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Nested ESXi with EVC Merom

Posted on 2013-05-10
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Last Modified: 2013-05-13
I have been racking my head the last few days trying to create a nested ESXi host running on Hardware level 9 and 5.1. My base cluster is running EVC for Merom. I can setup a nested ESXi with 5 and 5.1 as long as I leave my hardware level at 8. If I try using 9 and check off the box to pass hardware onto my VM, starting the VM gives me the following message:

To resolve CPU incompatibilities, use a cluster with Enhanced vMotion Compatibility (EVC) enabled. See KB article 1003212.
Virtualized Hardware Virtualization support is unavailable. This may be because Intel VT-x/AMD-V is disabled in the BIOS.

When running through Hardware Level 8 I don't get this message and my nested environments work as long as I have the following in the VMX file:

monitor.virtual_exec = "hardware"
vhv.enable = "true"
vhv.allow = "true"
cpuid.1.ecx = "00000000000000001010001000111001"
guestOS = "rhel6-64"
monitor.virtual_mmu = "hardware"
monitor_control.restrict_backdoor = "true"

Upgrading a working 5.1 environment fro HW 8 to 9 results in it breaking. Does anyone have any ideas? I have consulted all the known resources on the web.
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Question by:tandersen_ODS
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2) earned 333 total points
ID: 39155679
Nested ESXi is not supported officially.

So anything can happen, and it's probably a bug!

v9 VMs were suppose to make Nested ESXi easier (but unsupported!), but in my experience, the old ways are better, and use v8 and VMX mods!

ESXi 5.1 is a different beast to ESXi 5.0. So what worked with ESXi 5.0, may not work with ESXi 5.1, because the Intel-VT checking is more "severe".
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Author Comment

by:tandersen_ODS
ID: 39155690
I realize it is not officially supported! That is why I am going through this forum versus contacting VMWare!
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by:Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2) earned 333 total points
ID: 39155697
I would leave at v8.
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Assisted Solution

by:vmwarun - Arun
vmwarun - Arun earned 167 total points
ID: 39157415
Check this blog post where the author is able to run nested ESXi with HW v9.
http://tsmith.co/2012/vsphere-5-1-lab-nested-esxi-5-1/
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Author Comment

by:tandersen_ODS
ID: 39161151
Upon digging further, I discovered that one of the machines in my cluster does not support NestedHV. Because of that HW v9 will not work properly with nested ESXi 5.1 environments. I will have to stick to HW v8 for now!
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