As I described in a previous article, Fusion-IO cards are not natively supported by VMware ESXi.
After installing the card and restart the server, you can see that it claims there is no persistent storage available, not even a lun or local disk to be formatted:
So, we need to intall Fusion-IO drivers. They are available for ESX(i) 4.0, 4.1 e 5.0. Having driver in .vib format, you can use the usual method like any other third party driver inside an ESXi server, first copying the .vib file inside ESXi and then issuing this command from the command line (or via ssh):
esxcli software vib install -v /tmp/Fusion-io_bootbank_block-iomemory-vsl_22.214.171.124-1OEM.500.0.0.406165.vib
Finished the installation you need to reboot ESXi, and when it comes up again you will have two new elements in ESXi: a new “IOMemory VSL” among the storage adapters, and a 600 Gb local disk (identified by ESXi as SSD):
From here, you can format the disk with VMFS and use it as a “common” local datastore, but also as host cache.
If you want to monitor the card health and status, the only way to do it directly from ESXi is to install CIM Providers. Fusion-IO, like many other hardware vendors, gives you their CIM providers for several ESXi versions.
To install them in ESXi 5.0, you first need to place your server in maintenance mode.
You will then upload the software into ESXi, and you will install it using this command:
esxcli software vib install --no-sig-check --depot=/path_to_ZIP/fusionio-cimprovider-esxi5-bundle-<version>.zip
(no-sig-check is needed since the software is not digitally signed); you will finally put ESXi out of the maintenance mode.
the Fusion-IO card is now ready to host virtual machines.