The right M.2 for your homelab ESX

If you’re also using M.2 devices as datastores for your homelab (which is great because it’s fast and cheap flash), you might have encountered an issue with several M.2 devices not being recognized anymore from vSphere 6.5 U3.

Based on a blog post from William Lam on this issue this is because of an incorrect/consumer implementation of the NVMe 1.3 protocol. There’s a workaround described here where you have to use the NVMe drivers from 6.5 U2 in the later releases (seems to work up to 7.0).
Though here you’ll always have to check what you update or you have to do some manual work.

Long story short: I’ve tried some M.2 NVMe and am currently using and also recommending the PNY XLR8 CS3030 series which is perfectly fine detected by vSphere 6.7 and 7.0 (up to 7.0.1).

The XLR8 are quite cheap and do offer some more TBW on endurance than other devices. The 1TB version for example offers 1.6PB written.

I tested also the following devices which are not recognized by ESXi 7:

  • Transcend MTE220S 256GB
    I am really sorry for this one because of it’s high endurance (e.g. 2.2PB TBW on the 1TB model)
  • Mushkin Pilot-E 2TB

I’d assume that the size does not matter and every model of these series won’t be recognized, but happy if you prove me wrong.

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