Replacing driver for MegaRAID SAS 9361-8i on ESXi 6

Background

This will be a short article for those who need to replace the driver used for MegaRAID SAS 9361-8i on ESXi 6.

MegaRAID SAS 9361-8i is the default controller used in Softlayer and if your plan is to run vSphere 6 with VSAN on it, you need to know some specifics. In my blog post here I demonstrate the whole configuration process. But that article is updated quite often, based on information I am getting from various sources.

Now, the thing is that at some point it was recommended to use the lsi_mr3 driver bundled with ESXi for VSAN. But after some of testing it was discovered that the bundled driver does not perform well so I was told that people should switch to using Legacy megaraid driver.

If you are in the list of people who is using lsi_mr3, here is how you can install megaraid driver. And disable lsi_mr3.

How-to

Before you do anything, of course put your host into maintenance mode. Although, based on my tests, there is no data loss, if you can afford it, evacuate the VSAN data from the host.

1. Download the magaraid driver from VMware website. The driver version I was recommended to use is  6.610.15.00-1OEM and it can be downloaded from here. Unzip the archive, what we need is the .vib file. In my case its called scsi-megaraid-sas_6.610.15.00-1OEM.600.0.0.2494585.vib. Once you have the .vib, upload it to some datastore or use a tool like WinSCP to copy the file to your ESXi host.

2. To check which driver is used at the moment you can run the following command:

The output should be similar to this one:

3. Now, we need to install the megaraid driver. The process is the same like with any other other .vib file:

4. After driver is installed you need to disable the lsi_mr3 module in kernel:

5. Now, reboot the host. After reboot, once again, run the following command to see if driver was replaced:

Output should look similarly to this:

 

Hope this helps.

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Aram Avetisyan is an IT specialist with more than 15 years experience. He has rich background in various IT related fields like Cloud, Virtualization, SDN, Disaster Recovery, and so on. He holds several industry level certifications including but not limited to VCIX6-DCV, VCIX6-NV, VCAP-CIA. As VCI Aram is delivering VMware authorised courses. For his contribution to the community, he was recognised as vEXPERT in years 2014, 2015 and 2016.

About Aram Avetisyan

Aram Avetisyan is an IT specialist with more than 15 years experience. He has rich background in various IT related fields like Cloud, Virtualization, SDN, Disaster Recovery, and so on. He holds several industry level certifications including but not limited to VCIX6-DCV, VCIX6-NV, VCAP-CIA. As VCI Aram is delivering VMware authorised courses. For his contribution to the community, he was recognised as vEXPERT in years 2014, 2015 and 2016.
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7 Comments

  1. Hey Aram. Thanks for posting this! We’re in the process of deploying all flash vSAN into SoftLayer and are struggling to find the proper driver for the AVAGO 9361-8i cards. Our joint VMware/SoftLayer contact had indicated that the 9361-8i was now in the certified hardware list with a specific FW and driver version. Now it seems that the recommended driver is not available from VMware but the VCG hasn’t been updated with a new driver to use. We’re under a time crunch here to get this environment built and with VMworld being this week, tracking down people is a bit harder than normal! Any thoughts?

  2. Aram, Thanks for this post! The tip to disable the current driver is what I have been looking for, for several months now! Thanks again!

  3. I’m spinning up a 6.5 install and followed your instructions, as I needed to updated to the latest driver, which in my case is lsi-mr3-6.912.12.00-1OEM.650.0.0.4240417.x86_64.vib.

    I installed the vib, disabled the lsi_mr3 module, rebooted…and now vmhba2 is no longer listed when I run the “esxcli storage core adapter list” command. 🙁

    Any ideas how to get it back, and using the latest driver?

    • Hi B,

      If you are installing lsi-mr3-6.912.12.00-1OEM.650.0.0.4240417.x86_64.vib you should not disable lsi_mr3 module. By doing that you simply disable the driver you just installed.

      You need to disable lsi_mr3 module only in case you are replacing the driver with legacy megaraid_sas one.

      Please read the article carefully.
      In addition, I have not tested this on ESXi 6.5.

      Hope it helps.

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