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WMware ESXi 4.0 Passthrough not working

Posted on 2013-05-27
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Last Modified: 2013-06-10
I have a WMware ESXi 4.0 running with 3 WM (windows servers). Yesterday I rebooted all 3 WM and since then passthrough is no longer working.

I have 2 USB drives for backups and it all was working fine before rebooting the the WMs. I did not reboot the ESXi host.

Now under Configuration > Advanced Settings I see "Host does not support passthrough configuration". And Configure Passthrough is grayed out

Any ideas why?
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Question by:Gerhardpet
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Expert Comment

by:Subhashish Laha
ID: 39199092
You should do below steps:

Add USB controller on VM.
Add USB device.
Connect USB device on VM.


Have you checked USB Devices Supported for Passthrough from an ESX/ESXi Host to a Virtual Machine
http://kb.vmware.com/selfservice/microsites/search.do?language=en_US&cmd=displayKC&externalId=1021345
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by:Gerhardpet
ID: 39199120
You should do below steps:

Add USB controller on VM.
Add USB device.
Connect USB device on VM.

I can't do the steps above. When in settings for VM i see "USB Controller (unavailable)"

My question is not how to add the USB drive. It does not work.

My questing is about why passthrough is no longer working. Please read my original questions again. Thanks for trying to help!
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Expert Comment

by:Subhashish Laha
ID: 39199242
Have you tried to disconnect and reconnect USB devices on ESXi host?
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Author Comment

by:Gerhardpet
ID: 39199246
Have you tried to disconnect and reconnect USB devices on ESXi host?
Yes I have
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Expert Comment

by:EddyvanOpdorp
ID: 39199446
You can check the bios for one of these settings. All must settings must enable:
Directed I/O / VT-d / Intel VT I/O / CPU Virtualistion

Is it posible to upgrade to version 5 ?
First i should check the bios settings of the server.

What kind of servers do you have ?
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Author Comment

by:Gerhardpet
ID: 39199503
The server is a Dell Pwer Edge R515

Not ready to upgrade yet. Passthrough working up until yesterday I never touch the server. Just rebooted from the OS

I will shut down the VM's and server after hours today and see what happens
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LVL 118
ID: 39199609
if you are using VM Direct Path I/O, have any BIOS changes been made, or firmware upgrades?
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Author Comment

by:Gerhardpet
ID: 39199625
Nope I have not upgraded the firmware or made any BIOS changes.
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LVL 118
ID: 39199669
Is your server verified by VMware for VM Direct Path I/O ?

Are you using VM Direct Path I/O, e.g. added a PCI device to each VM, or are you using USB Passthrough?

the functions are very different?

e.g. see my EE Article

HOW TO: Add and Connect a USB Device to a Virtual Machine, hosted on VMware vSphere Hypervisor ESX 4.1 ESXi 4.1, ESXi 5.0
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Gerhardpet earned 0 total points
ID: 39200024
Ok I found out that I was not using USB Passthrough.

I shutdown the WM's and then rebooted the ESXi host and after restarting the WM's my USB drives are detecting again. Passthrough is still grayed out so it could not have been enabled before. I setup the ESXi almost 3 years ago and have not spent much time on it since then so my knowledge is limited.

I don't know where to look to see what I'm using to connect the USB drives
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LVL 118
ID: 39200388
What you are describing in the question is VM Direct Path I/O. I think you *ARE* using USB Passthrough, in what you describe in your last post.

USB Passthrough can be hit and miss.
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Author Comment

by:Gerhardpet
ID: 39201075
If that is the case the host should support passthrough...correct?

Have a look at the attachment
passthrough.jpg
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LVL 118
ID: 39201115
At present your host does not support VM Direct Path IO.

which is the function of adding a PCI card in the host to a single VM.

Looking at the HCL, very few servers support VM Direct Path IO.

I did find a reference to release notes on Dell servers VMDirect Path
I/O behaves abnormally on AMD systems
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Author Closing Comment

by:Gerhardpet
ID: 39234096
Rebooting solved the problem. If anyone has objection to accepting my answer please let me know why and I will award points
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