How to make ESXi 5.0 recognize an LSI 9265-8i RAID controller

Posted Sep 24 2011 in
  • ESXi
  • Virtualization
  • Storage
  • lsi-9265-8i-amazon-product-view-dccf3602ec414492ede3e9424bfd039c
    LSI 9265-8i
    lsi-9266-8i-amazon-product-view-41866ae8f1aa96af361a38e19d31cf57
    LSI 9266-8i

    Oct 15 2012 Update:
    With the release of ESXi 5.1 and it's included native LSI drivers, it's continuing to get easier, read these far newer articles that really replace most of my original articles:

    How to make ESXi 5.1 see the health of an LSI 9265-8i RAID controller and array
    (above article works with 9266, and probably all other 92xx controllers, including Dell, HP, IBM, Intel, and Fujitsu variants)

    ESXi 5.1 host with LSI 92xx RAID adapter can run a VM with fully functional MegaRAID Storage Manager UI, here’s how

    April 04 2012 Update:
    With the release of ESXi 5.0 Update 1, available for anybody, you will have native LSI 9265.8i controller support built in, once you apply the patch and reboot using the fairly simple procedure outlined in detail over here:
    TinkerTry.com/vsphere-5-0-update-1-released

    Dec 17 2011 Update:

    With the recent release of vSphere Hypervisor ESXi 5.0 Driver Rollup 1 downloaded from here, the entire LSI driver install step outlined below is no longer required, for those installing new, since native 9265-8i driver support now built-in. The catch is you need to be an enterprise customer to get access to the rollup for now, strange that the public free hypervisor is still the original August release.

    Alternatively, for those who installed ESXi on another drive (not attached to their 9265-8i directly), anybody can download from the direct download link for ESXi500-201111001.zip, and patch your existing install to achieve the same end-results, but with admittedly having to do a bit more work to get there.


    These instructions may be helpful for users trying to find step-by-step instructions on how to get the 9265-8i working under ESXi 5.0. After all, the 9260-8i works out of the box with ESXi 5.0, with native drivers built right in, so you may have assumed the 9265-8i would as well. I know I did, but I was wrong. I  require the 9265-8i's unique upcoming read/write caching feature called CacheCade 2.0 that the 9260-8i won't be able to handle:

    TinkerTry.com/goodraidcontrollerswithssdcachingandesxsupport

    With the 9265-8i's dual cores, it should also be better able to keep up with latest 6Gbps SSDs, and more 8 drives, should I buy a drive expander some day.

    Well, turns out that once you've done a driver install on ESXi once, and figure out all the little steps, it's not hard really.  You should be able to complete these steps in about 10 minutes yourself, assuming you have a bit of familiarity with WinSCP and PuTTY.  I couldn't find all this info in one place anywhere, so I wrote this up.  This write-up is partially my own reference, as this was my last significant hurtle in the way of finalizing my  vZilla build process, and I'll need to be doing this procedure again on my "production" install.

    Part I: How to make ESXi 5.0 see an LSI 9265-8i RAID controller

    1) Start at the VMware Compatibility Guide
    Filter the results, by choosing ESXi 5.0, I/O Controllers, LSI, then scrolling until you find Model Detail for the MegaRAID SAS 9265-8I" device VID 1000 DID 005B

    2) Download the zip
    At the Model Detail page (step 1 above), you're directed to a general link for VMware driver downloads

    So after a bit of detective work (ehem, also known as trial and error), I discovered if I search for "megaraid_sas version" I get two results.

    And there it is, it's the 2nd result you want, LSI_5_34-455140.zip, direct link listed here:
    VMware vSphere > Drivers > Tools > VMware ESXi 5.0 Driver for LSI MegaRAID SAS Controller

    which, as of Sep 24 2011, looks like this:

    Download: VMware ESXi 5.0 Driver for LSI MegaRAID SAS Controller

    Description: The ESXi 5.0 driver includes LSI MegaRAID SAS driver version 5.34. The LSI MegaRAID driver (megaraid_sas) supports products based on the 2108 and 2208 SAS ROC family.

    Version: 5.34
    Build Number: 455140
    Release Date: 2011/08/22
    Type: Drivers & Tools
    Components: This download contains the following components. Hide Details

    LSI MegaRAID SAS Driver
    File size: 1
    File type: zip
    Version: 5.34
    MD5SUM: 651ea62a5093d0f52bfed359eff7adbc
    SHA1SUM: 99d0d5793c01fd82e7b561a13bde4eb5ca05e9d0

    3)  Now unzip it
    Now that you've obtained the file bundle, unzip the archive, and the only 2 files you actually really care about (unless you're using VUM) is:
    \LSI_5_34-455140.zip\scsi-megaraid-sas-5.34-1vmw.500.0.0.406165.x86_64.vib
    \LSI_5_34-455140.zip\doc\README.txt

    4) Enable SSH on ESXi 5.0
    It's quite easy with the ESXi vSphere client, step by step found here. You can do this for each time you boot, not leaving it enabled at start time (security consideration).

    5) Move it
    I happened to use freeware WinSCP and it's an easy GUI, but using Linux will do nicely too.  Point WinSCP to your ESX host IP, drag and drop
    scsi-megaraid-sas-5.34-1vmw.500.0.0.406165.x86_64.vib
    into the ESXi 5.0 hosts /tmp directory

    winscpoflsidriver-37b2247b6da8ba38d4c1d9c3b4e0024b

    6) Put ESXi into Maintenance Mode
    Shutdown or suspend all your active VMs on that host, then right-click on ESXi host, and choose Enter Maintenance Mode” as recommended by LSI technical support.

    7) Patch it
    Then, at PuTTY (SSH for Windows) session on the ESXi 5.0 host, I do the following 2 commands (as you get to the part where you type scsi, hit tab for auto-completion to kick in):

    cd /usr/bin
    esxcli software vib install -v /tmp/scsi-megaraid-sas-5.34-1vmw.500.0.0.406165.x86_64.vib

    And after a few seconds, it'll confirm it worked, and prompt you to reboot.  Go ahead and close the PuTTY session window and reboot now.

    PuTTYresultsVIBinstalled

    That's it, you'll now "see" the "MegaRAID SAS Fusion Controller" listed on the vSphere Client's UI, under the ESXi 5.0 host, Storage Adapters, Configuration, Storage Adapters page, ready for you to format the RAID array with VMFS and get started using your new big/fast/redundant storage pool.  Nice that there's no more 2TB limits anymore either, you can just make it one big VMFS 5 filesystem.

    vsphereclientshowinglsi9265-8i-323c73092b0d3e4220e6dc1afd09a841

    You can also see the driver that is loaded over here:

    lsi9265driverseenfromesx-5d33cad12098e4bd5f3ea4ce05834d99

    Part II: How to see health info of an LSI 9265-8i RAID controller

    Basically, it's the same basic tools you use to move files to ESXi, then tell it to use them on the next reboot.

    1) Start at the VMware Compatibility Guide
    Filter the results, by choosing ESXi 5.0, I/O Controllers, LSI, then scrolling until you find Model Detail for the MegaRAID SAS 9265-8I" device VID 1000 DID 005B

    2) Download the zip
    At the Model Detail page (step 1 above), you're directed to a general link for VMware drivers.

    I discovered if I search for "500.04.V0.24-261033-456178" I get one result.

    And there it is, direct link listed here:
    VMware vSphere > Drivers & Tools > MegaRAID SAS VMWare SMIS Provider VIB, Version 00.24.V0.03

    which, as of Sep 29 2011, looks like this:

    MegaRAID SAS VMWare SMIS Provider VIB, Version 00.24.V0.03
    VMWare SMIS Provider VIBCertified

    OS: VMWare ESX 5.x
    Version: 00.24.V0.03
    Readme Link: VMW-ESX-5.0.0-LSIProvider-500.04.V0.24-261033-456178.txt

    Download: VMware ESXi 5.0 Driver for LSI MegaRAID SAS Controller
    Description The ESXi 5.0 driver includes LSI MegaRAID SAS driver version 5.34. The LSI MegaRAID driver (megaraid_sas) supports products based on the 2108 and 2208 SAS ROC family.

    Version 5.34
    Build Number: 455140
    Release Date: 2011/08/22
    Type: Drivers & Tools
    Components: This download contains the following components. Hide Details

    LSI MegaRAID SAS Driver
    File size: 1
    File type: zip
    Version: 5.34
    MD5SUM: 651ea62a5093d0f52bfed359eff7adbc
    SHA1SUM: 99d0d5793c01fd82e7b561a13bde4eb5ca05e9d0

    3) Now unzip it
    Now that you've obtained the file bundle, unzip the archive, and the only 2 files you actually really care about (unless you're using VUM) is:

    \VMW-ESX-5.0.0-LSIProvider-500.04.V0.24-261033-456178.zip\vmware-esx-provider-LSIProvider.vib
    \VMW-ESX-5.0.0-LSIProvider-500.04.V0.24-261033-456178.zip\vmware-esx-provider-LSIProvider.vib\doc\README.txt

    4) Enable SSH on ESXi 5.0
    (you may have done this step already, in the steps above that instruct you on how to install the driver)
    It's quite easy with the ESXi vSphere client, step by step found here.

    5) Move it
    I happened to use freeware WinSCP and it's an easy GUI, but using Linux will do nicely too. Point WinSCP to your ESX host IP, drag and drop
    vmware-esx-provider-LSIProvider.vib
    into the ESXi 5.0 hosts /tmp directory

    winscpoflsiprovider-012c52049fbf2a30a82ff6ad0519f068

    6) Put ESXi into Maintenance Mode
    Shutdown or suspend all your active VMs on that host, then right-click on ESXi host, and choose Enter Maintenance Mode” as recommended by LSI technical support.

    7) Patch it
    Then, at PuTTY (SSH for Windows) session on the ESXi 5.0 host, I do the following 2 commands:

    cd /usr/bin
    esxcli software vib install -v /tmp/vmware-esx-provider-LSIProvider.vib

    And after a few seconds, it'll confirm it worked, and prompt you to reboot.  Go ahead and close the PuTTY session window and reboot now.

    You'll now "see" the health of the 9265-8i:

    lsi9265healthseenfromesx-7d169791bf2e150be5c5eec56da570ce

    Below, for archival purposes, you'll see my ill-fated attempt to run MegaRAID from within a VM (added May 5 2013, I later got this working, seen here

    Now you are ready to get MegaRAID to see this LSI 9265-8i from inside a VM, LSI has outlined the steps in this KB article:
    http://kb.lsi.com/KnowledgebaseArticle16438.aspx?Keywords=CIM
    where the instructions at the above KB article states:

    It takes a while to discover the CIMOM servers. If you start the MegaRAID Storage Manager client immediately after you install the MegaRAID Storage Manager (or restart Framework service), you will not be able to discover any hosts in the network.

    So, instead, I just edited the hosts file according to the instructions, then rebooted the VM.

    While that was rebooting, I then tweak the ESXi host to allow remote CIM, not sure yet if this step was absolutely essential, but I suspect it is:

    EnableCIMOnESXiFirewall

    and now I  instaled thel latest MegaRAID 11.06.00.0300, which I just noticed finally has CacheCade 2.0 support for models that currently offer this, see readme (you no longer need to go back to version 8.33).

    Here's the 9265-8i support site:
    http://www.lsi.com/support/products/Pages/MegaRAID%20SAS%209265-8i.aspx

    Here's the direct link for the MegaRAID 11.06.00.0300 Windows download:
    http://www.lsi.com/downloads/Public/MegaRAID%20Common%20Files/11.06.00-03_Windows_MSM.zip

    But unfortunately, I'm still having trouble getting my non-DNS environment to see the ESXi 5.0 host, in the process of ruling out prerequisite ESXi changes I may have missed (such as firewall rules, etc.)...stay tuned!

    If I login to the local VM which is Windows, it shows the LSI virtual adapter that VMware tools installs.  If I choose the only thing it finds, which is loopback 127.0.0.1, I get
    "Login failed : Unable to connect to CIMOM server!" which makes sense because it's not even hitting the ESXi 5.0 host, pictured below:

    unabletoconnecttocmomserver-2103d6b596268bb051972f1f55f0965e

    dollar-sign-156a0323eda02047e9e2376bbebda0c7