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AHCI problems with ESXi 6.0


flaffer
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Hey all,

 

I just purchased this little machine to play around with virtualization.

My goal is to run the hard drives in AHCI mode and then use RDM to various VM's.

 

But.

I cannot for the life of me manage to install ESXI 6, either via upgrade or new install.

I currently have 2 drives, for testing, one 3TB and on 500GB. Both are working drives without SMART-problems.

 

I can install ESXi 5 without problems, and I can create VM's etc, it all works.

But when I try to install ESXI 6 I get these errors;

nSA3W2h.png

 

What's going on? The entries in this case points to the 500GB drive, but sometimes it's the other drive, so it seems random and not drive-specific.

I have tried running in RAID-mode and creating 2 separate RAID0's for each drive, and that way I can actually install ESXI 6.

But I want to run in AHCI-mode so that doesnt help me much.

 

Any hints?

Basic info:

rH0W8fA.png

Using HP-esxi images;

VMware-ESXi-5.0.0-Update3-3086167-HP-500.9.4.22-Nov2015.iso

VMware-ESXi-6.0.0-Update1-3029758-HP-600.U1.9.3.5-Oct2015.iso

 

I also have lots of other errors when I try installing/running ESXI from internal SD/USB-stick, but for now I have put that aside as it's more error-prone then real drives.

esxi6-upgrade-fran-5.PNG

systme-info.PNG

Edited by flaffer
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AHCI on the Microserver Gen8 together with ESXi has severe issues. You need to use the controller in B120i mode with the downgraded 5.5.0-OEM88 hpvsa driver. Using the controller in AHCI mode causes a large number of timeouts and port resets.

 

To view the logs, it is better to enable SSH and remotely connect than to use the console itself. It doesn't truncate the messages as you're missing the actual sense code and you can see more lines. In this case, the 0x85 messages are harmless. They're just the VMkernel trying to identify the drive by requesting one of the optional VPD pages and you'll see that on a normal working system as not everything supports it. Your problem is actually right at the bottom where you can see one of the port resets.

 

Regarding your micro-SD/USB errors, the micro-SD to USB controller on the motherboard and the USB drives themselves won't support all of the available SCSI commands either so those errors are just warnings and harmless.

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Thank you for confirming the issues with AHCI.

I think I had bigger expectations on this server to work out-of-the-box with esxi.

 

I'll return it for now and re-evaluate my needs.  :unsure:

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I think I had bigger expectations on this server to work out-of-the-box with esxi.

 

I'll return it for now and re-evaluate my needs.  :unsure:

Any reason why you can't just use the SATA controller in B120i mode? A single drive RAID0 "array" on the B120i is just the raw drive itself so you use RDM with it.
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It sounds like a solid workaround but I don't want to go through the extra hassle when replacing disks to remember deleting/recreating arrays.

I would prefer it to work with minimal "extra steps".

The hours of searching the internet for answers, hassle trying to download updates/SPP from HP's website, and re-installing with different BIOS-settings, different drives etc, also made it all into a negative experience. 

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It sounds like a solid workaround but I don't want to go through the extra hassle when replacing disks to remember deleting/recreating arrays.

I would prefer it to work with minimal "extra steps".

You'll have extra steps anyway as you're using RDM. You need to recreate the RDM mapping if you swap drives. One of the requirements for RDM is that the drive is uniquely identified by its serial number.

 

The cleanest solution to what you want is to pass through the entire SATA controller but you need a VT-d capable CPU for that. ESXi then has no idea what is attached to the controller and your VM handles everything. You'll also need to find somewhere to store the VMs themselves as well.

 

I guess you're trying to run something like Xpenology?

 

The hours of searching the internet for answers, hassle trying to download updates/SPP from HP's website, and re-installing with different BIOS-settings, different drives etc, also made it all into a negative experience.

The complexity of the Gen8 Microserver is mainly because this is the first Microserver that HP uses Proliant technology in. The older Microservers were basically generic PCs so didn't have anything special. The new SPP/firmware policy is a tad annoying since you now need a warranty or valid service contract to download but usually somebody on the forum will be able to provide you with a download link. Edited by GotNoTime
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Valid point about RDM and extra steps. 

If I would swap to a VT-d capable cpu and pass through the b120i controller, would a VM get native access to that, trouble-free? 

(assuming the VM-guest OS has drivers for b120i, or perhaps that's not needed in ahci-mode?).

 

My end-goal is to run Freenas as a VM handling the drives, and any other lab-VM's would be stored on the Freenas-drives using NFS.

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If I would swap to a VT-d capable cpu and pass through the b120i controller, would a VM get native access to that, trouble-free? 

(assuming the VM-guest OS has drivers for b120i, or perhaps that's not needed in ahci-mode?).

You could run it in AHCI mode and it'd be as if your VM was directly connect to the SATA controller.

 

My end-goal is to run Freenas as a VM handling the drives, and any other lab-VM's would be stored on the Freenas-drives using NFS.

You'd still need somewhere to put your FreeNAS VM.

 

An alternative which is popular is to fit a cheap SAS HBA like the LSI SAS2008 based cards and use that to drive the 4 drive bays instead. It is a good controller and compatible with SATA and SAS drives. The internal SATA controller is then used in B120i mode with a small laptop HD or SSD that you put into the space at the top of the Microserver and it just holds the FreeNAS VM.

 

IIRC the FreeNAS community recommends that you don't use RDM and prefers PCI passthrough of the entire controller. This means you'll need to get one of the handful of i3 CPUs that support VT-d or one of the expensive E3-12xx Xeons.

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Thank you for helping me out GotNoTime. I actually re-opened the box and put the MicroServer back on the table, for some more tests with RDM.

 

So far, it's not going great.

I have installed ESXi6 to internal sdcard, and downgraded the hpvsa-driver.

I am using one 500GB hard drive as Datastore, connected to B120i  in RAID0.

I am also using one 3TB hard drive, connected to B120i in RAID0, no datastore setup.

 

Using these commands I created a RDM-mapping

vmkfstools -z /vmfs/devices/disks/naa.600508b1001c9a4f35350ad106bfe320 /vmfs/volumes/snap-016673cf-datastore1/test-rdm.vmdk

The command worked fine (no error-output or messages in log).

I then create a new VM and select the VMDK as existing disk.

u8kX7Ep.png

 

And then when I try to power on the machine, it waits for about a minute and then gives me this error:

J1JNlvO.png

 

In the log I can see this, and nothing else;

2015-07-17T11:23:22.924Z cpu0:34059 opID=4deacb5c)World: 15448: VC opID 6218B4A0-000000A3-7066 maps to vmkernel opID 4deacb5c
2015-07-17T11:23:22.924Z cpu0:34059 opID=4deacb5c)Config: 680: "SIOControlFlag2" = 1, Old Value: 0, (Status: 0x0)
2015-07-17T11:23:53.485Z cpu0:34668)Config: 680: "SIOControlFlag2" = 0, Old Value: 1, (Status: 0x0)

What am I missing? :-)

Edited by flaffer
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