VMWARE ESXi 4.0 wont boot

Hi all,

I'm having a serious issue with ESXi 4.  I have had ESXi 4 running successfully for a couple of months now, with x2 Server 2003 VM's (Currently installed on an HP ML150G6 server - Intel E5520 CPU, 4GB RAM, x4 250GB HDD's in a RAID-5 configuration, setup using the default Smart Array P410 RAID controller that came with the server bundle).

The issue is that the Server has been running fine up until this morning - After noticing that our mail/file/print server was not working, I had attempted to logon to the server via the vsphere client - no go.  Attempted a ping - no go (Tried pinging both the Server IP and the VM IP's).  So I thought that I'd give the server a restart (the restart took quite a long time to accomplish approx 15 - 20 minutes).  After restarting the server went through POST fine, but when it came time to load the ESXi hypervisor an error showed up saying "boot failed! please enter proper boot device - then restart!).

Could this be that the boot configuration file for the ESXi hypervisor is somewhat corrupt?  Has anyone been through a similar situation before? If so how did you manage to fix this annoying issue.  Any help will be greatly appreciated.

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OK - ignoring the previous post.

When the server boots, go into the BIOS for the P410 card and check the status of your RAID controller.  Look for failed drives or a degraded array.

If the RAID is OK, suggest you build yourself a USB key with ESXi on it and boot from that - it will allow you to inspect the server with minimal risk to your hard disks.

This link explains how to do it - http://www.vladan.fr/how-to-install-esxi-40-on-usb-memory-key/

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if you do a repair installation from the cd, it will retain the datastores so you will keep your virtual machines. as long as obviously the harddisks aren't damaged.

although a repair will require re-configuration of management ip/root password/and you will have to "add to inventory" your vms
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vmwarun - ArunCommented:
It certainly looks like a disk problem within the RAID-5 Array.
If you able to notice any Amber LEDs on the front end of the Server, then this indicates a problem with one or more hard drives within your array.
Have you tried to boot into Single User Mode and see if any of your local partitions on your ESX host are full?
ESXi doesn't have single user mode? does it?

Any chance ESXi is installed to an internal flash card and it is attempting to boot from the raid set?
Tropical-GAuthor Commented:
Hi everyone,

Thanks for the prompt feedback.  I will go through the recommendations, and will update you guys asap.

Tropical-GAuthor Commented:
RE: mastoo

There is no internal/embedded installation of EXi.  I have successfully installed ESXi on a "temporary" flash drive - and am downloading from the DATASTORE as we speak - so it all looks good to me so far.  Once i have the entire DATASTORE backed up safely i will go ahead with the repair.... hope that gets me back online etc (Just need to re-configure the VM's after that's all done.

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