Tape drive not appearing and adaptec card path dead after upgrade to vsphere 4

miteldatanet used Ask the Experts™

A customer of ours recently upgraded from esxi to vsphere 4. After the upgrade we have been unable to see the tape drive attached to thte server.

The drive is an HP Ultrium 448 LTO plugged in to an adaptec ultra320 29320LPE.

The correct card appears in the vshpere client under configuration/storage adapters but I do not see any deivces plugged in to this card.

If I click on "path" on the adaptec card I see the status is appearing as "dead"

Any idea why this was working fine in esxi but is now not working in vsphere 4?

Thank you!
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Top Expert 2010

What processor do you have in your host. The VMDirectPath now requires Nehelium or newer processors and is not supported on AMD. See http://www.vmware.com/pdf/vsp_4_vmdirectpath_host.pdf

"ESX Host Requirements
VMDirectPath supports a direct device connection for virtual machines running on Intel Xeon 5500 systems,
which feature an implementation of the I/O memory management unit (IOMMU) called Virtual Technology
for Directed I/O (VT-d). VMDirectPath can work on AMD platforms with I/O Virtualization Technology (AMD
IOMMU), but this configuration is offered as experimental support.
Some machines might not have this technology enabled in the BIOS by default. Refer to your hardware
documentation to learn how to enable this technology in the BIOS."

Good Luck
Top Expert 2010

I should have said only "experimentaly supported on AMD..."


The host in question is using a Xeon 5345.

I have a newer esx 4 host that uses a Xeon 5540 and I do see a difference under Hardware Conffiguration/ Advanced settings.

The vmdirectpath configuration on the 5540 server says "No devices currently enabled for passthrough"

The vmdirectpath configuration on the ailing xeon 5345 server says "Host does not support passthrough configuration"

Do I need to enable something in the 5345 server's bios to get this card to function or is the server to old. I am really stumped as why this hardware configuration was previously working on esxi.

Thanks for the help!
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I forgot to mention this version 4.1

Top Expert 2010

I don't think you will get it to work with the 53xx processor. Can you move your backup VMs and drives to the other server? Note that the drives will need a dedicated controller, unless you plan to add all devices on that controller to the backup VM.

Look at page 101 in the VM Admin Guide: http://www.vmware.com/pdf/vsphere4/r41/vsp_41_vm_admin_guide.pdf

"Add a PCI Device
VMDirectPath I/O allows a guest operating system on a virtual machine to directly access physical PCI and
PCIe devices connected to a host. Each virtual machine can be connected to up to six PCI devices.
PCI devices connected to a host can be marked as available for passthrough from the Hardware Advanced
Settings in the Configuration tab for the host.
n To use VMDirectPath, verify that the host has Intel® Virtualization Technology for Directed I/O (VT-d) or
AMD I/O Virtualization Technology (IOMMU) enabled in the BIOS.
n Verify that the PCI devices are connected to the host and marked as available for passthrough.
n Verify that the virtual machine is using hardware version 7.
1 Select the virtual machine from the inventory panel and click Virtual Machine > Edit Settings.
2 On the Hardware tab, click Add.
3 In the Add Hardware wizard, select PCI Device and click Next.
4 Select the passthrough device to connect to the virtual machine from the drop-down list and click Next.
5 Click Finish."

Good Luck
Top Expert 2010

By the way, in the Hardware Advanced Configuration settings screen is where you mark a device as available for passthrough. That info is in the same document I posted above
this is the final solution we came up with in the ticket listed by reitzner above who was a huge help

This is also posted in http://www.experts-exchange.com/Software/VMWare/Q_26389860.html

This is the way that we finally fixed it after support got back to us from VMWARE (Only took 2 weeks)
Tape Drive support in ESXi 4.1 using adaptec 29320LPE Controller
In VCenter or VSphere client verify that the tape drive path under storage adapters shows a dead path to the tape drive and or changer

To fix the dead path issue
Enable local and remote support via the ESXi 4.1 console
Alt F1
Login as root
Run the following command
esxcli nmp satp addrule --satp VMW_SATP_LOCAL --driver="aic79xx" --description="Specific rule for Adaptec Card"
Reboot the ESX server
login to vcenter or vsphere client and you should now see your SCSI tape drives

If you are using a tape changer
In the Adaptec BIOS, you need to change the option to enable multiple LUN support for the SCSI ID of the changer in order for windows to recognize the tape drive and changer properly.  When you reboot and the adapter controller initializes instead of seeing 1 device, it should show 2 the tape drive and the changer.

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