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Installing ESX 2.5.3 on Sun Fire x4100 and x4200 Servers (2085)

Details

My installation of ESX Server 2.5.3 on a Sun Fire x4100 or x4200 server fails to identify the storage device. The server has a LSI 1064 controller. How do I install ESX Server 2.5.3?

Solution

Important: This interim workaround is no longer supported. Please use ESX Server 2.5.4 for Sun Fire X4100 and X4200 servers. You can download ESX Server 2.5.4 at http://www.vmware.com/download/esx/.
 

 
LSI 1064 controllers require a special driver disk for the installation to succeed. You can download the driver disk from www.vmware.com/download/esx/esx25-lsi1064-sunfire-x4100-x4200.html. Before using the driver disk, you need to set up the server so that it can use the USB floppy drive.

Solution Availability

This is an interim workaround solution for installing ESX Server 2.5.3 on Sun Fire x4100 and x4200 servers. This driver disk allows local boot support on Sun Fire x4100 and x4200 servers.

Note: This driver will be integrated into the next version of ESX Server. When that version is released, VMware will no longer support this workaround, and you will need to migrate to the newer version of ESX Server.

Caution: This driver update process is compatible only with LSI 1064 controllers. The machine must not contain other LSI controllers. You will experience system reliability issues if other LSI controllers are installed.
 
Caution: Any patches released for ESX Server 2.5.3 are not supported when using this LSI driver disk and will make the Sun Fire x4100 or x4200 system unstable.

Hardware Requirements

  • Laptop or PC with serial connection to the Sun Fire x4100 or x4200 server's Service Processor (SP) management port (which is an RJ45 adapter, not the typical 9 pin D connector) using a NULL modem cable
  • A serial connection configured on the Laptop/PC as 9600 baud with 8N1 and flow control off/none
  • Monitor, USB keyboard, and USB mouse connected to rear USB ports of the Sun Fire x4100 or x4200 server
  • External USB floppy drive connected to Sun Fire x4100 or x4200 server

Note: VMware does not support the hardware RAID configuration of the LSI 1064 device with the LSI driver disk in ESX Server 2.5.3.

Enabling the USB Floppy Drive for ESX Server 2.5.3 Installation

Disable the service processor from initializing all the USB devices during the boot process:

  1. Connect the NULL modem cable of the laptop or PC to the SP port on the rear of Sun Fire x4100 or x4200 server marked SER MGT.
  2. Connect the server to the power supply.
  3. The SP serial connection should be alive immediately.
  4. Enter the default username (root) and password (changeme) once a login prompt appears.
  5. At the SP prompt (->) issue the following command:
    -> reset /SYS
    This command reboots the Sun Fire x4100 or x4200 server.
  6. You should see BIOS messages on the console of the server.
    Note: You may have to wait 1-2 minutes before you see any activity on the monitor. This is normal.

Installing ESX Server 2.5.3 Using the Driver Disk

  1. Insert the VMware ESX Server 2.5.3 CD into the drive when BIOS startup messages are displayed.
  2. The machine detects and boots from the CD, which presents a menu with the following prompt:
    boot :
  3. Enter esx driverdisk at the boot prompt. Do not press Enter.
  4. Go back to the SP serial terminal window and enter the following command at the SP prompt:
    "load -source tftp://123.456.789.012/nofile"
    Note: Enter the above command exactly as it is. Before submitting the command, ping 123.456.789.012 to make sure there is no host in the local network with this address.
  5. The SP connection presents a confirmation question. Type y and press Enter.
  6. SP unloads all USB-related drivers and enters "no usb mode." You can safely ignore all other questions and prompts on the SP terminal.
  7. Do not enter anything on SP connection at this point.
  8. Go back to the ESX service console. Press the Enter key to start the installation process.
  9. You may get an error message stating that the mouse could not be configured. Choose no mouse option (none) and proceed.
  10. Choose text mode for installation when prompted.
  11. Insert the driver disk into the floppy drive when prompted for the driver disk. Choose Driver Disk on the first dialog box and continue for the second time (indicating you have only one driver disk).
  12. From this point, follow the procedure for a standard installation of ESX Server 2.5.3.

ESX Server 2.5.3 Post-Installation Procedure

After the ESX Server installation procedure completes, the server reboots and displays a menu with three entries (esx, linux, linux-up):

  1. Type esx nousb and press Enter.
  2. After the system boots, a screen displays showing the IP address and name of the system with instructions for accessing the system from a browser.
  3. Press Alt-F2 and log on as root.
  4. Edit /etc/lilo.conf with a text editor.
  5. Search the file to find the entry with label=esx. Change the following line from:
    append="mem=XXX xxx=XX:XX:XX:XX...."
    to:
    append="nousb mem=XXX xxx=XX:XX:XX:XX...."
  6. Search lilo.conf to find the entry with label=linux. Add the following lines just after the line containing label=linux:
    initrd=/boot/initrd-2.4.9-e.68smp.img
    append="usb"
  7. Search the file to find the entry with label=linux-up. Add the following lines just after the line containing label=linux-up:
    initrd=/boot/initrd-2.4.9-e.68.img
    append="usb"
  8. Once the edits above are completed, execute the following command as root:
    /sbin/lilo -v
  9. Reboot the Sun Fire x4100 or x4200 server:
    /sbin/reboot
  10. Once the server has rebooted, choose ESX from the LILO menu to start ESX Server 2.5.3.
  11. Go back to the SP connection. Type n and press Enter to reboot SP.

Known Issues

  • The kernel parameter "nousb" is expected to limit USB functionality. However, a USB keyboard or mouse connected to the Sun Fire x4100 and x4200 will continue to work.
  • RKVM (remote keyboard, video, and mouse) capabilities are limited. Redirecting the CD-ROM, floppy, floppy image, or CD-ROM image will not function, because the VMware console operating system does not automatically mount these devices.

Keywords

2085; lsi; logic; sas; 1064; four-port; hba; 4-port; esx253; esx254

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