Cheapest Controller with Passthrough


Apr 23, 2010
It seems like the raid controller cards that many people are buying range from $200-300 and and I am looking to build an ESXi Whitebox/ZFS SAN all in one. In order to do this I need a controlled that can be passed through to the ZFS VM.

Are there any cheaper cards that will work? 8 disks seems like a fine size for me. Do the Perc 5 or 6 support ESXi passthrough?
It seems like some people on [H] are using the IBM M1015 flashed with a LSI megaraid firmware. Is that preferable to the Perc? They both seem to go for under $100 on ebay and for 8 ports that seems like a good deal for a controller that can be passed through to ESXi for ZFS.
It's the motherboard that you need to worry about for VMDP (and a little bit on the CPU, e.g. i3 doesn't support VT-d). If your motherboard can't do Intel VT-d or AMD-Vi then you can't do passthrough.
I know that, but not all controllers can be passed through in ESXi so I'm asking which ones (if any) can besides the expensive $200-300 ones that many seem to talk about.
IBM M1015

Or any LSI 9211 based controller is going to be your best value...However these only do IT mode or RAID0/1/10...where the PERCs do RAID5/6 depending on the model.
If you end up needing more than 8 ports you can add a SAS Expander later.
That sounds good. I'm not looking for RAID, just want to passthrough independent disks so I can run ZFS in a VM.

Seems like the IBM M1015 is the way to go.