ESXi installation fail with IBM x3650 M4 and m5110e storage controller after Firmware upgrade

Yesterday, we experienced a problem where we couldn’t install ESXi on the one of ours IBM x3650 M4 servers. We suspected it could be a firmware issue as we performed a complete firmware upgrades just before the installation.

If you already had your ESXi installed and did the firmware upgrade it may happen your local datastore will be in unmounted state.

Issue

Installation failed during disk partitioning with following messages:

Operation failed.
vmkfstools failed with message: create fs deviceName: ...
"/vmfs/devices/disk/naa.6..." is not a valid absolute or relative path
Failed to resolve device name path
/vmfs/devices/disk/naa.6...
Error: no such file or directory

OperationFailed

It was very similar to the VMware KB2012053  so we knew it is most probably storage related.

We tried to use several ESXi images including the latest Lenovo ESXi Customized image 5.5 and 6.0 and the stock VMware image as well, but without any success.

note: Lenovo ESXi customized images are not supported with IBM servers for some time, the latest supported was ESXi 5.5 U2 and ESXi 6.0.

Yes, I hate this approach from the Lenovo as well, especially when they were promising the same level of support for IBM servers, before acquisition of x86 platform from IBM.

Solution

Reason for this is, that LSI MegaRAID (Avago) storage driver bundled in ESXi image is not compatible with the latest firmware (in our case 23.34.0-0023) of m5110e controller included in our server.

Solution for this is pretty easy, you just need to use ISO image for ESXi 6.0U3 with rolled up drivers which you can find at VMware page directly 🙂 Driver included there is lsi-mr3 7.701.14.00-1OEM SAS Driver for Avago Megaraid Based Adapters

rolleddriversiso

If you are trying to use roll up image for ESXi 5.5 U3, you will fail as that one was released 2 years ago and doesn’t include the latest drivers.

You can try to inject correct driver (lsi-mr3) in your ESXi 5.5 ISO in this case, however I’m not sure if the one available for 5.5 is working, the latest which I found for ESXi 5.5 at VMware Driver Download Page is VMware ESXi 5.5 lsi-mr3 6.610.20.00-1OEM SAS Driver for Avago Megaraid SAS 12Gbps Family of SAS controllers.

Just follow this procedure to create the iso image with custom driver. If it will not work and you need to stay on ESXi 5.5 you may need to downgrade the firmware or contact Lenovo to give you a newer driver.

I have to thank to the users at VMware community forum, who have the same issue and pointed us to the right solution. Although they were even trying to downgrade the firmware. But I believe using newer driver is a more elegant solution.

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Dusan has over 6 years experience in Virtualization field. Currently working as Senior VMware plarform Architect at one of the biggest retail bank in Slovakia. He has background in closely related technologies including server operating systems, networking and storage. Used to be a member of VMware Center of Excellence at IBM, co-author of several Redpapers. His main scope of work consists from designing and performance optimization of business critical virtualized solutions on vSphere, including, but not limited to Oracle WebLogic, MSSQL and others. He holds several IT industry leading certifications like VCAP-DCD, VCAP-DCA, MCITP and the others. Honored with #vExpert2015 and 2016 awards by VMware for his contribution to the community. Opinions are my own!

About Dusan Tekeljak

Dusan has over 6 years experience in Virtualization field. Currently working as Senior VMware plarform Architect at one of the biggest retail bank in Slovakia. He has background in closely related technologies including server operating systems, networking and storage. Used to be a member of VMware Center of Excellence at IBM, co-author of several Redpapers. His main scope of work consists from designing and performance optimization of business critical virtualized solutions on vSphere, including, but not limited to Oracle WebLogic, MSSQL and others. He holds several IT industry leading certifications like VCAP-DCD, VCAP-DCA, MCITP and the others. Honored with #vExpert2015 and 2016 awards by VMware for his contribution to the community. Opinions are my own!
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3 Comments

  1. I had the ->exact<- same error on an Lenovo x240 Flex Node. The reason here was, that no Network Card Adapter was installed on that flex node. I was so frustrated, that the Error Message here is so useless. Like i said, exact same error message due to not having a network card installed !

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