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VMware ESXi 6.5 Installation fails with Error

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Dear Community,

       Please bare with me, for I am new to hypervisor operation(s). As such, I may make simple mistakes along the way. I purchased a Dell Precision T7500 from a 3rd party recently, with the following specifications:

  • CPU :: (1x6crs.) Intel Xeon X5650
  • RAM :: (6x2GB) 12GB DDR3

                   NOTE :: 3 active memory channels

  • GPU :: (1x) nVIDIA GeForce GTX 550 Ti

                   (1x) nVIDIA GeForce GT 520

  • SFX :: (1x) Creative 'SoundBlaster' Audigy 2
  • STR :: (1x) 4TB HDD

                  (1x) 500GB HDD

                  (1x) 320GB HDD

In addition to this, I should be receiving a CPU/RAM riser and a 2nd (identical) CPU in the mail in a few days/weeks. In that case, I'll have 2 of the same CPU in this workstation instead of one - and that will be the only thing changing. During the installation, I attempted to install ESXi to the 4TB HDD, to no avail. Here is a video of how my installation went:

ESXi Install Attempt :: Part I - YouTube

The final error that I arrive at is:

  • Unable to successfully execute 'tryFormatDevice' after 3 tries

I've searched across Google, and have only arrived at one possible solution:

Expand the LUN (size?) from 8GB to 16GB.

Possibly related topic: ESX 6.5 is unable to format a partition when installing on iSCSI.

But, how does one expand/extend LUN? Is it in BIOS? Is it something that must be performed in the installer? Please help.

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Okay. I've had silly moments before. But, nothing like this. I went on and tried changing the boot order in BIOS, just in case my workstation was trying to boot from the empty 4TB HDD. And sure enough, ESXi fired up - for once! Now, I'm trying to figure out how to remote connect to ESXi with vSphere client (Network config). Can't wait to get my first VM up and running Smiley Happy

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Immortal
Immortal

From the video to which you linked, you appear to be installing ESXi 6.7 and not 6.5. This is significant given your CPU because this build does not officially support the Xeon 56xx series. It may install, but future versions may not work at all. That aside for a second, if the drive onto which you're presently trying to install ESXi had any data on it in the past, the error you're receiving is probably because it found existing file systems or partitions. You should try to fully erase that disk if this is the case and try again.

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Thank you for replying to this thread! FIrstly, the entire 4TB HDD (the one being used for the install process) was wiped just before being used for this. It should be free of all filesystems and past data. Secondly, if 6.5 is the version I should try, I'll do it Smiley Happy Also, if official support for Xeon X56xx was dropped in 6.7, does this mean that I'll have to start again with new hardware pretty soon (when ESXi 7.x arrives)? I might be in deep trouble, then...

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Immortal
Immortal

That 4 TB hard drive may be too large on which to install ESXi. It's not normally installed on drives that large. You can get by with a 16 GB USB stick. Second, although no one knows, I'd say it's likely if the 56xx series isn't officially supported on 6.7, it's not likely to be supported or even work in vSphere.next. So, yes, you may be starting over with new hardware come the next major release.

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User Moderator
User Moderator

That's unfortunately the case, please see "Upgrades and Installations Disallowed for Unsupported CPUs" at vSphere 6.7 Release Notes

André

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I will take this into consideration. In that case, I should most likely install ESXi 6.5 instead, and avoid updating (due to the age of my hardware platform). However, I don't have a USB stick to spare for sole use with ESXi. I need it to be installed on internal storage. Is there a way to have ESXi only see half of the drive's size, and use it MBR-style (like most OS's do)?

Lastly (not something I ever wanted to consider originally), should I consider repurposing this machine instead (possibly not for hypervising)?

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I checked the resource(s) you sent. Thank you for informing me. I'll have to consider my options...

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Immortal
Immortal

Why is it you must have ESXi installed on internal storage? What difference does it make? For less than ten bucks you can run down to <insert_store_name> and get a halfway decent USB drive with enough capacity to install ESXi on, then use the entirety of that 4 TB HDD to create a datastore. And, no, you can't "mask" off a portion of a physical drive so ESXi only sees N capacity of it.

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I'm actually low on expendable income right now, so getting another USB is out of the question.

Also, I thought that ESXi had to be running on the same drive as the VM images being run on it. Am I wrong in my thinking? If so, please correct me. Because if that's the case, I could simply give ESXi the 320GB HDD instead (listed in the OP). Please remember, I am new to this, so I might not be as knowledgeable as you'd expect...

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Also, I originally intended for the workstation to be running 24/7. So, unless I can do that without the USB inserted (once up and running), I'm unable to do that Smiley Sad

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Immortal
Immortal

Yes, that's not correct. ESXi can be running on anything. It only needs to be able to see and interact with the device acting as datastore. I bring up USB because 1) this is a very popular option; 2) it saves precious internal drive bays for actual storage purposes; 3) it reduces cost (important for you) because you get more bang for your buck (see #2); and 4) it provides separation of duty so failure of one device doesn't take out your hypervisor and the VMs which it runs.

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Immortal
Immortal

Almost all systems have internal USB headers (found inside the case) which reduces its external footprint slightly. That aside, the installation media makes no difference to perpetual operation. My home lab runs clusters of six hosts all on USB drives and they're in operation 24/7/365.

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I'm testing out an install for ESXi 6.5 currently, and will be back with you all when the results are in. Wish me luck...

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Just dropping in to let you know that I have decided to try a different methodology. You mentioned that ESXi can be run from a USB, meaning that it can be run on a storage medium that is separate from that of the VM images themselves. With this in mind, I have tried the following thus far:

  • switched my USB's installer image version from ESXi 6.7 to 6.5 (for compatibility reasons)
  • Installed ESXi to the internal 320GB HDD (allowing for the 4TB HDD to act as the sole holder of VM images while separating the ESXi install from the images themselves)
  • Rebooted the ESXi server and am now attempting to login (via web browser) - must find the IP address...
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Okay - that's not booting for some reason. So, I'll shut down the server, remove the 320GB HDD, and try installing to the 4TB again - just to see if it's something with the 320GB HDD. If that doesn't work, test the 500GB HDD. If that doesn't work, I'll have to wait and buy a cheap USD drive from the store next week. That'll really slow things down (and I'll have to wipe each drive as I continue testing) but so be it.

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And this install is stuck at 9 percent. I'll report back when things have changed...

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I apologize for posting so many messages. For some reason, the forum isn't allowing me to edit messages. The last attempt just gave a cryptic Time Out error pertaining to accessing storage if I read it correctly. Guess I'll have to wipe the drives and wait - it's not like installing it on another internal HDD will give different results. Now I have to go out and buy a new USB drive...

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Immortal
Immortal

If this is the case, you might be facing controller driver issues. Your controller probably isn't certified or on the HCL (I haven't actually checked), so that might be the source of the difficulties. With unsupported hardware, you kind of have to take functionality as it comes.

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That's just the thing, though - I donwgraded from 6.7 to 6.5 because of compatibility ussues. 6.5 was supposed to play nice with Xeon X56xx. Now, I'm looking at (possibly) more hardware purchases :smileyplain:

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Okay. I've had silly moments before. But, nothing like this. I went on and tried changing the boot order in BIOS, just in case my workstation was trying to boot from the empty 4TB HDD. And sure enough, ESXi fired up - for once! Now, I'm trying to figure out how to remote connect to ESXi with vSphere client (Network config). Can't wait to get my first VM up and running Smiley Happy

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