Help install Qlogic FC controller on ESXi 5.0

Andrej Pirman
Andrej Pirman used Ask the Experts™
on
Hi experts,

I would need some help on installing one old FC controller on my ESXi 5.0 host. The controller is NOT exactly supported by hardware vendor (Fujitsu Primergy server), but guy who gave it to me, said it has been tested on the same hardware and it works.

Well, here I'd need some help - how to approach to install this controller?

It is:
Qlogic 64-bit 133-MHz PCI-X to 2Gb dual-channel Fibre Channel controller
On chip it says: ISP 2312
On sticker: P59270E RAT6 8X0

This is all info I have about it.

If anybody could give me some instructions on how to install (or at least try to install) this adapter on my Fujitsu Primergy (RX300) server, I would be very happy.
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Paul SolovyovskySenior IT Advisor
Top Expert 2008

Commented:
Typically you would install the adapter and then zone it on the Fibre Channel Switch.  You should be able to cross reference the WWNs in VMware with the FC switch to ensure that you're zoning the correct ports.
President
Top Expert 2010
Commented:
There are a heck of a lot of QLogic HBAs with OEM firmware .  I do not recognize that part number.  So what you should do is make a bootable USB stick and load Centos LINUX 64-bit server) on it.   Then boot a computer with that HBA and see if it is discovered and drivers load OK; and beat it up to make sure all is well.

This way you put nothing at risk and just blow away contents of a USB stick in the process.  If Centos linux (i know that has the drivers, don't know about ubuntu which is why I said Centos) ... then most likely VMWARE will have no issues either.

But even then if Centos works, go to the qlogic site and download their java software so you can see if you can update firmware & BIOS. This is vital.

Author

Commented:
Dlethe, your approach is excellent!

Just few questions to be on the safe side:

1.) What you say about existing RAID arrays, which are configured on THIS particular ESXi host on raid controller level? Is is safe to leave disks inserted and RAID alive during my play with Linux on USB?
Or should I pull them out for precaution?

2.) If I figure out the proper drivers and manage to update firmware on this Qlogic HBA, what then when installing on ESXi? Just plug it in and ESXi will recognise it?
...or must I reinstall ESXi?
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DavidPresident
Top Expert 2010

Commented:
No, it will automatically mount them ... but if you stay in the BIOS, at least, you can do the ALT-Q and scan for devices to see if at least the HBA sees them.  It is safe at the BIOS, but really if this is important data, I would take the time to yank everything out except for a hot spare.   It just isn't worth the risk.  

Granted this is a conservative way to try, relatively risk free but you know darned well that a proper HBA on the HCL list is the way to go.  This is more of a minimize risk, bit-by-bit technique.


Yes, ESXi *should* see them.

Author

Commented:
Great!

Will attack my production beast tomorrow and report back with results.

BTW, this ESXi host is configured like this:
- dual XEON
- hardware RAID controller, with...
- ...with 2 RAID arrays already in production, configured on LOCAL disks

Now I plan to add EXTERNAL storage with 12 disks, so I need the mentioned Qlogic HBA adapter to connect the storage.

Ok, let's wait for night to come and some plug and pray game :)
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE Fellow)VMware and Virtualization Consultant
Fellow 2018
Expert of the Year 2017
Commented:
Does this Qlogic HBA appear on the HCL for ESXi 5.0, because VMware removed many of them from ESXi 5.0, especially the : ISP 2312 series because they are old.

Check the VMware HCL (Hardware Compatability Lists) here

http://www.vmware.com/go/hcl

Insert it in the server, and check Storage Devices if it appears.

vSphere Storage Guide
http://pubs.vmware.com/vsphere-50/topic/com.vmware.ICbase/PDF/vsphere-esxi-vcenter-server-501-storage-guide.pdf

Author

Commented:
Thank you all for help.

First of all, I have updated all BIOS and FIRMWARE I could find, plugged Qlogic into server and with optical cable to HP storage. Works like a charm!

Ok, I have problems with configuring RAID array.
I have tried with all HP/Compaq tools, boot CDs I have found, but as my sotrage is HP and server Fujitsu with ESXi 5.0, there is no way to get it configure via any user-friendly GUI. Either software does not recognize storage controller, or it reports "sorry, this server vendor is not supported by HP Array Config Utility"

Then I have tried via COM serial cable, but cannot find any RELIABLE instructions on how to install "minicom" or some other software on ESXi 5.0 (found it for ESX v3, but this is obsolete).
Beyond the scope of this thread, but if anybody would have any suggestion on how to do it, I would appreciate it.

Then I tried to pass-through COM port to VM, but althrough my Intel CPU supports VT-x Virtualization technology, it does not support VT-d Virtualisation, which means I cannot pas-through any hardware to virtual machines.

Would do it with my notebook via COM port...if my notebook would have COM port :)

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