How to make ESXi 5.1 see the health of an LSI 9265-8i RAID controller and array (seems to work with all 92xx controllers)

Posted Sep 15th, 2012 (updated on Oct 8th, 2012) in
  • ESXi
  • HowTo
  • Storage
  • Virtualization
  • These instructions are intended for those trying to find step-by-step instructions on how to get the 9265-8i hardware monitoring going under ESXi 5.1. Glad to have this published just 4 days of ESXi 5.1's release. While the 92xx drivers are baked right in to your ESXi 5.1, determining the health of your BBU/) and RAID is not. That's no way to operate your RAID, blind to its health. So with these instructions, that'll likely work fine with any of the 92xx family of LSI RAID cards, you should be able to fix this, in roughly 15 minutes.

    Know that getting the LSI 9265-8i recognized and supported under ESXi 5.0 was considerably more difficult, perhaps one reason that the previous article is one my site's most popular ever, with over 18,000 unique pageviews and growing:

    How to make ESXi 5.0 recognize an LSI 9265-8i RAID controller
    TinkerTry.com/lsi92658iesxi5

    41446-views-babf1a309e2be33feb7bb473dfb06023

    Apparently a LOT of folks buy LSI for ESXi, seen here, and like the idea of hardware/software independent SSD caching of ESXi (see LSI interoperability report), a key reason I chose the 9265-8i RAID adapter back in the summer of 2011 for vZilla. The LSI 9266-8i is identical, same chips and drivers and specs/speeds, really just a new layout and nicer battery backup unit.


    Sep. 17 2012 Update, the 9266-8i has been confirmed to work, by TinkerTry site visitor Peter.

    LSI-9266-8i-Amazon-product-view
    LSI 9266-8i
    LSI-9265-8i-Amazon-product-view
    LSI 9265-8i

    Sep. 26 2012 Update, more success stories:

    Dell PERC H700 works according to this commenter here.

    Fujitsu MegaRAID DS2612 works according to this commenter here.

    MegaRAID Windows GUI said to work in a VM here, by Alex, with additional info by Roman here.

    I'll be testing MSM in a VM very soon, and will post a new article about it.

    Oct. 08 2012 Update, more success stories:

    IBM ServeRAID M5014 works according to this commenter here.

    Read also that MegaRAID Winodws GUI can run in a VM, see my recent article ESXi 5.1 host with LSI 92xx RAID adapter can run a VM with fully functional MegaRAID Storage Manager UI.

    I do not regret my choice of RAID controller, despite some self-induced bumpy spots (advice, stick with the SSDs on LSI interoperability report here). The logic of my RAID controller choice is documented at:
    TinkerTry.com/goodraidcontrollerswithssdcachingandesxsupport, with a lot of specs on this LSI product line over here.

    So let's get started!


    Part I:  How to make ESXi 5.1 "see" an LSI 9265-8i RAID controller:

    Done! As long as you're already on ESXi 5.1, it'll work right away, the driver is already in there, scsi-megaraid-sas 5.34-4vmw.510.0.0.7997332012-08-02

    so you may proceed to...

    Part II:  How to make ESXi "see" the health info of an LSI 9265-8i RAID controller and array:

    1) Grab the zip file from LSI here:
    lsi.com/support/Pages/Download-Results.aspx?keyword=9265

    scroll to MANAGEMENT SOFTWARE AND TOOLS, and find the green arrow next to VMware SMIS Provider VIB - 5.3 Version 00.03.V0.03 to kick off the download, this should work for entire 92xx family, I tested on the LSI 9265-8i with ESXi 5.1:

    download-smis-24c2445e7ed5f8abe3706506973060a4

    or should the site change, this direct link should continue to work:
    lsi.com/downloads/Public/RAID%20Controllers/RAID%20Controllers%20Common%20Files/00.03.V0.03_SMIS_VMware_Installer.zip

    As of Sep 11, 2012, the site looks like this:

    VMWare SMIS Provider VIB - 5.3
    Description: SAS MegaRAID VMWare SMIS Provider VIB
    Version: 00.03.V0.03
    Size: 6.8M
    Language: English
    Read Me
    Manage Subscriptions
    VMWare 5.x Jun 18, 2012

    2) 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 the actual bundle you'll be transferring:

    \00.03.V0.03_SMIS_VMware_Installer\LSI_SBMA_VMWare_00.03.V0.03\VMW-ESX-5.0.0-LSIProvider-500.04.V0.30-30000000\00.30.V0.03\vmware-esx-provider-lsiprovider.vib

    and the instructions you may choose to skim-read:
    \00.03.V0.03_SMIS_VMware_Installer\LSI_SBMA_VMWare_00.03.V0.03\VMW-ESX-5.0.0-LSIProvider-500.04.V0.30-30000000\00.30.V0.03\docs\Installation.txt

    3) Enable SSH on ESXi 5.1
    (skip ahead if you've done this already)

    It's quite easy with the ESXi vSphere client, step-by-step found here.

    4) Move it

    You can use vSphere Client Datastore Browser to do this, or something like freeware WinSCP and its easy GUI. Linux clients native scp will do nicely too.

    If using WinSCP, just point it to your ESX host IP, then drag-and-drop:
    vmware-esx-provider-lsiprovider.vib
    into the ESXi 5.1 host's /tmp directory

    winscp-the-vib-1c71fa156e61e43d90b4b9a8470f9735

    5) 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.

    6) Install it
    Then, at PuTTY (SSH for Windows) session on the ESXi 5.1 host, I do the following 2 commands (the no-sig-check is important, because you'll get errors about signing if you don't, it's a 3rd party piece of software):

    cd /usr/bin
    esxcli software vib install -v /tmp/vmware-esx-provider-lsiprovider.vib `--`no-sig-check

    And after nothing appears to happen for about a minute, then it'll suddenly confirm it worked, telling you the LSI_bootbank_lsiprovider_500.04.V0.30-3000000 was installed:

    esxcli-software-vib-install-command1

    7) Reboot it
    Go ahead and close the PuTTY session window and reboot now, using whatever your favorite method of a rebooting is.

    Then log back in to the ESXi host using the vSphere Client, in this case logged into the ESXi host (no vCenter), and you'll now "see" the health of the 9265-8i, over on the Configuration tab. Strangely, I can also now see the health of my MediaSonic external RAID5 array as well, nice!

    9265-8i-healthy-eccdd126d54362f8c6f1aa40add7383f

    Very similar view from vSphere Client logged into the vCenter host:

    9265-8i-healthy-via-vcenter-hardware-status-view-storage-1255f159984265cc246d5702993cc44e

    And finally, here's the vSphere Web Client view:

    vsphere-web-client-host-storage-health-c3f96b34020ea123ff7f1e2026bb679d

    Optionally, you can now set up triggers and alarms for RAID health events (detailed in video). Over time, I will continue to refine/clarify this article, incorporating your feedback in comments below. I also hope to get MSM (MegaRAID Storage Manager) working from within ESXi (supposedly possible, according to an LSI engineer at the VMworld 2012 booth).

    Oct 1 2012 Update: Solved! See TinkerTry.com/esxi-5-1-can-run-lsi-megaraid-in-a-vm

    The video below is really just a reference, in case you get tripped up somewhere following these screenshots. You'll see me stumble along for a bit to get it eventually working, since some of the steps were not well-documented anywhere. But they are now!