sossie7
Enthusiast
Enthusiast

Tape drives are not supported with ESX4.0 (for passthrough or otherwise)

Hello all I have just had an interesting discussion with a senior VMware support engineers. I am having difficulties getting a Dell tape drive attached to a host talking to a win 2k8 guest.

I was advised that:

"Tape drives and Media changers are no longer supported for local attachment and pass through on ESX4.0 (Neither were they supported on ESX 3.5). The VM KB article floating around that describes how to attach tape drives and pass them through to guests does not refer to any version of ESX later than ESX3.0.

I was also advised that:

Tape drives are not on the Hardware compatibily list, so are therefore not supported with ESX.

I asked why there was no information to say that this sort of (very common) configuration was no longer supported, and the engineer said that they did not need to advise of something that was not supported when it was never supported in the first place.

Sometimes this does work, but if it doesn't, tough luck.

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36 Replies
ChillY85
Contributor
Contributor

Ok, so how did you guys pass it through?

Trying to understand what you guys did....

I'm having major problems with ESXi 4, Backup Exec and Powervault Tape drive!

I heard it would work on ESXi 3.5? Maybe I should downgrade?

I really need to get the Backup running!

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colintyrrell
Contributor
Contributor

Well, I did it on ESX 4.0.

and it doesn't work perfectly. But I'm happy enough. And it didn't cost anything.

I set up the tape drive to be picked up using VMDirectPath Configuration (ESX host->Configuration->Advanced Settings)

Do you have this option in your version?

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ChillY85
Contributor
Contributor

ok, well, i just want to get it running....

I got VMDirectPath but the wieder thing is that it doesn't show me any devices!

Got a Dell R710 with a Xeon E5530 running...

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colintyrrell
Contributor
Contributor

Well mine was a T710.

in Hardware-Advanced Settings, I added mine.

I added the tape drive using the last option - 82:08:0 LSI Logic / Symbios LSI1068, and I restarted the server.

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ChillY85
Contributor
Contributor

Yeah, well mine says that the Host doesn't support any Passthough Config...

If I would see my Tape drive I would have done it like you did....

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colintyrrell
Contributor
Contributor

mmm, very annoying.

does this article help you? http://communities.vmware.com/thread/212077

But as your server is similar to mine, I'd be surprised if your BIOS didn't support it.

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ChillY85
Contributor
Contributor

Thanks for the article,

I'll have to check in Bios, cant restart the server becaus I got VM's running, will have to check after 8pm Smiley Wink

But i do think that would be the problem....

Checked the Bios version, it's up-to-date!

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ChillY85
Contributor
Contributor

Soooo, good news!

Got my tape in VMDirectPath.

Had to activate the Intel Virtualisation in Bios...

Now just added a PCI to my VM Server...

Gonna start testing, I'll give feedback if all goes well....

Thanks man!!

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colintyrrell
Contributor
Contributor

Oooh, wunderbar!

Glad I could help. Good luck with it dude

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Dave_Mishchenko
Immortal
Immortal

What sort of SCSI adapter and tape device are you using?




Dave

VMware Communities User Moderator

Now available - vSphere Quick Start Guide

Do you have a system or PCI card working with VMDirectPath? Submit your specs to the Unofficial VMDirectPath HCL.

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ChillY85
Contributor
Contributor

So, did a full backup yesterday, and everything worked fine!

Just wanted to say thanks so much for your help!

@Dave

Using a PowerVault 114 from Dell with a LSI Logic / Symbios Logic DELL SAS 5/E Adapter.

According to DELL, the whole system that we bought from them is 100% compatible with VMware.

I should have know better Smiley Happy

Anyways, it's working... so thats all I wanted!

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colintyrrell
Contributor
Contributor

Excellent.

do you do Exchange mailbox backups?

They don't work for me, which is weird. But everything else works fine.

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dventet
Contributor
Contributor

I'm stil trying to find a SCSI controller that will work with a tape drive in ESX 4. I was using an Adaptec 39320A that was working perfectly with ESX 3.5 but when I upgraded to ESX 4 I started getting PSOD. This is a known issue according to the ESX 4 release notes and this card is on the HCL! Unfortuantely the problem is still noted in the release notes for ESX 4 U1.

Would you mind posting the model number of the SCSI card your using that has been working? I'm running a Backup Exec 12.5 VM on a Dell 2950 attached to an Overland Neo 2000 library.

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ChillY85
Contributor
Contributor

Hi dventet,

which CPU are you running?

Does your Hardware support VMDirectPath?

My SAS adapter "isn't really supprted", i just passed it through over VMDirectPath....

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dventet
Contributor
Contributor

Hey ChillY85,

The server in question has Intel X5365 processors. The other cluster servers have X5470. I have VT enabled on both, but neither have Intel VT for Directed I/O (VT-d). Looks like passthrough is not an option for me Smiley Sad

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asatoran
Immortal
Immortal

...I'm running a Backup Exec 12.5 VM on a Dell 2950 attached to an Overland Neo 2000 library.

While I'm not running on a Dell, (HP DL385 G5) I do have an Adaptec 29320LPE attached to a HP 920 LTO3. The Adaptec 29320ALS is on the HCL, but not the LPE. But SCSI passthrough does work for me. I'm also using Backup Exec 12.5.

I noticed in the specs for the Neo2000 that it has an iSCSI option. You could bypass all of the experimenting with passthrough and go iSCSI. That's what I'm using on the same Backup Exec 12.5 VM. Backing up through iSCSI to a Quantum DXi3500 as well as SCSI passthrough to the LTO3. The iSCSI connection has been more reliable for me than the SCSI passthrough. While the iSCSI option is likely more expensive than an Adaptec SCSI card, it would likely be less headache.

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none95
Enthusiast
Enthusiast

Hi there,

I'm trying to get my TL2000 to work inside a VM.

I have a AMD that supports IOMMU, and I could get my SAS 5/E card inside my 2k8 VM, by using VMdirectpath.

The strange thing is that I can't see any device attached to the SAS card. That means, neither the changer or the tape are shown. But the SAS 5/e shows as running perfectly.

Is there any extra step to get this working?

Thanks.

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