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Slow performance caused by out of date firmware on a RAID controller or HBA (1006696)

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Symptoms

  • Slow or erratic performance when copying files between shared VMFS storage (on a Storage Area Network) and local VMFS storage.
  • Slow deployment of virtual machines from templates using vCenter Server.

Purpose

If the firmware of an ESX/ESXi host's RAID controller or Host Bus Adapter (HBA) is out of date, you may experience slow or erratic performance. This article provides steps to determine the current version of the firmware.

Resolution

Note: To perform the actions in this article you must log on to the ESX host service console and acquire root privileges.

Identifying firmware revision of fibre-channel or hardware iSCSI adapters

To determine the firmware revision of either fibre-channel or hardware iSCSI adapters:
 
Note: The examples below use a QLogic 2300-series fibre-channel adapter, substitute as necessary.

Note: ESX versions prior to 3.5 do not report QLogic HBA firmware revisions internally. For ESX 3.0.x hosts using QLogic HBAs, it is necessary to reboot, observe the Power On Self Test screens and note the firmware revisions.

  1. Run this command to identify the actual directory name:

    ls /proc/scsi/


    Note: QLogic directories begin with qla , Emulex directories begin with lpfc . Substitute the actual directory name in the examples below.

  2. Run this command to change to the Qlogic /proc node directory:

    cd /proc/scsi/qla2300/

  3. Run this command to list all adapters:

    ls

    The output appears similar to:

    # ls
    1 2 HbaApiNode

    Note: The HbaApiNode output does not appear in ESX 4.0 for Qlogic.

  4. Run this command to examine the beginning lines of the file named "1":

    head 1

    For example, to see the first four lines of "1":

    # head -4 1
    QLogic PCI to Fibre Channel Host Adapter for QLA2340 :
            Firmware version:  3.03.19, Driver version 7.07.04.2vmw

    Repeat for each number file and note the firmware version for each adapter.
Consult your vendor to determine if your HBA is using the latest firmware version.  

Identifying firmware revision of local RAID devices

To identify the firmware revision of local RAID devices:
 
Note: The examples below show the use of an Adaptec RAID controller, substitute as necessary.
  1. Run this command to identify the actual adapter directory name in /proc/scsi :

    ls /proc/scsi/

    Note: Adaptec RAID controller directories begin with aacraid . Substitute the actual directory name in the examples below.

  2. Run this command to change to the Adaptec /proc node directory:

    cd /proc/scsi/aacraid_esx30/

  3. Run this command to list all adapters:

    ls

    The output appears similar to:

    # ls
    1

  4. Run this command to view the contents of the file named "1":

    cat 1

    The output appears similar to:

    # cat 1
    Adaptec Raid Controller: 1.1-5[2415]custom-IBM
    Vendor: ServeRAID  Model: 8k   
    flags=SAI_READ_CAPACITY_16
    kernel: 5.2-0[11835]
    monitor: 5.2-0[11835]
    bios: 5.2-0[11835]
    serial: 360bce3

    Repeat for any additional number files and note the BIOS number for each controller.

Consult your vendor to determine whether your RAID controller is using the latest BIOS revision.

Additional Information

For additional information on troubleshooting slow templates deployment, see Diagnosing slow deployment of templates or clones from vCenter Server (1004002) .

See Also

Update History

02/24/2011 - Updated article for version 4.x.

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