kriegtiger
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Enthusiast

Driver download from vmware 'content not available'

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I have an esxi 7.0 box that I recently purchased a RAID card for - a 7Y37A01082 - ThinkSystem RAID 530-8i PCIe 12Gb Adapter.

The device is listed as 'officially supported' for 7.0, but when I installed the card in the chassis and booted the system it hung during boot. Doing a bunch of googling, it appears that the driver to run this device is not default part of the system - so I need to install it after the fact.

I found this page, which appears to have driver downloads direct from vmware for this device and my particular firmware version (50.5.0-1510) - but when I click the 'download here' link it just goes to an error page.

https://www.vmware.com/resources/compatibility/detail.php?deviceCategory=io&productid=44081

In doing some more digging, I found this page from Lenovo - https://vmware.lenovo.com/content/custom_iso/7.0/7.0/

Since the system is already booted and installed, it seems likely that what I need to get is the first file (esxi custom addons for lenovo) - as it has a similarly named vib in it for the one that is on the vmware page I linked.

Then I would upload that zip to a datastore, and run the following command to install it?

esxcli software vib install -d /path/to/file.zip

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e_espinel
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Hello.
The major problem is that you have a PC and not a server and you are trying to use a Lenovo RAID card which is recommended for Lenovo Servers.
If your PC has two boot modes UEFI and Legacy, the default should be UEFI.
You could try switching to legacy mode to see if it shows in the boot the RAID controller and you can access its configuration.

 

Enrique Espinel
Senior Technical Support IBM, Lenovo, VMware vSphere and Veeam Backup.
VMware VSP-SV, VTSP-SV, VTSP-HCI, VTSP 5
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e_espinel
Virtuoso
Virtuoso

Hello.
I recommend you to install the full zip (ESXi 7.0 Custom Addons for Lenovo ThinkSystem) to avoid other problems.
It is always recommended to update all Lenovo Server firmware as well.

Enrique Espinel
Senior Technical Support IBM, Lenovo, VMware vSphere and Veeam Backup.
VMware VSP-SV, VTSP-SV, VTSP-HCI, VTSP 5
Please mark my comment as Correct Answer or assign Kudos if my answer was helpful to you, Thank you.
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kriegtiger
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So I ran the esxcli command, everything installed - and then it said it needed to reboot. I powered down, installed the PCIE card, booted the system and it still hung during boot.

Did it need to complete a full reboot before I could put in the card again? I can look under the host -> packages tab and see that the LSI drivers that were in the package got installed (megaraid, avago, etc) - should I reboot once more with the card in the system?

How long do I need to give it during boot to sit at the loading screen (I had waited about 60 seconds after it got to the usual hang spot before powering down again).

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e_espinel
Virtuoso
Virtuoso

Hello.
What type and model of Lenovo server are you using?
If I understand correctly, you already have ESXi 7.0 installed on the server. what is the disk controller you are using and where is the ESXi installed, internal disk (HD), USB key or SSD?

Did you verify that when you installed the new card in the server, it was recognized. You should see this by entering the BIOS (UEFI) of the Server.

Also verify that in the boot list is first the disk or device where the ESXi boot is.

 

Enrique Espinel
Senior Technical Support IBM, Lenovo, VMware vSphere and Veeam Backup.
VMware VSP-SV, VTSP-SV, VTSP-HCI, VTSP 5
Please mark my comment as Correct Answer or assign Kudos if my answer was helpful to you, Thank you.
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kriegtiger
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It's a consumer PC for a home VMHost setup.

ASUS ROG Maximus VIII Gene motherboard
Intel i5 6600k CPU
48GB memory
1tb SSD via onboard SATA controller as install/datastore drive

This has worked flawlessly so far, no warnings about unsupported/legacy hardware from ESXi 7. I wanted to get hardware raid support because I know ESXi will not deal with software based RAID, so I got the Lenovo 7Y37A01082 RAID 530-8i card.

Powered down, plugged it in, booted. RAID card detected by the chassis, drives (2x 1tb SSD's) detected by the RAID card the RAID1 drive from a previous config detected. ESXi boots as normal, hangs during startup. Removed the card and powered back up to get VM's available for use again.

I installed the drivers as I described earlier using the file I found earlier from Lenovo, shut down for the reboot and installed the RAID card, booted up - again everything looks as expected but ESXi hangs during startup (I waited 60 seconds at the part where it hung). Powered off the system, removed raid card, booted the machine and got into ESXi, confirmed that the vib's were all showing under 'Packages' tab, including the one that should apply exactly to my RAID card and firmware revision.

The question is whether I needed to do this full reboot and vib confirmation before installing the RAID card, or if there's some other detail I'm missing that is preventing the system from coming up correctly, or if I just need to sit and wait longer than XYZ amount of time because ESXi is just going to be slow like that when probing the RAID card?

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e_espinel
Virtuoso
Virtuoso

Hello.
It is likely that the PC is looking at the PCI RAID card first, so it is trying to find boot on this card, this usually takes quite some time.

You could try the following:
Put the new RAID card in the PC, then power up and enter the Boot list (usually on PCs this is via an Fx key).


If you don't have the option to enter the boot list during PC boot, you will have to configure it to show it and choose it during boot.

If you manage to get to the boot list during boot choose the onboard controller and it should boot the normal ESXi.

Enrique Espinel
Senior Technical Support IBM, Lenovo, VMware vSphere and Veeam Backup.
VMware VSP-SV, VTSP-SV, VTSP-HCI, VTSP 5
Please mark my comment as Correct Answer or assign Kudos if my answer was helpful to you, Thank you.
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kriegtiger
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No.

As I have described, the hang happens DURING the ESXi startup process - as in it has already booted into ESXi and is loading the various components - first the vertical list of functions/modules/whatever and then the orange'ish screen with the side scrolling bar at the bottom as it continues loading things. THAT is where it hangs. See the image below, my apologies for the blurriness.

With the RAID card added, the system boots perfectly fine from the SATA controller 1tb SSD exactly as it should after the RAID card having scanned its hardware, displayed details about logical drives/status/etc. It's after the system begins to load ESXi that things hang, and always at this point of 'vmkapi_2_4_0_0_nmp_shim has loaded successfully'. This is where I am not sure whether it's stuck or if it will actually proceed if I just give it enough time, and how MUCH time do I give it. It seems odd for ESXi to take over a minute to probe the RAID card when the card itself can go through its own routines in less than 15 seconds or so since there are only 2 drives attached at the moment.

 

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e_espinel
Virtuoso
Virtuoso

Hello.
Let's try to upgrade from version 7.0b (current) to 7.0 Update 1.

You should perform a full backup of the VMs for any eventuality that may occur.

You have to get the custom image from Lenovo verson 7.0 Update 1.

Install the new card in the PC and boot the PC from the CD with the custom Lenovo image.
You should be able to get to where it shows you the disk controllers and volumes available for installation or upgrade. One of the volumes (drive) should be marked as already having a Vmware installation. This should be the onboard controller.

If you get to this point all the drivers that recognize the disk controllers are already loaded.
Choose the onboard Controller and continue with the upgrade ESXi option, preserve VMFS Datastore. If you finish without problems, both controllers will be recognized.

 

Enrique Espinel
Senior Technical Support IBM, Lenovo, VMware vSphere and Veeam Backup.
VMware VSP-SV, VTSP-SV, VTSP-HCI, VTSP 5
Please mark my comment as Correct Answer or assign Kudos if my answer was helpful to you, Thank you.
Пожалуйста, отметьте мой комментарий как Правильный ответ или поставьте Кудо, если мой ответ был вам полезен, Спасибо.
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kriegtiger
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Enthusiast

Sounds like a solid plan, I'll give it a try and post an update with results later today. Thanks for the input!

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kriegtiger
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Just a quick update - haven't had a chance to try this yet. I am working on getting a backup of my VM's - tried an external USB drive as a datastore but that's painfully slow since I have a a few guests that are a couple hundred gigs in size. Going to be installing a second SATA controller drive to make a duplicate with, but I'll take care of that tomorrow.

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kriegtiger
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Man, it seemed so promising - I was really hoping. The lenovo custom image booted, paused for a bit after loading the lsi_mr3 module successfully, then proceeded through a normal installation set of menus until it got to the point of scanning storage.

And thennnn... nothing. The raid controller says there's an existing drive during boot (which was a ESXi 6.5 install from a different server), so I would have expected to see the partition show up in the list of potential installation targets, and yet there's nothing there. Only the on-board controller's 1tb drive as always.

I'd really like to get into the RAID controller's menus and tear down/rebuild that mirror just to cover everything but I can't even get into it. Most RAID controllers I've seen have a 'ctrl-E' or 'ctrl-H' during their scan/spin-up sequence, this one just says 'devices managed by bios' after it's POST messages and continues on. If I go into the system bios I can't find anything that references it, and documentation says to go to an UEFI boot option, which does only appear when the RAID card is installed, but when I try to force-select/boot-override it from the list, it just blinks and then goes back to the default system boot order (which loads my ESXi 7.0.0 system).

Its incredibly frustrating, because everything seems like it SHOULD work, and yet it's just not.

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e_espinel
Virtuoso
Virtuoso

Hello.
The major problem is that you have a PC and not a server and you are trying to use a Lenovo RAID card which is recommended for Lenovo Servers.
If your PC has two boot modes UEFI and Legacy, the default should be UEFI.
You could try switching to legacy mode to see if it shows in the boot the RAID controller and you can access its configuration.

 

Enrique Espinel
Senior Technical Support IBM, Lenovo, VMware vSphere and Veeam Backup.
VMware VSP-SV, VTSP-SV, VTSP-HCI, VTSP 5
Please mark my comment as Correct Answer or assign Kudos if my answer was helpful to you, Thank you.
Пожалуйста, отметьте мой комментарий как Правильный ответ или поставьте Кудо, если мой ответ был вам полезен, Спасибо.
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kriegtiger
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Enthusiast

I factory-reset the motherboard before I used it, and modern PC's default to UEFI. It's something to check on though, I'll take a look and see if that comes up.

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kriegtiger
Enthusiast
Enthusiast

That helped. Digging through BIOS menus, the main system was booting UEFI mode, but there was a sub-menu beneath the basic one where other devices (network, PCIE, USB) were 'legacy only'. Setting it to 'UEFI driver first' and rebooting first had me concerned because the BIOS ROM of the raid card that would usually show up during POST that would show things like '1 virtual drive discovered' and indicate the status of the RAID config was now absent, the screen stayed blank until it got to the general system POST screen showing memory count and such, however - booting to the Lenovo custom 7.0u1 install iso now detected the RAID drive properly, and so I upgraded the ESXi installation just since I was there and it seems to be working well.

The 530-8i HBA is showing in devices using the lsi_mr3 driver, and the RAID volume is detected as well. Interestingly it did not pickup the previous 6.5u3 ESXi install on that device, but that's fine - I'm happy to nuke it and have a clean datastore.

Thank you very much for the input and suggestions.

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kriegtiger
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Enthusiast

Addendum - the reason the datastore wasn't coming up is because I had named them both the same (DS1) and it was picking up the newly attached RAID datastore as a snapshot of the existing/running one. Re-signatured the snapshot and it mounted as a datastore just to make sure there was nothing I wanted to preserve, deleted the datastore and created a new one using the whole disk so the old 6.5u3 installation is completely gone now.

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