi 4.1/5.0,Windows 2008 R2 with Hyper-V, Hyper-V Server 2008 R2

As you can see vSphere5.1 ESXi is not on the list but it is supported. Download a ESXi5.1 drivers from FusionIO support page and install on hypervisor.

Installation procedures
  • Insert Fusion-IO card into proper slot on motherboard – refer to motherboard vendor documentation
  • Verify is the FusionIO card was detected by ESXi5.1 on PCI bus
    • Log in to ESXi5 via SSH or use DCUI
    • from a command line type lspci |more

Card has been detected – 00:05:00.0 Mass storage controller: Fusion-io ioDimm3

Drivers installation
  • Download a ESXi5 drivers offline package iomemory-vsl-2.3.11.183-offline_bundle-909505.zip from FusionIO support page – Drivers – FusionIO account is needed.
  • Upload drives on ESXi host – you can use vSphere client or WinSCP
  • Install drives on ESXi
    • remotely using vCLI, esxcli –server <servername> software vib install -d <path to the offline bundle>
    • from console – esxcli software vib install -d <offline-bundle>

  • reboot ESXi host

Check Fiusion-IO card status:

As you can see card is running in minimal mode and firmware on card is outdated, which means Firmware upgrade is necessary

Upgrade FusionIO card firmware on ESXi 5.1
  • Download firmware package iodrive_107053.fff from FusionIO support page

[box type=”warning”] Make sure that driver version and firmware version are matches[/box]

  • Upload firmware package on ESXi5.1 host
  • Execute   fio-update-iodrive -d /dev/fctX where X is a device number, in my case I have to upgrade firmware on both cards /dev/fct0 and /dev/fct1

[box type=”warning”] Firmware upgrade takes around 15 minutes !! DO NOT STOP UPGRADE UTILITY OR POWER SERVER OFF[/box]

  • updated second device and reboot ESXi host
Verify if drives appear in ESXi host inventory
  • Start vSphere client go to Configuration –> Storage adapters on a right hand side windows in storage adapters section two new storage adapters for iomemory-vsl
FusionIO card in ESXi inventory

FusionIO card in ESXi inventory

Now, just create VMFS5 filesystem and DONE Fusion-IO DUO installed on vSphere 5.1 ESXi

Artur Krzywdzinski

Artur is Consulting Architect at Nutanix. He has been using, designing and deploying VMware based solutions since 2005 and Microsoft since 2012. He specialize in designing and implementing private and hybrid cloud solution based on VMware and Microsoft software stacks, datacenter migrations and transformation, disaster avoidance. Artur has been in IT industry since 1999 and consulting since 2008. Artur holds VMware Certified Design Expert certification (VCDX #077).

  • Somto Eboagwu

    Great and detailed very good article and very informative. Thank you very much for this

    • artur_ka

      your welcome, I’m happy you find it useful

  • steve

    Did you format the FIO? What block size? Did you know you can overprovision for maximum performance? You can go as high as 30some percent to achieve twice the throughput I believe. As soon as my UPS gets here with my darn servers, I’ll be installing my FIO cards to join the big leagues.. Thanks

    • I didn’t format it. No I didn’t know I can overprovsion for maximum performance. Wondering what’s the difference in performance, will you make performance tests ?