10 Replies Latest reply on Feb 3, 2009 1:25 AM by Jackobli

    Health status on a home server

    saigai Lurker

       

      Dear VMware Community,

       

      I have ESXi 3.5 U2 running on a home server with relatively cheap hardware.

       

      Things are running fine, I'm quite happy with the performance and everything, however probably due to my choices in hardware I have no access to any useful health status on the server.

       

      My RAID controller is an "entry-level" Adaptec 2405, which ESXi displays no health status for. I understand there isn't much I can do about this since it's a driver issue, so maybe the best I can do is just attach a couple leds to the card and watch them blink?

       

      Is it possible VMware might improve it's Adaptec support in the future?

       

      A more easily fixable problem is probably the health status of my motherboard (cpu temperature and fans). I'd be happy to replace the motherboard if there's a MicroATX motherboard out there that ESXi has better support for. My current motherboard is Asus P5B-VM SE.

       

      Does anyone know of an affordable MicroATX board that has:

       

      • Support for 4GB of RAM (not all "4GB" boards seem to support attaching 4x double-sided 1GB modules)

      • Support for Intel Core 2 Duo

      • MicroATX form factor

      • Sensors supported by ESXi

       

      Or maybe there's something specific I should look for in a replacement board to ensure ESXi support?

       

      Is it possible the new ESXi Update 3 might have drivers updated to solve some of these issues? The release notes aren't very detailed, and I'm a bit afraid to upgrade right now due to lack of proper backups.

       

      I've got a little project page up with some more details here.

       

      Thanks for your replies

       

       

        • 1. Re: Health status on a home server
          Jackobli Master
          saigai schrieb:

          I have ESXi 3.5 U2 running on a home server with relatively cheap hardware.

          Or maybe there's something specific I should look for in a replacement board to ensure ESXi support?

           

          It's so easy... just go and watch the HCL of ESXi... If you will find any "cheap" hardware there, I will send you some beer to Finnland.

           

          I doubt, VMWare will ever support hardware sensors on any cheap standard whitebox. They have to look for stability and a small kernel.

          • 2. Re: Health status on a home server
            TiagoAviz Enthusiast

             

            I Guess any Intel mobo should work with ESXi... Did you ever take a look inside an HP ML110? It's a workstation

             

             

            • 3. Re: Health status on a home server
              Scottish Captain Enthusiast

              Health monitoring relies on IPMI, and thus a BMC service processor- which absolutely no consumer-grade (or consumer-affordable) hardware supports.

               

              I've looked long and hard into this before.

               

              Basically:

               

              A) You can buy motherboards (server grade) from Supermicro or Tyan ($$$$) that support IPMI, but I've never tried these under ESX/ESXi, so it's unconfirmed if VMware even supports IPMI on these units

              B) You can buy a new tower server that supports IPMI- and your choices are pretty much limited to the Dell T300 (a pretty loud machine, $$$) or the HP ML350 (extremely quiet, $$$$).

               

              Either way, hardware health monitoring requires server grade hardware. There are no MicroATX motherboards out there that are either server grade or support IPMI.

               

              -SC

              1 person found this helpful
              • 4. Re: Health status on a home server
                Jackobli Master
                Scottish Captain schrieb:

                Health monitoring relies on IPMI, and thus a BMC service processor- which absolutely no consumer-grade (or consumer-affordable) hardware supports.

                Thank you for providing this information.

                 

                A) You can buy motherboards (server grade) from Supermicro or Tyan ($$$$) that support IPMI, but I've never tried these under ESX/ESXi, so it's unconfirmed if VMware even supports IPMI on these units

                Ok, I got a ASUS KFN4-D16. This board has a slot (SODIMM) for an IPMI/BMC card (ASMB3-SOL). It's "just" 100 bucks, so it might be worth to test that.  Anyone to share experience with this? Dave, any knowledge on your whitebox-list?

                • 5. Re: Health status on a home server
                  Scottish Captain Enthusiast

                  Hmm, forgot about Asus's SODIMM IPMI units.

                   

                  You may be in luck. There's a few Asus systems on the VMware HCL list that are certified for ESX/ESXi (installable). None of the systems on the HCL use the same board as what you've got- but, the systems on the HCL use the /same/ ASMB3-SOL IPMI card for IPMI functionality.

                   

                  That being said, if VMware supports an Asus server using the same IPMI card as the unit you're looking at (ASMB3-SOL), it should probably work. No guarantees though, this might get you working IPMI but exactly what you're going to get reported as "health" sensors in ESX/ESXi might be entirely dependent on what the motherboard is willing to report to the ASMB3-SOL.

                   

                  -SC

                  • 6. Re: Health status on a home server
                    fbj Novice

                    I've had the same problem looking to build a whitebox server that provided health status information.  I just installed update 3 and can confirm that with a Supermicro X7DAE-LNXI motherboard and a supermicro IPMI card I am able to get health status information.  See that attached png for a screen capture.  ESX sees the system as a X7DA8 but who cares.....  Now to figure out how to prevent the IPMI from monitoring the fans and other times that are not connected.  Now I just need an LSI card on the HCL and I'll be a happy camper.

                    • 7. Re: Health status on a home server
                      DummyFace Novice

                       

                      FBJ,

                       

                       

                      I have a supermicro X7DVL-E and like you I am looking to get health status up and running so I can deploy this beast remotely.  It looks like you have gone down the path I am on. This is the first system I have tried to build.

                       

                       

                      Here is what I have outstanding on my whitebox:

                       

                       

                      1. Remote health monitoring - I see you got it to work, can you tell me what IPMI card you are using?

                       

                       

                      2. Raid with Health Status - I noticed you asked about this on a few other posts, have you heard anything or found a card that will provide this?

                       

                       

                      3. dual NICs - only one of my built in nics works, so I will probably buy this card (Intel EXPI9300PTBLK) as I have heard it is supported.  

                       

                       

                      I appreciate any advice you can offer.  Thanks.

                       

                       

                      • 8. Re: Health status on a home server
                        fbj Novice

                         

                        I have a SIM1U IPMI card.  This card does not support Video over KVM.  My new motherboard a X7DBE will support Video over the proper IPMI card which I have yet to order.  With both the X7DAE and the X7DBE I get health status info.  I am unable to get info on the powersupply but that is ok.  I can configure the IPMI card to email me directly on a fault.  The main reason I want health status in ESX is for the raid card as the IPMI card will not alert me on a broken raid.

                         

                         

                        I suggest you get an LSI card.  I have both a 8308 and a 8888ELP.  Both show up in ESXi.  The 8888ELP was not on the officially supported list but uses a 1078 so it may or may not be officially supported.  The 8308 is officially supported.   My understanding is that only LSI cards can currently show health status info in ESXi as that ability is built in.    I also tried a Dell Perc 5 controller in these motherboard and it provided health status too (it's an LSI card also).

                         

                         

                        See the attched png for a screen cap of the 8888 health info. 

                         

                         

                        Regards,

                         

                         

                        fbj

                         

                         

                        • 9. Re: Health status on a home server
                          DummyFace Novice

                           

                          fbj,

                           

                           

                          I  want to thank you for taking the time to answer my questions.    This info should get me to the finish line on this project. 

                           

                           

                          Adam

                           

                           

                          • 10. Re: Health status on a home server
                            Jackobli Master
                            Scottish Captain schrieb:

                            You may be in luck. There's a few Asus systems on the VMware HCL list that are certified for ESX/ESXi (installable). None of the systems on the HCL use the same board as what you've got- but, the systems on the HCL use the /same/ ASMB3-SOL IPMI card for IPMI functionality.

                             

                            Just to provide the answer... The Asus IPMI card does not show up in ESXi. It's useful though as it shows temperature and fan speed through a plugin to IE. Also, I am able to remote start, reset or stop the machine, update BIOS and have access over SOL to BIOS and settings.