As I’m sure most of the active VMware users and enthusiasts are aware, vSphere 5.5 was released to the masses last weekend. I eagerly downloaded a copy and have installed it on a lab machine. I’ve not played with the full suite yet – just the ESXi 5.5 hypervisor.
The install went smoothly on the HP DL360G5 I was using. Unfortunately, the server only has 32GB RAM so I cannot test for myself that the 32GB limit for the “free” hypervisor is removed. I can confirm that under the “licensed features” heading the “Up to 8-way virtual SMP” entry is still there but the “Up to 32 GB of memory” entry is removed (when using a “freebie” license key). So that looks good 🙂 As I said, I’ve not installed the entire suite yet, only the hypervisor, so I am only using the Windows client currently. Don’t do what I did and upgrade a VM’s hardware version – you won’t be able to manage it via the Windows client – which does not support the latest features (including newer VM hardware versions).
Anyway, one of the first things I check when I install ESXi onto a machine is that the hardware status is correctly reported under the Configuration tab. Disks go bad, PSUs fail or get unplugged and fans stop spinning so I like to ensure that ESXi is reporting the server hardware health correctly. To my dismay I found that the disk health was not being reported for the P400i attached storage, after installing from the HP OEM customised ESXi 5.5 ISO. Now this is not entirely unexpected, as the HP G5 servers are not supported with ESXi 5.5. Drat!
By following the VMware Twitteratti, I’ve learnt that various ESXi 5.0 and 5.1 drivers have been successfully used on ESXi 5.5 (specifically for Realtek network cards, the drivers for which have been dropped from ESXi 5.5). So I figured I’d give it a go at using the ESXi 5.0/5.1 HP providers on this ESXi 5.5 install.
I downloaded “hp-esxi5.0uX-bundle-1.4-16.zip” from HP’s website, which is contained on the “HP ESXi Offline Bundle for VMware ESXi 5.x” page which can be navigated to from http://h18000.www1.hp.com/products/servers/software/vmware-esxi/offline_bundle.html.
This ZIP file contains a few .vib files, intended for VMware ESXi 5.0 or 5.1. The VIB we are looking for is called “hp-smx-provider-500.03.02.00.23-434156.vib”. Extract this .VIB, and upload it to your favorite datastore. Now, enable the ESXi shell (or SSH) and connect onto the ESXi host’s console. Use the following command:
esxcli software vib install -v file:///vmfs/volumes/datastore1/hp-smx-provider-500.03.02.00.23-434156.vib
and reboot the host. You should now see this software component listed under Software Components within the Health Status section. You should also see the health of the P400i and its associated storage listed. So far so good. However, on my server the HP P400i controller was showing as a yellow “Warning”. Hmm. Not sure why.
So, I figured maybe there was an incompatibility between these older HP agents and the newer versions from the HP OEM CD. So, I decided to reinstall ESXi from the plain VMware ESXi 5.5 ISO.
So, a fresh install results in fan status, temperature readings and power supply status being reported and no (as expected) P400i storage health.
So, let’s install “hp-esxi5.0uX-bundle-1.4.5-3.zip”. Yes it’s a newer version than I used above, only because I found it after I’d reinstalled the vanilla ESXi.
esxcli software vib install -d file:///vmfs/volumes/datastore/hp/hp-esxi5.0uX-bundle-1.4.5-3.zip
Hey presto! Green health status. I pulled a drive from a RAID array and the status indicated the failure and then the subsequent rebuild. Certainly seems to be a workable solution to extend the life of these perfectly serviceable lab machines 🙂
I would expect this status monitoring to work for P800 controllers too.
One can also install hp-HPUtil-esxi5.0-bundle-1.5-31.zip to get access to some HP utilities at the ESXi command line.