ouch
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How do I log into tech support mode?

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I have just downloaded ESXi and tried to install it on a cheap Lenovo workstation. It has an ICH8 controller with SATA HD and ESXi can't see it (in both modes that the BIOS let's you choose).

So I tried ALT-F1 to get into tech support mode, but it asks for a login name and password. I don't know what these are.

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If you're in install mode, then you can use root as the login and a blank passowrd. You'll be able to run lspci in this mode (as well as other ESX commands) so you'll be able to figure out which PCI IDs that ESX is seeing.

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If you're in install mode, then you can use root as the login and a blank passowrd. You'll be able to run lspci in this mode (as well as other ESX commands) so you'll be able to figure out which PCI IDs that ESX is seeing.

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ouch
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Thanks heaps.

It is seeing 2 IDE mass storage devices

00:31.02 Intel Corp Class 0101:8086:2820 17aa:1010

00:31.05 Intel Corp Class 0101:8086:2825 17aa:1010

Can you help me with what to do next?

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mcowger
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IDE is not supported for installation.

--Matt

--Matt VCDX #52 blog.cowger.us
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ouch
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Yes but it's SATA and I have read threads and have a document that lists SATA controllers that DO work - even though not supported.

I should/will start a new thread asking about this setup.

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I haven't tried it with ESXi, but with ESX you can install to IDE drives (just no VMFS on them).

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Those aren't in the PCI database so you'll have to consider another controller. Here's a list of whiteboxes that have worked with ESX / ESXi - it'll give you an idea of what'll work - http://www.vm-help.com/esx/esx3.5/Whiteboxes_SATA_Controllers_for_ESX_3.5_3i.htm. There are some add-on SATA controllers at the bottom of the list.

8086 27c6 0000 0000 storage ahci

8086 27df 0000 0000 storage ide

8086 2828 0000 0000 storage ata_piix

8086 2920 0000 0000 storage ata_piix

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You could as an option put ESXi onto a USB drive, boot with that and then modify the oem.tgz file to try to add support for the drives on the ICH8 controller. It's not gauranteed to work, but it may be quicker than finding another system / SATA controller.

ouch
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Interesting. When you say to put ESXi on a USB drive, do you mean to actually do an install to the USB drive, or is there a way to transfer the installation image from the CD to the USB drive, then try to install from that after modifying?

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Sorry - I should have said USB flash drive (not USB drive). You can boot ESXi from a flash drive and then use other storage (NFS / iSCSI) or attempt to modify ESXi to recognize the ICH8 controller. You can't store VMs on the USB flash drive.

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ouch
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Sorry to be a pest, but I only have a CD burnt from the downloaded ISO - how do I boot ESXi from a flash drive?

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ouch
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OK, I have ESXi booting successfully off a USB key now. Of course, it doesn't find any storage, as per the article.

However, I tried changing oem.tgz but when I do this, ESXi refuses to boot, going to a pink dump screen saying the boot image is corrupted, bad octal number in tar. Restoring the original oem.tgz gets it working again.

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Give this a try

1) cd /tmp/

2) mkdir -p oem/etc/vmware

3) mkdir -p oem/usr/share/hwdata

4) cd oem/etc/vmware

5) cp /etc/vmware/simple.map simple.map

6) vi simple.map

--- add the necessary PCI data for your devices

7) close vi - press ESC and enter :wq

😎 cd /tmp/oem/usr/share/hwdata

9) cp /usr/share/hwdata/pci.ids pci.ids

10) vi pci.ids

-- add the necessary description for your devices (this will be displayed in the console and VI Client

11) close vi - press ESC and enter :wq

12) cd /tmp/oem

13) chown -R 201:201 ./etc

14) chown -R 201:201 ./usr

15) chmod -R 755 ./etc

16) chmod -R 755 ./usr

17) chmod 644 ./etc/vmware/simple.map

18) chmod 644 ./usr/share/hwdata/pci.ids

19) tar -cvzf oem.tgz etc usr

20) cp oem.tgz /bootbank/oem.tgz

21) cd /bootbank/

22) cdmod 755 oem.tgz

23) reboot the host

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ouch
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Firstly let me thank you for all the help so far. It is appreciated. I followed those instructions, and ESXi rebooted successfully.

Unfortunately, the VI client still shows no local storage when I try to "Add stroage". That probably just means it doesn't understand the local controller/disk system. Doesn't matter, success was never guaranteed. Smiley Happy

I have however, managed to add an NFS drive, exported from another machine on the network, and with that, I can test ESXi quite successfully. I have created a VM and booted linux in it remotely.

This is a great product!

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You got a VM running and that's the main thing Smiley Happy Could you send me a PM with the model of MB that you're using? I'd like to add it to my whitelist. Thanks.

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Maurice_Burrows
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I think we could say any USB writeable block device. I'm running ESXi off an external IDE drive (USB connected), work fine.

In this configuration, what is really frustrating is that without making any changes I can add storage connected to the SATA controller that the Install CD says is unavailable.

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Ger_Mulcahy
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I'm using a USB key to load ESXi. I've edited the pci.ids and simple.maps with the detected data for ICH10R (Asus P5Q mobo) and specified the ata_pciix driver, and didn't have any success getting the controller/drives recognised in VI Client. I have been able to create VMs on an NFS-mounted drive, but had built the P5Q-based box to replace the box currently providing NFS Smiley Happy

Does it matter where the information is inserted for the ICH10R controller in pci.ids and simple.map? I've checked after reboot that the oem.tgz in /bootbank is the one that I edited, and when I do an lspci -v the output shows the description I put into pci.ids.

I can't get the controller recognised in the VIC, and consequently can't add drives from it. Is there anywhere else to go with this, or am I stuck with a) NFS or b) purchasing additional controller?

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The location in the files won't matter. If you run lspci -p do you see a module listed beside the device? Also, what mode in the BIOS is the ICH controller set to?

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Ger_Mulcahy
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Hi, Dave, in lscpi -p output, there is no module name listed beside the device ID - it just shows vmhba0 in the Name column. In the BIOS, the controller is set to IDE (other options are RAID, AHCI, and they didn't seem to make a difference.

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