bigideaguys
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Stuck at blinking cursor after "successful install"

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I went and bought and assembled a personal server to learn ESXi on (Tyan MB on VMWare HCL and speced out with 2-8 core AMD proc, 32GB Ram, 4 1.5TB drives) I can't use RAID as it is, but I can live wiothout that to learn on. Yes I've invested a LARGE amount of personal money in this!

After a meticulous hardware setup over 2 days,I finally fired up the server, had no errors with the hardware, so I installed ESXi. The install went smoothly with no problem. I re-booted, got to the config area, made some changes to the nextwork settings, and then I think I told it to do something like re-initiallize, I can't remember because I can't get back there anymore!

When the system re-booted, I got a blinking cursor... which will sit there for hours, no network or drive activity. I tried re-installing and/or repairing the istall repeatedly, with the same result. It happens right after the initial boot up where the bios checks CPU, Drives, RAM... then BAM right to a blinking cursor.

Thinking maybe it was my drives, I popped in a Windows Server 2008 R2 disc.I booted from it, It started the install, it see's all 4 of my drives and so I went through and re-set all four drive and cleared all partitions VMWare made. I ran the install and Windows Server sets up and runs fine. So I think maybe problem fixed. Nope, same thing. I even went so far as to format the boot drive via the Raid tool. Again... run through install and it finishes with "Successful Install" reboot... blinking cursor.

This server has proven to work as is... and obviously there seems to be no hardware erros, so ANY help would be very appreciated!

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DSTAVERT
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I would install ESXi to a USB flash disk, a fully supported install destination. 1Gb or larger will do. More is not better as it won't use anymore than 1GB. ESXi runs from RAM so there is very little writing to the flash drive.

If you must run from hard disk I would make sure you have the controller set as ACH or SATA but NOT RAID. I would disconnect all but 1 drive making sure that it is the first disk in the sata chain listed in the BIOS.






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DSTAVERT
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I would install ESXi to a USB flash disk, a fully supported install destination. 1Gb or larger will do. More is not better as it won't use anymore than 1GB. ESXi runs from RAM so there is very little writing to the flash drive.

If you must run from hard disk I would make sure you have the controller set as ACH or SATA but NOT RAID. I would disconnect all but 1 drive making sure that it is the first disk in the sata chain listed in the BIOS.






Forum Upgrade Notice - the VMware Communities forums will be upgraded the weekend of December 12th. The forum will be in read-only mode from Friday, December 10th 6 PM PST until Sunday, December 12th 2 AM PST.

-- David -- VMware Communities Moderator
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bigideaguys
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I think you hit on the one thing that I was slowly coming to myself... first swapping the SATA0 Drive with another drive via the cables to see if maybe there was something wrong with that particular drive (though I formatted low level, so it can't be a lingering partition), and if that didn't work, disconnecting all but one drive. I do have the drives set to SATA in the BIOS as my very first attempt to install was as RAID but ESXi won't see Promise Controller RAID so I reset it to SATA. I was debating on getting a dedicated RAID controller, but being that this whole setup is for a lab for me to learn on, that level of speed probably won;t ever be reached, even if I have 20 or more VM's running I'd guess. Obviously, I'm still baffled at how it could install once and then not work on a subsequent re-install. I;d still like an official answer to that one, but I don't have $250 for support at the moment. I'm just a bit disturbed that this is happening on VMWare OFFICIAL HCL hardware. If it were Whitebox I could see me not having room to complain but this is completely different.

So based on your suggesiton below, a 1GB USB flash disk... I was debating on adding one of those multi-disk flash readers for the SSD cards. Or would a USB thumb drive work just was well? Obviously the thumb drive would be cheaper, I just want to be sure it won;t end up being a bottleneck at any point... Also, what about all the management (VSPhere) software? I haven't gotten that far in learning all this but I know that's gotta have some requirements?

Also, would ACHI mode for the drives make much of a difference (or any at all) if I can't use the RAID? Does ESXi really see anything different with ACHI vs SATA?

Thank you so much for your help!!!!!

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DSTAVERT
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You want to use a USB thumb drive rather than a reader. Performance isn't an issue since ESXi runs from RAM whether you install to hard drive or USB. USB takes slightly longer to load than with 15K drives but . . . You can buy servers from HP, Dell, IBM and others that do have internal USB or SD card slots specifically for ESXi. Can be preloaded and installed when you order.

As for the HCL issue. Non complete parts on the HCL will be tested with a list of well chosen components. Even complete systems are tested with only a single processor. There will be BIOS versions, hard drive sizes and firmware version on those, BIOS settings. When you assemble your own server from components you ultimately become the final support department and you don't have their resources to track down timing issues between components.






Forum Upgrade Notice - the VMware Communities forums will be upgraded the weekend of December 12th. The forum will be in read-only mode from Friday, December 10th 6 PM PST until Sunday, December 12th 2 AM PST.

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bigideaguys
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Thank you for all your support! I'll try all that as soon as I go get a USB thumb drive and try it. I'll post what happens afterwards.

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Hope it does work out. Do keep us up to date.






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bigideaguys
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While I don't know about my other issues or questions, using the USB Thumb drive was the answer. The system had set up on the hard drives so when I did the first install with the thumb drive as the boot drive, it installed but then failed trying to launch the management console as there were 2 idential installations. To fix this I simply fired up Windows server and deleted all existing partitions and then exited before starting the install. Then I wqent through the install of ESXi again and it's worked perfectly. I'm loading the vSphere client right now to learn how to manage it!

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bigideaguys
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Hi Larry,

I did change the drives to AHCI but it didn't really make any difference as far as the system starting up past the BIOS in my caase. Using the USB thumb drive fixed everything for me, though I've yet to get to the point of seeing how the 4 HDD are access/used...

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DSTAVERT
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Hopefully it goes smoother from here on. Good luck.






Forum Upgrade Notice - We will be upgrading VMware Communities systems between 10-12 December 2010. During this time, the system will be placed in READ-ONLY mode.

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