thingy
Enthusiast
Enthusiast

Installing ESXi on whiteboxes? Were your sata disks not detected? Try this...

Installing ESXi on whiteboxes where the installer mistakenly(?) detects the sata controllers as IDE interfaces

  • Use the instructions on this blog for creating a bootable usb stick with the contents of the ESXi installation ISO. These instructions will show you a simple way of updating the pci.ids and simple.map files so that your sata controller is recognised by ESXi.

+

  • Boot from the usb stick and once you get to the Welcome to the VMware ESX Server screen, hold down Ctrl + Alt and press F1 to switch to a different console

  • Login as root with a blank password

  • If you have followed the instructions in the above blog and your sata disks were detected by vmkernel then check the output of the following commands to confirm this:

    • fdisk -l

    • ls /dev/disks

    • esxcfg-vmhbadevs

  • All of the above commands should show you some vmhbaXX devices, where one of these will be the usb stick and others will be your sata disks.If these don't show you a vmhbaXX device other than your usb stick, then either the vmkernel didn't recognise your disks(check pci.ids/simple.map files) or your controller is not supported at all

IMPORTANT: ESXi seems to format ALL usable disks installed into the system during the installation and so do not keep any data on the machine you are installing ESXi onto. It should be a totally bare metal machine whose contents can be trashed!

  • Change directory to the /usr/lib/vmware/installer/Core/ folder

cd /usr/lib/vmware/installer/Core/

  • Use the vi editor to modify the TargetFilter.py file

  • In the IDEFilter() function, change the return line so that it matches what is shown below:

Original line: return interface.GetInterfaceType() == ScsiInterface.SCSI_IFACE_TYPE_IDE

Modified line: return interface.GetInterfaceType() == ScsiInterface.SCSI_IFACE_TYPE_ISCSI

  • Save the file and run the installer again by typing in:

install

NOTE: It seems the installer automatically switches the console upon running and so you need to switch back to the first console by holding down CTRL+ALT and pressing F1

You should be able to continue with the install as normal from now on.

Reply to this thread if this worked or not. Also, this is COMPLETELY unsupported by VMware as you are using hardware not in their certified as compatible list!

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24 Replies
thingy
Enthusiast
Enthusiast

The motherboard is an ASUS CrossHair and I've got 2x Maxtor 300GB disks in the system in SATA mode (i.e. unraided).

In case anyone wanted to know:

Output of lspci:

00:00.00 Memory controller: nVidia Corporation

00:00.01 Memory controller: nVidia Corporation

00:00.02 Memory controller: nVidia Corporation

00:00.03 Memory controller: nVidia Corporation

00:00.04 Memory controller: nVidia Corporation

00:00.05 Memory controller: nVidia Corporation

00:00.06 Memory controller: nVidia Corporation

00:00.07 Memory controller: nVidia Corporation

00:04.00 Bridge: nVidia Corporation

00:08.00 Memory controller: nVidia Corporation

00:09.00 Bridge: nVidia Corporation

00:09.01 Serial bus controller: nVidia Corporation

00:09.02 Memory controller: nVidia Corporation

00:10.00 Serial bus controller: nVidia Corporation

00:10.01 Serial bus controller: nVidia Corporation

00:12.00 Mass storage controller: nVidia Corporation MCP55 IDE Controller

00:13.00 Mass storage controller: nVidia Corporation MCP55 SATA Controller

00:13.01 Mass storage controller: nVidia Corporation MCP55 SATA Controller

00:13.02 Mass storage controller: nVidia Corporation MCP55 SATA Controller

00:14.00 Bridge: nVidia Corporation

00:14.01 : nVidia Corporation

00:16.00 Bridge: nVidia Corporation nVidia NForce Network Controller

00:17.00 Bridge: nVidia Corporation nVidia NForce Network Controller

00:18.00 Bridge: nVidia Corporation

00:22.00 Bridge: nVidia Corporation

00:23.00 Bridge: nVidia Corporation

00:24.00 Bridge: Advanced Micro Devices K8 HyperTransport Technology Configuration

00:24.01 Bridge: Advanced Micro Devices K8 Address MapK8 NorthBridge

00:24.02 Bridge: Advanced Micro Devices K8 DRAM Controller

00:24.03 Bridge: Advanced Micro Devices K8 Miscellaneous Control

02:07.00 Display controller: nVidia Corporation NV17

02:11.00 Serial bus controller: Texas Instruments TSB43AB22/A IEEE-1394a-2000 Controller (PHY/Link)

Changes made to the simple.map file are:

-added-

10de:03e7 0000:0000 storage sata_nv

10de:03f6 0000:0000 storage sata_nv

10de:03f7 0000:0000 storage sata_nv

10de:045c 0000:0000 storage sata_nv

10de:045d 0000:0000 storage sata_nv

10de:045e 0000:0000 storage sata_nv

10de:045f 0000:0000 storage sata_nv

10de:0555 0000:0000 storage sata_nv

10de:07f8 0000:0000 storage sata_nv

-added-

Changes made to the pci.ids file are:

-added-

037e MCP55 SATA Controller

037f MCP55 SATA Controller

03e7 MCP61 SATA Controller

03f6 MCP61 SATA Controller

03f7 MCP61 SATA Controller

045c MCP65 SATA Controller

045d MCP65 SATA Controller

045e MCP65 SATA Controller

045f MCP65 SATA Controller

0555 MCP67 SATA Controller

07f8 MCP73 SATA Controller

-added-

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nick_couchman
Immortal
Immortal

On some of the SuperMicro machines just switching the BIOS configuration for the SATA controller from "Legacy" to either "Native" or "Enhanced" seems to work, fine, too.

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joonny
Contributor
Contributor

Hi thingy,

how can I create the simple and pci files ??

thanks.

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You would modify the existing ones - http://www.vm-help.com/esx/esx3i/customize_oem_tgz.php. What are you trying to accomplish?

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joonny
Contributor
Contributor

Hi there,

I am trying to install esx3i on my pc that I just bought for this.

CPU:amd5200+

4gb

MB: GA-MA78GM-S2H

Can I install esxi 3 ?

regards,

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What sort of storage controller and NIC do you have? Here's a list of what ESXi will recognize (no guarantee that all the compents will work) - http://www.vm-help.com/esx/esx3i/Hardware_support.php. If you have a storage / NIC controller that isn't on the list you will be out of luck but

1) You can install ESXi to an IDE drive (assuming ESXi recognizes the IDE controller) - http://www.vm-help.com/esx/esx3i/ESXi_install_to_IDE_drive/ESXi_install_to_IDE_drive.php

2) You could try booting from USB (but you would then need another NFS / iSCSI server for VM storage - http://www.vm-help.com/esx/esx3i/Boot%203i%20from%20USB%20flash%20drive.html

3) You can add a cheap SATA controller / NIC to get ESXi to work on the PC - http://www.vm-help.com/Whitebox_HCL.php

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joonny
Contributor
Contributor

Thing is

I have added the compatible Nic(intel one), means only problem is storage controller issue.

My question is,

Can I still install esxi 3.5 on the "Gigabyte GA-MA78GM-S2H Local SATA not tested (added LSI MegaRaid 150)"with the workaround "thingy"'s step.

or the workaround also has limited on "unsupported but working"Mother board ?

thanks.

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Are you able to get the PCI ids for the storage controller. The spec page seems to list an AMD storage controller, in which case I think you'll be out of luck.

The solution given above deals with the situation in which a controller

1) can function in IDE / SATA modes

2) has an entry in the pci id database files for the IDE mode.

This doesn't deal with hardware that is not listed and doesn't have a driver for it.

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thingy
Enthusiast
Enthusiast

Hi

Whilst searching on google for a lspci output of your motherboard, I cam across the following link.

lspci output

00:00.0 Host bridge: Advanced Micro Devices RS780 Host Bridge

00:01.0 PCI bridge: Advanced Micro Devices RS780 PCI to PCI bridge (int gfx)

00:0a.0 PCI bridge: Advanced Micro Devices RS780 PCI to PCI bridge (PCIE port 5)

00:11.0 SATA controller: ATI Technologies Inc SB700/SB800 SATA Controller

00:12.0 USB Controller: ATI Technologies Inc SB700/SB800 USB OHCI0 Controller

00:12.1 USB Controller: ATI Technologies Inc SB700/SB800 USB OHCI1 Controller

00:12.2 USB Controller: ATI Technologies Inc SB700/SB800 USB EHCI Controller

00:13.0 USB Controller: ATI Technologies Inc SB700/SB800 USB OHCI0 Controller

00:13.1 USB Controller: ATI Technologies Inc SB700/SB800 USB OHCI1 Controller

00:13.2 USB Controller: ATI Technologies Inc SB700/SB800 USB EHCI Controller

00:14.0 SMBus: ATI Technologies Inc SBx00 SMBus Controller (rev 3a)

00:14.1 IDE interface: ATI Technologies Inc SB700/SB800 IDE Controller

00:14.2 Audio device: ATI Technologies Inc SBx00 Azalia

00:14.3 ISA bridge: ATI Technologies Inc SB700/SB800 LPC host controller

00:14.4 PCI bridge: ATI Technologies Inc SBx00 PCI to PCI Bridge

00:14.5 USB Controller: ATI Technologies Inc SB700/SB800 USB OHCI2 Controller

00:18.0 Host bridge: Advanced Micro Devices Family 10h HyperTransport Configuration

00:18.1 Host bridge: Advanced Micro Devices Family 10h Address Map

00:18.2 Host bridge: Advanced Micro Devices Family 10h DRAM Controller

00:18.3 Host bridge: Advanced Micro Devices Family 10h Miscellaneous Control

00:18.4 Host bridge: Advanced Micro Devices Family 10h Link Control

01:05.0 VGA compatible controller: ATI Technologies Inc Radeon HD 3200 Graphics

01:05.1 Audio device: ATI Technologies Inc RS780 Azalia controller

02:00.0 Ethernet controller: Realtek Semiconductor Co., Ltd. RTL8111/8168B PCI Express Gigabit Ethernet controller (rev 02)

03:0e.0 FireWire (IEEE 1394): Texas Instruments TSB43AB23 IEEE-1394a-2000 Controller (PHY/Link)

I don't think the ATI sata controller is supported under ESXi but you can test and see if it is.

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joonny
Contributor
Contributor

Hi thingy,

Thanks for the reply.

Now, I have following situation.

I bought 2systems of : amd 5200+, 4GB, Intel Nic, ma78gm-s2h(mb)

However it does require Megaraid card to complete the esx installation. I thought I could use all the steps you have described, however it did not work.

Seems I have to replace m/b or cpu&m/b together because amd m/b list has way less than intel ones.

Can you please recommend me what should I do ? I am in sydney and we do not have all the m/b in the list due to discontinued or small market.

I am thinking of replacing the cpu and m/b (actually buying).

Any idea ?

Thanks again.

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However it does require Megaraid card to complete the esx installation. I thought I could use all the steps you have described, however it did not work.

You would need to add either a supported storage controller or on that works. The megaraid 150 is such an example, but there are other options.

Seems I have to replace m/b or cpu&m/b together because amd m/b list has way less than intel ones.

I wouldn't worry about the list having less AMD systems - you'll just need to get a controller that will work.

Can you please recommend me what should I do ? I am in sydney and we do not have all the m/b in the list due to discontinued or small market.

Are you going this for production or test? If it's test you could add an adaptec SCSI card, or something like the Megaraid 150-4.

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joonny
Contributor
Contributor

its going to be test environment, and the cost of getting the megaraid 150-4 is more than replacing the m/b:

NEW LSI Logic MegaRAID SATA 150-4 RAID Storage Adapt...!http://pics.ebaystatic.com/aw/pics/s.gif!

$240.99

Free

Also Scsi card, means I have to get another 2 sets of scsi drive.

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thingy
Enthusiast
Enthusiast

Hi

This link shows someone using your current MB with ESXi and so we know that apart from the NIC and storage controller, the mb should be fine for ESXi.

You say you have purchased a compatible Intel NIC for the mb and hence the storage controller is the only outstanding issue.

1. You could get a simple sata controller card from Techbuy for $80 AU and they state a delivery of 1-3 days for this. The Promise SATA300 TX2plus is known to work fine with ESXi.

2. You could get a sata raid controller card but those are more expensive then getting a replacement mb.

3. If you are purchasing a replacement MB, concentrate on verifying whether the onboard NICs and storage controllers are compatible. For example, search on google for "lspci motherboard model" and then compare the controller/nic against the hcl list Dave mentioned.

-Jinesh

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joonny
Contributor
Contributor

This is great that I can use that SATA controller : Promise SATA300 TX2plus

Thanks Thingy, now I have 2 questions left... hehe.

1. Would this be only low profile ? means, I need to find another normal size one for my med size desktop pc case ?

2. With this controller, should I still go through all the workaround way to install esxi 3.5 or esx 3.5 ?

Thanks again thingy.

regards,

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joonny
Contributor
Contributor

Hi Thingy,

I found I could get followings from AU, and can you recommend me the one for my system ? I have SATA HDD.

$79.70

Promise SATA300 TX2plus - 2-Port SATA-300, 1-Port ATA-133, Low Profile, Sin...

TechBuy (NSW)

www.techbuy.com.au

updated: 31-08-2008

$94.00

Promise SATA300 TX2plus SATA Controller: 2 SATAII 3Gb/s Ports plus 1 Ultra ...

UMart (NSW)

www.umart.net

updated: 31-08-2008

$118.70

Promise SATA300 TX2plus 1-Port IDE ATA/133 + 2-Por...

PCMarket (NSW)

www.pcmarket.com.au

updated: 01-09-2008

$121.00

Promise SATA300 TX2Plus 2-port SATA300 and 1-port IDE PCI controller, 32-bi...

[AusPC Market Online

http://staticice.com.au/cgi-bin/redirect.cgi?name=AusPC%20Market%20Online&linkid=1&newurl=http%3A%2F...

Click to visit the AusPC Market Online web site] (NSW)

www.auspcmarket.com.au

updated: 01-09-2008

$418.70

Promise SATA300 TX2plus - 2-Port SATA-300, 1-Port ATA-133, Low Profile - PC...

Thanks

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thingy
Enthusiast
Enthusiast

Hi

1. I would assume that a low profile card is shipped with a full size bracket, in addition to the low form factor one, which can be put onto the card by undoing two screws. Please do check this by ringing up the pre-sales line for the vendor or by sending an e-mail to manufacturer .Remember that these cards may not come with the sata data/power cables and the Promise SATA300 TX2plus only has two sata ports so you can only connect two sata disks to it! Is this enough?

2. If you get the Promise SATA300 TX2plus card, then according to all the user reports on the hcl site, you shouldn't have any trouble in having your disks detected and you will not need to do any hacks to get ESXi installed.

Also, I can't actually recommend a product to you since I have not used the product and my opinion would be based on what I've read online. Its best if you speak to the two or three people on Dave's HCL List and ask them questions about the card before making your purchase. I.e. get the manufacturer's part number for the card they've got and make sure it matches the one you are buying to ensure success.

good luck

-Jinesh

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epg
Contributor
Contributor

hi, can you verify if you got esx-i running on a promise sata 300 tx2 plus? thanks!

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A_M_Schneider
Contributor
Contributor

Hello Joonny,

is it working with this controller?

I have the same Motherbord with AMD Athlon X2 4850e CPU and I try to install ESX 3.5.0 on it.

It would be fine to know somebody got it working!

Thank You very mouch

Andi

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Jaev
Contributor
Contributor

Hi Thingy

Thank you for a nice guide, I followed it, and was able to install esxi on my Asus Crosshair motherboard. I am using the internal NIC´s and SATA controller. I used your oem.tgz file for both the install disc and the dd image file.

I have one problem. When a guest os comes under very heavy load (i use it for bittorrent on a 100mbit connection) it looses connection to the datastore, and I have to reboot the host to get the datastore back. It happens after approx 20 min of heavy load. I tried with XP, Ubuntu and Red Hat, so I think it might be a hardware problem. When the guest os is not under load, I dont seem to have any problems at all.

I was wondering if you have experienced something similar with the Asus Crosshair motherboard.

Do you set any special bios settings to make it work ? I have updated the bios to the newest version, but no change, heavy load disconnects the datastore after a while.

Do you have any idea what the problem might be ?

Thanks in advance

Jaev

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