If you're in install mode, then you can use root as the login and a blank passowrd. You'll be able to run lspci in this mode (as well as other ESX commands) so you'll be able to figure out which PCI IDs that ESX is seeing.
It is seeing 2 IDE mass storage devices
00:31.02 Intel Corp Class 0101:8086:2820 17aa:1010
00:31.05 Intel Corp Class 0101:8086:2825 17aa:1010
Can you help me with what to do next?
IDE is not supported for installation.
Yes but it's SATA and I have read threads and have a document that lists SATA controllers that DO work - even though not supported.
I should/will start a new thread asking about this setup.
I haven't tried it with ESXi, but with ESX you can install to IDE drives (just no VMFS on them).
Those aren't in the PCI database so you'll have to consider another controller. Here's a list of whiteboxes that have worked with ESX / ESXi - it'll give you an idea of what'll work - http://www.vm-help.com/esx/esx3.5/Whiteboxes_SATA_Controllers_for_ESX_3.5_3i.htm. There are some add-on SATA controllers at the bottom of the list.
8086 27c6 0000 0000 storage ahci
8086 27df 0000 0000 storage ide
8086 2828 0000 0000 storage ata_piix
8086 2920 0000 0000 storage ata_piix
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You could as an option put ESXi onto a USB drive, boot with that and then modify the oem.tgz file to try to add support for the drives on the ICH8 controller. It's not gauranteed to work, but it may be quicker than finding another system / SATA controller.
Interesting. When you say to put ESXi on a USB drive, do you mean to actually do an install to the USB drive, or is there a way to transfer the installation image from the CD to the USB drive, then try to install from that after modifying?
Sorry - I should have said USB flash drive (not USB drive). You can boot ESXi from a flash drive and then use other storage (NFS / iSCSI) or attempt to modify ESXi to recognize the ICH8 controller. You can't store VMs on the USB flash drive.
Sorry to be a pest, but I only have a CD burnt from the downloaded ISO - how do I boot ESXi from a flash drive?
OK, I have ESXi booting successfully off a USB key now. Of course, it doesn't find any storage, as per the article.
However, I tried changing oem.tgz but when I do this, ESXi refuses to boot, going to a pink dump screen saying the boot image is corrupted, bad octal number in tar. Restoring the original oem.tgz gets it working again.
Give this a try
1) cd /tmp/
2) mkdir -p oem/etc/vmware
3) mkdir -p oem/usr/share/hwdata
4) cd oem/etc/vmware
5) cp /etc/vmware/simple.map simple.map
6) vi simple.map
--- add the necessary PCI data for your devices
7) close vi - press ESC and enter :wq
8) cd /tmp/oem/usr/share/hwdata
9) cp /usr/share/hwdata/pci.ids pci.ids
10) vi pci.ids
-- add the necessary description for your devices (this will be displayed in the console and VI Client
11) close vi - press ESC and enter :wq
12) cd /tmp/oem
13) chown -R 201:201 ./etc
14) chown -R 201:201 ./usr
15) chmod -R 755 ./etc
16) chmod -R 755 ./usr
17) chmod 644 ./etc/vmware/simple.map
18) chmod 644 ./usr/share/hwdata/pci.ids
19) tar -cvzf oem.tgz etc usr
20) cp oem.tgz /bootbank/oem.tgz
21) cd /bootbank/
22) cdmod 755 oem.tgz
23) reboot the host
Firstly let me thank you for all the help so far. It is appreciated. I followed those instructions, and ESXi rebooted successfully.
Unfortunately, the VI client still shows no local storage when I try to "Add stroage". That probably just means it doesn't understand the local controller/disk system. Doesn't matter, success was never guaranteed.
I have however, managed to add an NFS drive, exported from another machine on the network, and with that, I can test ESXi quite successfully. I have created a VM and booted linux in it remotely.
This is a great product!