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VMware ESX 4.0 Failed to load VMKernel - incorrect "root=" boot option

Posted on 2012-04-06
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Last Modified: 2016-11-23
I'm attemting to install VMware 4.0 on a Dell PowerEdge T110 II, but I'm having some trouble getting started.  I get the error:
Failed to load VMKernel
/bin/sh: can't access tty: job control turned off
/#

I've Googled around and came across quite a few issues relating to the above error, but none of which seem to fix my problem.  I've tried running the command at the VMware Infrastructure menu esxcfg-boot -b
Once I run this I checked the logs and it states:
VFS: Cannot open root device "<NULL>" or unknown-block(104,2)
Please append a correct "root=" boot option
Kernel panic - not syncing: VFS: Unable to mount root fs on unknown-block(104,2)

 
So I know the problem has to do with creating a proper mount on the disk, but I can't really do much after the above two errors.  The server is locked up and I can't type anything.  At the first prompt, I can't type I can only hard power down and start over.
What am I missing here?  How do I create this so called mount?  From my understanding, the esxcfg-boot -b should do that for me, or reset it.
 
Cheers,
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Question by:sheld0r
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Accepted Solution

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Anuroopsundd earned 168 total points
ID: 37818435
known issue with Dell PowerEdge T110 II
Try http://vm-help.com to see if there are work arounds.
Installing to a USB stick is a good start (a supported install option). It is much easier to modify a system to work with unsupported hardware with a USB install.

please have a look at
http://communities.vmware.com/message/1418608
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Author Comment

by:sheld0r
ID: 37818444
I actually got ESXi to install, but I wanted to run ESX.  In your opinion, will I lose out on much?  I read that it offers some kind of 64-bit management interface.  I really thought the Dell T110 II would be a slam dunk, especially since Dell overs to sell it with the server.  That's my mistake for not making sure.  Argh!
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Expert Comment

by:Anuroopsundd
ID: 37818448
you just have option for Installing to a USB stick or external usb drive. due to the h/w limitation.
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Author Comment

by:sheld0r
ID: 37818464
So all in all I'm okay.  I'm not really losing anything.
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Expert Comment

by:IanTh
ID: 37818776
yes the problem is with esx your server doesn't know about the hard disk controller but if your dont have a storage solution where will your vm's live also york in vmware you could change the hba to one that does work
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Assisted Solution

by:Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2) earned 332 total points
ID: 37818777
ESXi 4.x or 5.0 is the new ESX. As for hosting VMs, no difference. ESXi will work just as well as ESX.

see here for comparison

http://www.vmware.com/products/vsphere/esxi-and-esx/compare.html

I would recommend installing ESXi on a USB or SD card.

Here is the VMware KB on installing 4.1 on USB/SD:
http://kb.vmware.com/kb/1020655

Here is the VMware KB on installing 5.0 on USB/SD:
http://kb.vmware.com/kb/2004784
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Author Comment

by:sheld0r
ID: 37824418
A user from the VMware forums stated that the Dell Poweredge T110 II isn't compatible with VMware ESX 4.1 and 5.0  I believe it has something to do with the SATA controller.  

I'm wondering if I try installed ESX from a USB if this will work.  Because the above error is from an installation from a CD.
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Author Comment

by:sheld0r
ID: 37824432
@ IanTh

When you say "change the hba to one that does work" what else would work?  I don't think I have that many options.  Can you please elaborate on this statement?
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LVL 119
ID: 37824444
check the Hardware Compatibility List

http://www.vmware.com/resources/compatibility/search.php

Dell Poweredge T110 is listed against ESX 4.1, ESXi 4.1 and ESXi 5.0.

but a supported Storage Controller is always required.
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Author Comment

by:sheld0r
ID: 37824650
I'm running the Dell Poweredge T110 II which is newer version 2 server. I don't see it on the list. :(  Bummer!
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Assisted Solution

by:Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2) earned 332 total points
ID: 37824828
ah, thats the answer, Dell have obviously changed removed the supported storage controller.

Dell Perc, LSI, Smart Array controller will fix the storage issue.
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Simplifying Server Workload Migrations

This use case outlines the migration challenges that organizations face and how the Acronis AnyData Engine supports physical-to-physical (P2P), physical-to-virtual (P2V), virtual to physical (V2P), and cross-virtual (V2V) migration scenarios to address these challenges.

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