Supermicro SYS-5028D-TN4T mini-tower/Wiredzone Bundles are now on the VCG for ESXi 7.0, full VMware support resumed!

Posted by Paul Braren on Aug 26 2020 (updated on Aug 27 2020) in
  • ESXi
  • HomeLab
  • HomeServer
  • Virtualization
  • vSphere7
  • TLDR

    Gladly, the super popular SYS-5028D-TN4T mini tower and the 1U rack mount SYS-5018D-FN4T and SYS-5018D-FN8T are now on the VCG (VMware Compatibility Guide) for ESXi 7.0. Sadly the mini 1U SYS-E300-8D and SYS-E200-8D are not. All of them work great with ESXi 7.0, and the install is just as easy as it was on ESXi 6.7. Read onward for details.

    Introduction

    Nobody likes it when hardware gets orphaned off of support, particularly if it's less than 5 years old. In the case of the Intel Xeon D-1541 based SYS-5028D-TN4T systems that arrived in early 2016 (4.5 years ago), I'll admit I was a little worried what would happen once VMware released ESXi 7.0 back on April 2, 2020. And every day since.

    VCG-SYS-5028D-TN4T--TinkerTry-2020-08-27
    Click/tap to view full listing for the SYS-5028D-TN4T

    That wait is over. Last night, I found that sometime since I last checked on August 18 2020, Supermicro's submissions of several Xeon D-1500 systems were published on the VCG (VMware Compatibility Guide), which is great news for Wiredzone Bundle owners which are based on the SYS-5028D-TN4T Supermicro SuperServer. Yes, this means you can open a VMware Service Request on this system should any service issues arise for you, especially important if you're running any production workloads like I am, using the VMware vSphere Essentials Kit I purchased.

    VMware-Lifecycle-Product-Matrix--TinkerTry-excerpt-2020-08-25
    Click/tap to view full, latest VMware Lifecycle Product Matrix.

    I wouldn't necessarily assume you'll be getting VMware support for these systems right through VMware's stated 7.0 "End of General Support" on Apr 2nd of 2025, more likely the next big release, say vSphere 7.5 or whatever it gets called, will mark the end of VMware support for these popular SYS-5028D-TN4T systems. That would likely be a full 5.5 years since the SYS-5028D-TN4T first shipped with the Xeon D-1541 CPU, long after the warranty on the motherboard from Supermicro expires. Not a bad run I'd say, I'm personally using my Xeon D-1541 and Xeon D-1567 systems every day, to this day.

    Note that for certain hi-end Xeon D-1500 based motherboards, Supermicro stated 7 year product life, but I'm no longer seeing those captions.

    Backstory

    A little backstory here. Wiredzone had heard from me when I tried and failed to open a Service Request on a strange USB sound mapping issue back on Apr 15 2020, just about 2 weeks after ESXi 7.0 went GA on Apr 02. Not unexpected that my per-incident request for support resulted in an SR# that was closed immediately upon discovery that my SYS-5028D-TN4T system was not on the VCG. Thankfully, I figured out a crazy workaround to the problem myself, but not without losing about two-dozen hours of aggravation later, all in one weekend. I'm so glad Wiredzone never gave up in their tireless quest to "encourage" Supermicro to submit their popular SYS-5028D-TN4T Xeon D system to VMware for inclusion on the VCG. My understanding is that Supermicro and Wiredzone had some financial hurtles to overcome too.

    Why this matters

    If you got your vSphere from the vExpert program or the VMUG Advantage EVALExperience program, you can't open a service request with VMware. That said, let's think about it this way. Imagine if this system wasn't supported for ESXi 7.0, even though it works fine, and the installation is easy. What would have happened if this nasty overheating CPU bug like this recent issue that affected a newer Xeon D-2100 based Supermicro Xeon D-2100 happened? Supermicro had to fix the issue that ONLY affected ESXi 7.0 users through a new BIOS release. If it wasn't supported, we'd likely be out of luck.

    ESXiThermal02
    Source - "Strange thermal Issue after Update to ESXi 7.0b" by Michael Schroeder. The only fix for this serious issue was a BIOS update from Supermicro. Click/tap to read the full story at ELASTICSKY

    Enough said? I like to sleep well at night, knowing well over 1,000 happy Bundle buyers are now in good shape for at least another year or so.

    Gladly, it's not just the mini tower, the full width 1Us rack mount models are supported for ESXi 7.0 too

    Below you'll find each handy link goes to the VCG entry for that exact system.

    2020-08-27_7-45-49

    Sadly, 1U SYS-E300-8D and 1U SYS-E200-8D are apparently not supported for ESXi 7.0

    E200-and-E300

    Only the newer Xeon D-2100 based SYS-E300-9D-8CN8TP is supported for ESXi 7.0:

    Supermicro hasn't updated their OS Compatibility Chart

    OS-Compatibility
    Click/tap to view full OS Compatibility chart at Supermicro

    What's next

    Now it's time to give it another go, so I opened up a new SR# on a different issue. Stay tuned to hear what happens, as I just didn't have time to work on that SR# with VMware yet today, as I was a little distracted with fixing then documenting a strange VCSA 7.0.0c CPU utilization issue.

    TinkerTry-SuperServer-Feature-Posterboard-Aug-25-2020-0545pm
    Updated to include vSphere 7.0

    Aug 27 2020 Update

    Revised the "Why this matters" section above for clarity, adding CPU overheating screenshot.

    Also, added this FAQ below.

    FAQ

    1. What about the 12 core Xeon D-1567 based version of the SYS-5028D-TN4T, is it supported?
      I'm still looking into that to be absolutely sure, stay tuned.

    2. What about non-Bundle Supermicro SYS-5028D-TN4T, SYS-5018D-FN4T, and SYS-5018D-FN8T systems purchased from resellers besides Wiredzone?
      Sure, you're all set too, VMware ESXi 7.0 is supported.

    3. Since Xeon D-1541 and Xeon D-1567 are both listed on the VCG as Intel Xeon D-1500 Series, why can't you call VMware and open a ticket for X10SDV motherboards based on those CPUs? In my experience, VMware support doesn't work that way, I tried. If your experience differs, please let us know by dropping a comment below this article.

    4. What about informal support via self-service forums?
      Sure, nothing changes there, with so many OEMs making Xeon D-1500 systems, it's somewhat likely that even after the next major vSphere is released, whether it's called vSphere 7.1 or 7.5, the Xeon D-1500 will probably continue to operate well. But it won't be supported, so the risk will always be there that a simple patch, let's say something related to side-channel attacks, might not be supported for use with that vSphere release. So if a problem arises that the community cannot resolve, such as BIOS released for good reasons, the owner may need to avoid that BIOS release to buy some more time.

    5. What about the Bundle 1 and Bundle 2, are they still for sale?
      Yes, they sure are, nothing changes there, see also detailed order page. It's more likely the Bundle 1 (less popular, with GPU and Windows 10) will be withdrawn from sale by Wiredzone before Bundle 2 (bare bones, without GPU) would be, as it's far less popular. Also note that it seems it will be 2021 before new CPU contenders to replace Xeon D-1500 come along, in Intel Xeon and AMD EPYC variants are far less than the 14 nm we've been at since the original Xeon D-1540 came out in Q1'2015 with faulty SR-IOV, quickly replaced by the Xeon D-1541 in Q4'2016.

    6. What about other server operating systems, besides VMware vSphere's ESXi Hypervisor?
      It depends, do your homework before you buy. All the major server platforms were "TinkerTry'd" back in 2017, but I've been unable to keep up with testing all subsequent releases. Here's the latest updates that I came up with, when refreshing that poster board list at the top of this article.

    windows-server
    • Windows Server 2019 - Yes, officially supported by Supermicro, detailed at Supermicro in their OS Compatibility Chart.

    whats-new-windows-10-version-2004
    • Windows 10 Version 2004 - Yes, officially supported by Supermicro, detailed at Supermicro in their OS Compatibility Chart. Note that this table of tested OSs doesn't call out Version 2004 specifically, but it does work well. Supermicro tests mostly server operating systems, and sleep states aren't supported. In other words, you can't hibernate or suspend, only shutdown is available when you're done using it. It's a server. During TinkerTry's informal compatibility testing done with a fresh install of Windows 10 Version 2004 (May 2020 release) from bootable USB, it was found that Windows Device Manager automatically found the Xeon D-1500 chipset drivers, including the onboard I-350 NIC, automatically. Optional Intel X552/X557 10G drivers are a separate download. Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020 was tested to work with the AMD Radeon Pro WX 4100, glad I held on to that card after it failed to work with GPU passthrough to ESXi.

    2077243

    NUTANIX-Hardware-Platforms
    • Nutanix CE - Unclear, see Hardware Platforms where you'll note that Supermicro isn't listed. Last time I checked in 2017, Nutanix CE (Community Edition) installed and functioned.

    Aug 27 2020 Update 04:24pm Eastern

    TLDR added above the article.

    My VMware SR# for my well-documented VMware vSphere / ESXi 7.0 GA work-around for GPU passthrough issues including disabled-after-reboot bug and UI bug has been escalated, therefore it's seemingly made it past VMware entitlement. Opening the SR# at my.vmware.com never asked for the system model, instead, I used ESXi Host Client to "Generate support bundle" which I then uploaded to my.vmware.com. The VPD (Vital Product Data) in that bundle tells them it's the SYS-5028D-TN4T, and that is likely what VMware is using for support verification. The full system name for this particular run of >200 12 core Xeon D-1567 systems made for Wiredzone customers is 'PIO-5028D-TN4T-01-WD002'.

    Since the GPU issue I'm reporting relates to other users of legitimate soon-to-be-supported on ESXi 7.0 hardware devices such as an HBA that is on the VCG discussed on VMTN here, I'm hoping that the ticket gets processed accordingly. Will it be considered a problem report or a bug report is TBD, stay tuned...


    See also at TinkerTry

    All vSphere 7 articles.

    All vSphere 7 videos.

    superservers

    my-tinkertry-d-xeon-d-bundle-2-supermicro-superserver-bundle-2-of-joy

    how-to-install-esxi-on-xeon-d-1500-supermicro-superserver

    How to easily install VMware ESXi 6.7 on an Intel Xeon D Supermicro SuperServer**
    Apr 17 2018

    supermicro-superservers-vcg-updated-to-6-7

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