hguo83

URGENT help needed : problem booting VMware ESXi from micro-sd card

10 posts in this topic

I have just recently bought a HP Microserver.

 

I have also upgraded my Microserver to a Intel Xeon 1265 Lv2 CPU, 16GB of memory, I have also installed a HP P212 Raid Controller card and using it to run Raid 5 for all 4 of my HDDs and so the onboard B120i is currently empty. I have also installed the HP Slimline ODD into my server too.

 

I have also updated my System ROM to the latest 11/09/2013 and iLO version to 1.50 May 07 2014

 

I have also managed to installed VMware ESXi 5.5-Update 1 successfully onto my 32GB micro-sd card.

 

Right now I have encountered a very frustrating problem with booting from my micro-sd card. I am only able to get my HP Microserver to boot VMware ESXi successfully from my micro-sd card after doing many reboots of the server, most of the times, my screen will just go black after the " loading VMware Hypervisor " screen. I have also set the boot sequence to boot usb drive first using the iLO web interface.

 

After looking at the iLO event log, I keep seeing this error message :

Embedded Flash/SD-CARD: Restarted.

 

Have anyone encountered the same problem as me with booting VMware ESXi 5.5 form micro-sd card ? How did you guys managed to boot VMware ESXi from the micro-sd card ? Could this be a problem with the motherboard or the micro-sd card ?

 

I really need to get VMware ESXi up and running on my Microserver asap and so I am really at my wits end now and so any help or advice will be deeply appreciated.

 

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Did you use the custom HP ESXi image to make the card?

Have you tried reading the card in another system?

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Yes, I am using the custom HP ESXi image and the micro-sd card looks ok to me inside my PC too.

 

I have googled around on the Internet found this thread below which is similar to the problem that I am encountering now.

 

http://homeservershow.com/forums/index.php?/topic/6937-boot-fails-from-sd-card-sometime-not-always/

 

Seems like this problem with booting from micro-sd card is not solved yet inside the new releases of iLO and System ROM.

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I tried a few times and gave up - couldn't even get a good install - used the USB slot next to it instead; works a treat :)

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Same problem here. I had to reinstall ESXi 5.5 like three times in the last 6 months.... In the meantime it was running and rebooting perfectly fine.

When the boot problem happen, the system always stopped (booting from the micro-SD) with the error "Boot partition not found".

I even changed to the recommended (and expensive) HP microSD card "HP 8GB microSD EM Flash Media Kit", part no. 726116-B21, but to no avail...

 

While I was still using the Sandisk Ultra 8GB microSD, booting failed once after a loss of power, the second time it happened for no obvious reason.

 

With the HP microSD card it happened again some days ago (after working nicely for several months) after I made some changes to the BIOS, which have been recommended for ESXi:

- changed time to UTC

- disabled ASR

- disabled virtual disk

- changed power management/HP power regulator to "OS Control mode"

 

In my perspective, this should not do any harm to the microSD card, its partitioning nor to the booting process in general.

Note: Undoing all these changes did not help.

 

When I compared two "dd" images, created from the functional (I did create this as a backup) and the now disfunctional microSD card,

I discovered differences starting with an offset of 1 kiB (0000:0400)!

 

The image of the functional microSD shows the following data starting at offset 0000:0400:

 

0000:0400 | 28 73 2A C1  1F F8 D2 11  BA 4B 00 A0  C9 3E C9 3B  2A 1A 18 1D  BD B6 97 4B  B9 F0 A6 B6  29 CD CE 02 | (s*Á.øÒ.ºK. É>É;*...½¶.K¹ð¦¶)ÍÎ.
0000:0420 | 40 00 00 00  00 00 00 00  FF 1F 00 00  00 00 00 00  00 00 00 00  00 00 00 00  00 00 FF FF  FF FF FF FF | @.......ÿ.................ÿÿÿÿÿÿ
0000:0440 | FF FF FF FF  FF FF FF FF  FF FF FF FF  FF FF FF FF  FF FF FF FF  FF FF FF FF  FF FF FF FF  FF FF FF FF | ÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿ
0000:0460 | FF FF FF FF  FF FF FF FF  FF FF FF FF  FF FF FF FF  FF FF FF FF  FF FF FF FF  FF FF FF FF  FF FF FF FF | ÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿ
0000:0480 | 00 00 00 00  00 00 00 00  00 00 00 00  00 00 00 00  00 00 00 00  00 00 00 00  00 00 00 00  00 00 00 00 | ................................
 

But the image of the non-booting/corrupted/disfunctional microSD card looks like this: 

0000:0400 | 50 54 42 4C  01 00 00 00  01 00 00 00  00 00 00 00  08 00 00 00  09 00 00 00  06 00 00 00  10 81 01 00 | PTBL............................
0000:0420 | 00 00 20 00  00 09 00 00  00 10 81 21  00 00 00 08  00 00 08 00  00 00 10 81  29 00 00 00  10 00 00 07 | .. ........!............).......
0000:0440 | 00 00 00 10  81 39 00 00  00 20 00 00  02 00 00 00  00 00 00 00  10 00 00 00  00 03 00 00  00 10 00 00 | .....9... ......................
0000:0460 | 00 00 01 00  00 00 04 00  00 00 10 01  00 00 00 00  01 00 00 05  00 00 00 10  01 01 00 00  80 00 00 00 | ................................
0000:0480 | 0A 00 00 00  10 81 59 00  F0 7E 1C 00  00 00 00 00  00 00 00 00  00 00 00 00  00 00 00 00  00 00 00 00 | ......Y.ð~......................
 

Something must have changed at least the first entry of the Primary GPT, which is possibly the cause of the non-booting issue.

 

Booting from the SanDisk microSD, which contains a perfect copy of the once functional HP microSD failed as well...

I will look into that in the near future and report here the results.

 

 

-------

 

My system specs are:

- ProLiant MicroServer Gen8

- iLO 4  1.40 Jan 14 2014

- Intel® Xeon® CPU E3-1220L V2 @ 2.30GHz

- 16 GB RAM

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Update:

 

The image of the non-booting SanDisk microSD showed exactly the same modifications as the non-booting HP microSD card.

 

After restoring my backup image onto the HP microSD card, the server booted again successfully the VMware ESXi!

 

To me it looks like the iLO - or the HP BIOS software - does overwrite the GPT data on the microSD card by mistake in certain conditions.

 

I'd appreciate hints and comments on fixes - or the cause of this problem - very much!

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When you had the MicroSD boot problem, did you also had a USB device connected to the internal USB port?

I believe there is a setting In the BIOS to set priority to the SD/External or Internal USB port.

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No, nothing was connected to the internal USB port.

Only a keyboard conneced to one of the external ports.

 

My major concern is  that GPT data was overwritten on the microSD.

I remember to have read once that the iLO system would reformat microSD cards automatically if it belives that the card is unpartitioned....

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A very common and hard-to-solve problem. Maybe downgrade to iLO version will help? guess you have set the "USB Storage Device" on top in the boot order. Does the diagnostic section of the iLO say something unusual (or nothing)? There should be something written like "Embedded Flash/SD-CARD - Controller firmware revision 2.... / 32 GB SD-CARD in internal slot."...

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A very common and hard-to-solve problem. Maybe downgrade to iLO version will help? guess you have set the "USB Storage Device" on top in the boot order. Does the diagnostic section of the iLO say something unusual (or nothing)? There should be something written like "Embedded Flash/SD-CARD - Controller firmware revision 2.... / 32 GB SD-CARD in internal slot."...

 

Hi demiurg,

you are guessing right, I do have set the "USB Storage Device" on top of the boot order.

 

iLO Diagnostics just states: Embedded Flash/SD-CARD : Controller firmware revision 2.09.00 /8 GB SD-CARD in internal slot

 

But what I do see quite frequently, is the following pair of entries in the iLO event log:

 

3552     Informational    iLO 4    06/23/2014 22:43    06/23/2014 22:43    1    Embedded Flash/SD-CARD: Restarted.

3551     Critical              iLO 4    06/23/2014 22:43    06/23/2014 22:43    1    Embedded Flash/SD-CARD: Failed restart..

 

This was one of the major reasons for me to purchase the special and expensive HP microSD card...

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