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VMware Passthrough - Device Removed on Reboot

Posted on 2013-01-15
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Last Modified: 2013-06-25
I have a vSphere 5.1.0 server. I'm trying to DirectPath a USB drive to a VM (I've tried this on multiple identical servers with the same results). I go to Configuration -> Advanced Settings -> Properties and check the box for both USB controllers ("Intel Corporation Patsburg USB2 Enhanced Host Controller."

After a few I refresh and they show up there but tell me I have to reboot the host for them to work. Upon rebooting the host they are no longer listed in that section, so they can't be added to a VM. I'm a little lost on what to do.
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Question by:DaveQuance
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LVL 118
ID: 38780607
Direct Path configuration is suggesting a reboot of the host?

We have never seen this issue with adding PCI devices as Direct Path devices. However we have seen many issues with adding USB controllers as Direct Path devices, but never a request to reboot.
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Author Comment

by:DaveQuance
ID: 38780625
After they are listed if I highlight them they say "This device needs host reboot to start running in passthrough mode"

If I go to a VM that is shutdown and edit settings (prior to a reboot) and try to add hardware it shows "PCI Device (unavailable)" and highlighted it says:

"This device cannot be added to this virtual machine because: There are no devices reserved for PCI passthrough on the host"

Then when I reboot they are no longer listed in the DirectPath I/O section anymore. And just to verify post the reboot I check and PCI Device is still unavailable.
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LVL 118

Accepted Solution

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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE) earned 350 total points
ID: 38780638
It seems the device is not compatible with VM Direct Path i/o, not all devices are compatible, although they appear on the PCI bus and can be added.

the usb controller is not in use?
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Author Comment

by:DaveQuance
ID: 38780733
It lists and doesn't give any complaints (see attached screenshot). One of the USB ports has a hard drive on it but it's not in use by the host. There were two lab servers I P2V'd that had USB controllers on them but nothing was added to the controllers (just removed them too and PCI device is still unavailable).

If it were incompatible would it still load in the first place? Is there a log file somewhere I could check to see if it's saying why it clears it on reboot?
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LVL 118
ID: 38780745
yes, many PCI devices can be added but do not work in VMs.

logs are in /var/log

vkernel.log
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Author Comment

by:DaveQuance
ID: 38780854
I looked through the log. I'm not that familiar with it but I think I pulled most related to the USB controllers. The only unsupported reference I found seems like it's just to adding the USB hard drive as storage. I attached the partial info, most was post the reboot I think and then after re-adding them in DirectPath I think that's when this part came up:

2013-01-15T22:16:00.289Z cpu9:9067)<6>usb passthrough enabled; all eligible devices will be unclaimed by kernel drivers
2013-01-15T22:16:00.289Z cpu0:8755)<6>usb-storage 2-1.2:1.0: unclaiming vmhba32
2013-01-15T22:16:00.289Z cpu24:8413)ScsiPath: 5046: DeletePath : adapter=vmhba32, channel=0, target=0, lun=1
2013-01-15T22:16:00.289Z cpu28:8412)ScsiPath: 5046: DeletePath : adapter=vmhba32, channel=0, target=0, lun=0
2013-01-15T22:16:00.289Z cpu20:8245)ScsiDevice: 6052: No Handlers registered!
2013-01-15T22:16:00.289Z cpu20:8245)ScsiDevice: 4086: Device state of mpx.vmhba32:C0:T0:L0 set to APD_START; token num:1

Is there a particular log entry that would indicate with certainty if it's supported or not?
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LVL 118
ID: 38780874
Im afraid not, its trial and error with most PCI devices.
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Author Comment

by:DaveQuance
ID: 38780890
Should I only see the two controllers or should I see more underneath them too like in the screenshot on this link: http://www.vm-help.com/esx40i/VMDirectPath/USB_Setup.php

My guess is that if I'm supposed to see options below the controller for the ports themselves, then you're right and I can't passthrough them.
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LVL 118
ID: 38780921
all servers are different as to what is available.
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Author Comment

by:DaveQuance
ID: 38808924
I tried the same thing using an ICH10 USB controller (virtualized an old physical server, DL360 G7) and had the same problem. Since I found people with ICH9 on DL360 G6s working I looked into it again.

There have been a notable number of references to passthrough problems for USB in vSphere 5.1.0. "the onboard USB passthrough (and as i read from other topics), also the extention cards with usb, is not working correctly in ESXi 5.1."

A few describing it exactly as I was seeing it, it's marked, reboot required, rebooted, then no longer marked. The problem may extend beyond USB but it seems some had 5.0U1 with a passthrough setup that no longer works in 5.1.

http://communities.vmware.com/thread/417736

I had to make 2 of my hosts 5.1 for the removal of the memory limitations in the essentials package. I didn't *have* to upgrade the other ones though, I wasn't using USB passthrough when they were 5.0U1 though. At this point I'm kind of regretting upgrading some of them.
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Author Comment

by:DaveQuance
ID: 38969431
This ended up being a bug that started in 5.1. The fix was released on 3/7/2013 and the functionality is back.
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Expert Comment

by:StarrateIT
ID: 39273777
Hi Dave,

Did you get this working again, we have not been able to even after updating our VMware to latest.

Which version works after 5.1?
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Author Comment

by:DaveQuance
ID: 39274661
I'm currently on 5.1.0-20121004001.

I did read somewhere post my update that after a reboot people were still losing the setting and having to re-apply it (but after the first time setting it and rebooting a reboot wasn't required to turn it back on). I have not tested this though.
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