UDA 2.0 installation of ESXi 4.1 on HP blades with flash memory

deloitteioc
deloitteioc used Ask the Experts™
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Please can some one let me know if what I am trying to do is possible. I am trying to set up the Ultimate Deployment Appliance tool for the install of multiple ESXi 4.1 update 1 onto HP Blades 490 servers (with flash memory).

I have successfully been able to deploy the UDA server as per the following instructions on this website:

http://www.rayheffer.com/1369/vmware-esxi-4-1-kickstart-scripted-deployment-with-uda-pxe-boot/

The new hosts that are to built with ESXi 4.1 update 1 pick up this UDA as PXE point and starts to boot, starts to parse the installation kick start script, and then errors out with "autopart --firstdisk specified, but no suitable disk found". I can confirm the same build works fine on the older blades using hard disks.

I have confirmed the new hardware is on the HCL for vmware. I am not sure if there is a specific variable I need to use for flash memory, I have been over KB (page 35) but can not determine what would be used:

http://www.vmware.com/pdf/vsphere4/r41/vsp_41_esxi_i_vc_setup_guide.pdf

Alternatively if there are any other methods/scripts that some one already has for the deployment of ESXi 4.1 Update 1, that would be much appreciated.

Thanks
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE Fellow)VMware and Virtualization Consultant
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Commented:
What flash are you using?

and as a test, if its possible to install manually, is the flash recognised, when trying a manual installation.
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE Fellow)VMware and Virtualization Consultant
Fellow 2018
Expert of the Year 2017

Commented:
Are you using the HP OEM version?
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE Fellow)VMware and Virtualization Consultant
Fellow 2018
Expert of the Year 2017

Commented:
autopart --firstdisk installs on non-usb disks.

have you tried

autopart --firstdisk=local

or

autopart --firstdisk=<device driver name> as seen by kernel.
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE Fellow)VMware and Virtualization Consultant
Fellow 2018
Expert of the Year 2017

Commented:
You may want to check this article?

http://thinkcloud.nl/2011/02/21/kickstart-esxi-on-usb-sd-card-fail/

But I have an idea, if the SD cards or USB are removeable?
VMware and Virtualization Consultant
Fellow 2018
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Commented:
my idea is, install ESXi 4.1 or ESXi 4.1 U1 or HP OEM version of 4.1 U1 manually on one blade. Remove the SD card, copy the image and clone several times.

See my article here for copying an ESXi 4.1 U1 installation.

How to Backup an ESXi installation on an USB Flash Drive or SD card, for security or redundancy.
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE Fellow)VMware and Virtualization Consultant
Fellow 2018
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Commented:
Also if you read this

You cannot use Scripted Install to install ESXi Installable to a USB device or SD Card.

Source
http://kb.vmware.com/selfservice/microsites/search.do?language=en_US&cmd=displayKC&externalId=1022263

Author

Commented:
Thanks hanccocka for your ideas and recommendations. To answer some of the questions:

-I have tried autopart --firstdisk=local
-I have tried the HP image provided on Vmware site also.
-I came accross the above article for not being able to use scripted installs on ESXi and I think this might be the reason I am not able to deploy. Manual deployment works as you are able to select the flash memory for install, so this must be some thing in the scripted install script deifning only non flash memory to be picked up as first disk. I will try the driver command to see if this works.
-I belive the server is using an SD card and I think your article for copying the installs is excellent, I will attempt this and let you know how I get on.

Many thanks for your help!
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE Fellow)VMware and Virtualization Consultant
Fellow 2018
Expert of the Year 2017

Commented:
If you are using SD Cards, this is how we've deployed to blades, it takes about 3 mins per SD card, to write the installation, and we've found it's quicker than network deploys, and also handy for backups, if an SD card should fail.

So we just create a stock of SD installations. (or USB flash drives if applicable), take to ther datacentre plug them in and your done.

Author

Commented:
Very useful and a good recovery policy.

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