How to make ESXi 5.1 see the health of an LSI 9265-8i RAID controller and array (seems to work with all 92xx controllers)

These instructions are intended for those trying to find step-by-step instructions on how to get the 9265-8i hardware monitoring going under ESXi 5.1. Glad to have this published just 4 days of ESXi 5.1′s release. While the 92xx drivers are baked right in to your ESXi 5.1, determining the health of your BBU and RAID is not. That’s no way to operate your RAID, blind to its health. So with these instructions, that’ll likely work fine with any of the 92xx family of LSI RAID cards, you should be able to fix this, in roughly 15 minutes.

Know that getting the LSI 9265-8i recognized and supported under ESXi 5.0 was considerably more difficult, perhaps one reason that the previous article is one my site’s most popular ever, with over 18,000 unique pageviews and growing:

How to make ESXi 5.0 recognize an LSI 9265-8i RAID controller
TinkerTry.com/lsi92658iesxi5

Apparently a LOT of folks buy LSI for ESXi, seen here, and like the idea of hardware/software independent SSD caching of ESXi (see LSI interoperability report), a key reason I chose the 9265-8i RAID adapter back in the summer of 2011 for vZilla. The LSI 9266-8i is identical, same chips and drivers and specs/speeds, really just a new layout and nicer battery backup unit.

Sep. 17 2012 Update, the 9266-8i has been confirmed to work, by TinkerTry site visitor:

Peter • an hour ago

Hi,
This is also working with 5.1 and the LSI 9266-8i card.
regds
/Peter

LSI 9266-8i Amazon product view

LSI 9266-8i

LSI 9265-8i Amazon product view

LSI 9265-8i

Sep. 26 2012 Update, more success stories:
Dell PERC H700 works according to this commenter here.
Fujitsu MegaRAID DS2612 works according to this commenter here.

MegaRAID Windows GUI said to work in a VM here, by Alex, with additional info by Roman here. I’ll be testing MSM in a VM very soon, and will post a new article about it.

Oct. 08 2012 Update, more success stories:
IBM ServeRAID M5014 works according to this commenter here.

Read also that MegaRAID Winodws GUI can run in a VM, see my recent article ESXi 5.1 host with LSI 92xx RAID adapter can run a VM with fully functional MegaRAID Storage Manager UI.

I do not regret my choice of RAID controller, despite some self-induced bumpy spots (advice, stick with the SSDs on LSI interoperability report here). The logic of my RAID controller choice is documented at:
TinkerTry.com/goodraidcontrollerswithssdcachingandesxsupport, with a lot of specs on this LSI product line over here.

So let’s get started!

Part I:  How to make ESXi 5.1 “see” an LSI 9265-8i RAID controller:
Done!  As long as you’re already on ESXi 5.1, it’ll work right away, the driver is already in there, scsi-megaraid-sas 5.34-4vmw.510.0.0.7997332012-08-02,
so you may proceed to…

Part II:  How to make ESXi “see” the health info of an LSI 9265-8i RAID controller and array:

1)  Grab the zip file from LSI here:

lsi.com/support/Pages/Download-Results.aspx?keyword=9265
scroll to MANAGEMENT SOFTWARE AND TOOLS, and find the green arrow next to VMware SMIS Provider VIB – 5.3 Version 00.03.V0.03 to kick off the download, this should work for entire 92xx family, I tested on the LSI 9265-8i with ESXi 5.1:

or should the site change, this direct link should continue to work:
lsi.com/downloads/Public/RAID%20Controllers/RAID%20Controllers%20Common%20Files/00.03.V0.03_SMIS_VMware_Installer.zip

As of Sep 11, 2012, the site looks like this:

___________________________________

VMWare SMIS Provider VIB – 5.3
Description: SAS MegaRAID VMWare SMIS Provider VIB
Version: 00.03.V0.03
Size: 6.8M
Language: English

» Manage Subscriptions

VMWare 5.xJun 18, 2012

___________________________________

2)  Now unzip it
Now that you’ve obtained the file bundle, unzip the archive, and the only 2 files you actually really care about (unless you’re using VUM) is the actual bundle you’ll be transferring:
\00.03.V0.03_SMIS_VMware_Installer\LSI_SBMA_VMWare_00.03.V0.03\VMW-ESX-5.0.0-LSIProvider-500.04.V0.30-30000000\00.30.V0.03\vmware-esx-provider-lsiprovider.vib

and the instructions you may choose to skim-read:
\00.03.V0.03_SMIS_VMware_Installer\LSI_SBMA_VMWare_00.03.V0.03\VMW-ESX-5.0.0-LSIProvider-500.04.V0.30-30000000\00.30.V0.03\docs\Installation.txt

3)  Enable SSH on ESXi 5.1
(skip ahead if you’ve done this already)
It’s quite easy with the ESXi vSphere client, step-by-step found here.

4)  Move it
You can use vSphere Client Datastore Browser to do this, or something like freeware WinSCP and its easy GUI. Linux clients native scp will do nicely too.
If using WinSCP, just point it to your ESX host IP, then drag-and-drop:
vmware-esx-provider-lsiprovider.vib
into the ESXi 5.1 host’s /tmp directory

5)  Put ESXi into Maintenance Mode
Shutdown or suspend all your active VMs on that host, then right-click on ESXi host, and choose Enter Maintenance Mode” as recommended by LSI technical support.

6)  Install it
Then, at PuTTY (SSH for Windows) session on the ESXi 5.1 host, I do the following 2 commands (the no-sig-check is important, because you’ll get errors about signing if you don’t, it’s a 3rd party piece of software):

cd /usr/bin
esxcli software vib install -v /tmp/vmware-esx-provider-lsiprovider.vib --no-sig-check

And after nothing appears to happen for about a minute, then it’ll suddenly confirm it worked, telling you the LSI_bootbank_lsiprovider_500.04.V0.30-3000000 was installed:

7)  Reboot it
Go ahead and close the PuTTY session window and reboot now, using whatever your favorite method of a rebooting is.
Then log back in to the ESXi host using the vSphere Client, in this case logged into the ESXi host (no vCenter), and you’ll now “see” the health of the 9265-8i, over on the Configuration tab. Strangely, I can also now see the health of my MediaSonic external RAID5 array as well, nice!

Very similar view from vSphere Client logged into the vCenter host:

And finally, here’s the vSphere Web Client view:

Optionally, you can now set up triggers and alarms for RAID health events (detailed in video). Over time, I will continue to refine/clarify this article, incorporating your feedback in comments below. I also hope to get MSM (MegaRAID Storage Manager) working from within ESXi (supposedly possible, according to an LSI engineer at the VMworld 2012 booth).  *Oct 1 2012 Update:  Solved!  See TinkerTry.com/esxi-5-1-can-run-lsi-megaraid-in-a-vm 

The video below is really just a reference, in case you get tripped up somewhere following these screenshots. You’ll see me stumble along for a bit to get it eventually working, since some of the steps were not well-documented anywhere. But they are now!

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14 Pingbacks/Trackbacks

  • http://www.facebook.com/alebleicker Alex Bleicker

    Hey, what about using the L:SI storage manager software to manage the controller? I’m trying to use the manager inside a windows VM connecting to the LSI provider like you installed but so far no luck. Have you tried this?

    • nostradamus99

      Can’t you use the LSIUtil under ESXi to manage settings for the LSI card..?
      You can download the LSI util from here:
      http://www.virtualistic.nl/archives/526

    • Roman Shein

      Hi Alex

      Another Alex (probably from Russia) has finally resolved this long lasting problem. Here is the link http://alex-at.ru/it/lsi-vmware-esxi-1.
      The post is in Russian, but you probably can use Google to translate (usually it gives the translation which is ugly, but understandable).
      Here is the brief:
      The problem is due to esxi blocking of cim-provider multicast
      The guy has wrote a php-script, which translates on the fly mulicast to slp.
      The script is there. You just have to put esxi host IP into php file and start cmd.
      I confirm that the solution works for my PERC 6i and latest vmware & lsi software (esxi 5.1, MSM 12, 00.03.V0.03_SMIS).

  • http://www.facebook.com/alebleicker Alex Bleicker

    by the way I just managed to get the storage manager working inside a VM connecting to the LSI provider, worked fine :D

    • tinkererguy

      Nice, so glad you went ahead and gave it a try, and succeeded! This is great news (only a very few sporadic reports of MSM ever working under ESXi 5.0), glad to hear 5.1 with latest MSM 12.05 doing well in a VM. Was that a Windows 7 VM?

      Any special tips, or it just worked? Do you have true DNS on your home/lab LAN, or did you have to tweak hosts file? Any firewall changes needed on ESXi side?

      I understand you might not enjoy playing 20 questions, I’ll figure it out, and document it for everybody when I can, just haven’t had the time yet, time to go mow and clean ;-)

      • http://www.facebook.com/alebleicker Alex Bleicker

        I’m running the storage manager on a Windows 2008 R2 VM, ESXi 5.1. LSI call it a SMIS Provider, like the ones you install on a Dell server to provide ESXi access to the hardware health. I used the version 5.3 that is the latest one available. The only observation is that the vib file is not signed so you need to run the esxcli with –no-sign-check or something like this, forgot the exactly command now. After installing the MSM on the VM, you would just need to click on hosts on the right side and select the application to scan the whole network for devices. In a couple of minutes the ESXi host will be detected so just use the ESXi username and password. It can take a while to both detect the ESXI host and on the first login can take another good 5-10 minutes do display all the controller information.

        So far this was the only way that I have to add and remove cachecade volumes, as I’m testing this on a Dell R515 using a PERC H700, the dell open manage (software to manage hardware/raid under ESXi) doesn’t give me option to add or remove cachecade volumes. I’m testing cachecade 1.0 now and so far I’m not impressed. I’ve got 4x 600GB SAS 15K drives in raid 0, and a intel 330 SSD 128GB for cachecade. With the SSD the reads don’t improve a damn bit on crystal disk mark, on ATTO it get even worse. Reads with cachecade are around 200-250MB. I’ll run a few more tests now and get back to you later.

      • http://www.facebook.com/alebleicker Alex Bleicker

        Send me your questions, I’m glad to share what I know and we could help more people too.

  • Pingback: How to make ESXi 5.0 recognize an LSI 9265-8i RAID controller | Tinkertry

  • MP1

    Thanks for sharing, I’have been following your posts for a while now.

    Regarding SSD caching (which you mentionend in your post): I would advice caution. If you only use a single ssd and this single ssd ever fails (for whatever reason) you will loose ALL data on the cached data drives (even if only doing write-through caching). LSI’s reaction, when presented with this issue, was “The controllers are working as designed.[...]“. So for anyone considering using CacheCade in production environments please be aware of it’s alpha quality atm.

    Another addition to the health monitoring itself: Don’t use Intel 520 series SSDs – the SMIS provider crashes if you do and you won’t see any health info.

    @facebook-662894628:disqus: CacheCade limits your speed to the speed of the SSD cache, so don’t expect miracles from a single ssd. I got the best speeds here when using the SSD cache and the data VD in write-back mode, with cached-io, read-ahead and 64K strip size settings (at least on my 9266-4i). I also did overprovision the ssds from 180gb down to 128gb (just google for “ssd overprovisioning hdparm”) – in order to keep them from slowing down over time.

  • Peter

    Hi,

    This is also working with 5.1 and the LSI 9266-8i card.

    regds
    /Peter

    • tinkererguy

      Awesome news (which I’ve now shared), thank you so much for the feedback!

  • Aqualityplace

    I’m having the same problem with the intel 520′s lsi haven’t offered much help. I assume the problem is the same with esxi 5.1?

  • Jean

    Any reason this wouldn’t work on ESXi 5.0? LSI does list VMWare 5.x. I know you’re past that now, Paul, but maybe you know something about it or have heard from others? Or maybe someone tracking this has done it? I’m patched up to 5.0_update01 (Mar 15/12).

    Since I’m a “free license” ESXi user I can’t just use vcenter to upgrade to 5.1.I’d have to start over and redo all my config work (unless I’m just not aware of something). I don’t have the time right now to do that but would like to be able to add the ability to monitor the 9265-8i card in my vZilla replica if I can.

    Thanks for your posts.

    • tinkererguy

      I’ll be on the phone with LSI support soon, will add this to my long list of clarifications/questions I already sent their way.
      Thank you Jean!

  • http://www.facebook.com/litton.paul Litton Paul

    Worked on 5.1 with Fujitsu branded LsiMegaraid D2612
    Thanks
    /Litton

    • tinkererguy

      Great to hear that, thank you!

  • hgsosu

    Worked on 5.0 update 1, Dell R710 + PERC H700 integrated. Unknown chipset.

    • tinkererguy

      Ah, interesting, probably works on ServeRAID (IBM OEM’d) stuff too, will be interesting to see other success stories as well. Thank you!

      • frolic78

        yes it works here: IBM ServeRAID M5014

        • tinkererguy

          Excellent, thank you!

  • Jean

    I’ve had a chance to watch parts of the video and noticed in the parts I watched that you seem to need vcenter to make use of this LSI patch for VMware. Is that really the case? I have a free license so no vcenter. Any value in freeloaders like me (with a vZilla) installing this patch? maybe to run MSM in a VM? have you tried or heard from others that MSM works in a VM yet (other than the claims from LSI engineer)?
    Any info would be appreciated.

    • tinkererguy

      Hey Jean, welcome back!
      vCenter download and install is free (but yeah, still a timebomb, but you can try to request a longer than 60 day trial)
      download info here:
      http://www.tinkertry.com/esxi-5-1-download/

      install info here:
      http://www.tinkertry.com/free-vmware-vcenter-server-appliance-5-1-download-install-configure/

      Anyhow, no, I don’t see any reason why vcenter would be required to do the LSI patch. And you’re right, I probably should have just showed vSphere Client logged directly into ESXi, now that you mention it.

      Finally, as far as MSM, will be trying that myself very soon, and some new interesting/promsing comments below this article:
      http://www.tinkertry.com/lsi92xx-health-under-esxi-51/

      • Jean

        Thanks for the reply. Sorry, I didn’t mean needing vcenter to install it but rather needing vcenter to make use of it, i.e. to check the health of my controller. I don’t really want to have to re-install pieces of my system every 60 days and don’t have the budget to pay for a license and support I won’t get each year. I did email vmware to get a longer trial license and I never heard back.

        • tinkererguy

          Ah, my bad, logging in to ESXi directly with vSphere Client this time (instead of through vCenter) to check on Health, seeing if there’s any issue getting a read on LSI health that way. Sorry about that, will post addendum to original article with my results, since I strongly suspect you are not alone in your question (only 0.1% of visitors post comment).

          As far as licensing, just went through the process myself, and was told to use the normal http://my.vmware.com license request form (even though I work at a giant corporation, and direct email requests used to work). While we don’t know how you’ll fare with such a request, and I don’t know if enterprise size matters at all, but it might be worth trying anyway, since it doesn’t take long. Just a thought.

      • tinkererguy

        Article updated and screenshot added (showing health via vSphere client connected straight to ESXi 5.1, no vCenter required).

  • Roman Shein

    MegaCli allows for best functionality, but I personally hate old-school command line

  • tinkererguy

    Roman, THANK YOU!
    It works! I have a Windows 8 VM that can manage the ESXi host it’s running on, using MegaRAID UI, at last (thanks to you and Alex in Russia).
    Full write-up coming soon, and video uploading to YouTube now…

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  • Dresner

    Do we need to shut down VMs and put it into Maintenance Mode before installing?

    • tinkererguy

      For the firmware to take effect, I shut down VMs manually and rebooted ESXi. I never actually bothered using maintenance mode. (I didn’t touch the driver in the video below, since 5.1 already had it loaded)

  • Dresner

    With 5.1 and the latest firmware and vibs, I can now see the card in MSM, but trying to pull it up ends up going nowhere… I can login, but then I get a spinning gear for hours to no avail. So it looks like I have to wait for more updates before it works for me…or I have a wrong setting?

  • Gold-Cobra

    Hi, this worked on ESXi 5.1 and an ASUS PikeCard 2108. LSI 2108 chipset.

    • Stefan

      Have you updated you ESXi to 5.5 with the ASUS PIKE 2108 and all work correctly?

      • http://TinkerTry.com/about Paul Braren

        Stefan, I too am looking forward to Gold-Cobra’s response.

        FYI, I’ve added some ESXi 5.5 success with LSI info here:
        http://TinkerTry.com/lsi92xx-health-under-esxi-51/#comment-1361877827

        • Stefan

          Thanks Paul is there anyone of contacting Gold-Cobra directly to fine out?

          • http://TinkerTry.com/about Paul Braren

            I sent him a PM (private message to his email address), I’ll let you know if he replies (keep in mind his original post was 2 years ago). I try!

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  • hgsosu

    Worked on ESXi 5.1.0 build 779733, Dell 1955 blade + PERC 5/i (LSISAS1068 chipset).

    • http://tinkerty.com/ Paul Braren

      So good to hear that, thank you for sharing!

  • Daniel Bomya

    Please advise if getting error “Vibdownloaderror”, thank you so much.

  • nandozzi

    Hi,

    I have read all your articles related to “how to see an LSI controller from a VM into an ESXI Host”, but i have a strange problem.
    I have installed a Windows 7 VM on a ESXI 5.0 Host.

    I start MSM 12.08.03.03 and after a while i get my controller information.

    I have configured all alert to send an email (test email works perfectly), but if i physical remove any hard disk, there is no notification and the event log at the bottom of the program windows is completely clear.

    I can see the health status from ESXI Vsphere Client and i have installed the last VIB.

    I am using an IBM ServeRaid M5014.

    Thanks a lot for your precious support. :)

    • http://tinkerty.com/ Paul Braren

      Any chance you’ve given IBM support a try? I’m terribly sorry, but given I have a different (later) ESXi version, and a different RAID controller, I’m afraid I am unable to know what is going wrong with your notifications when your array becomes unhealthy.

    • http://tinkerty.com/ Paul Braren

      Were you using the October 2012 VIB? Perhaps the LSI one from here would work:
      http://www.lsi.com/support/Pages/Download-Results.aspx?keyword=9265

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  • jansson

    Hi! Great article!

    Have you tried the new verison “VMWare SMIS Provider VIB – 5.5″? (link: http://www.lsi.com/downloads/Public/MegaRAID%20Common%20Files/00_34_V0_01_SMIS_VMware_Installer.zip)

    I got “DependencyError” when I tried to install it. Anything you know about?

    Best Regards
    Jansson

  • Jansson

    Hi again!

    To answer my own question:
    If you get a “DependencyError” when trying to install the new SMIS vib, do the following:

    1) Set the host in mantainance mode

    2) esxcli software vib remove -n LSIProvider

    3) reboot

    4) esxcli software vib install -v /[datastore]/vmware-esx-provider-lsiprovider.vib –no-sig-check

    5) Done!

    /Jansson

    • http://tinkerty.com/ Paul Braren

      Excellent info Jansson, thank you so much for sharing.

  • http://tinkerty.com/ Paul Braren

    Yes, I have tried the 5.5 VIB, described over here:
    http://www.tinkertry.com/lsi-5-5/

    which surfaced a BBU monitoring issue, still working on that with LSI support.

  • BenCO

    Just tried it on my Whitebox ESXi 5.1 host running the PERC 6/I and it worked brilliantly. I have all the monitors I’m used to using/seeing on my enterprise-class stuff at work. Thank you!

    • http://tinkerty.com/ Paul Braren

      How cool is this. Thank you! So glad to hear it finally works on many OEM’d LSI adapters too, thanks for the feedback!

  • Pingback: How to make ESXi 5.1 see the health of an LSI 9265-8i RAID controller and array (seems to work with all 92xx controllers) | TinkerTry IT @ home

  • http://www.facebook.com/lars.b.jensen.399 Lars Borris Jensen

    Hi Paul, awesome job. I just wanted to let you know that the LSI 9240-i4 also works like a charm. Fantastic guide and easy walkthru. You saved my weekend :)

    • http://tinkerty.com/ Paul Braren

      I like saving folks time and aggravation, and it sure is nice to get such feedback. Thank you!
      And congratulations on being the very first on TinkerTry to actually use Disqus’s ability to use images, very helpful!

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  • http://TinkerTry.com/about Paul Braren

    My next VIB tests will be with whatever supports ESXi 5.5.

    I haven’t tested that MR 5.6 VIB you kindly screenshotted for us, but given LSI’s typically long list of fixes in their readme file, I’d say yes, it’s probably advisable to use the newer VIB bundle.

    Thanks for stopping by!

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  • John

    Thanks! I just wanted to say this also works for the Dell Perc H310 card in esxi 5.5.

    • http://TinkerTry.com/about Paul Braren

      Cool, sharing your success helps everybody else too. Thank you! Been having better luck on ESXi 5.5 lately too, once I use FQDN. Have a good weekend!

  • http://TinkerTry.com/about Paul Braren

    This is all kind of incredible, what a list, what a lot of great information that is in here! I’m so sorry this has languished in my Disqus potential Spam filter for weeks (just noticed it minutes ago), what a masterpiece!

    Thank you so much for sharing, and now the world can also see the fruits of your many labors.

    I spotted many familiar parts in that list!

    PS: I did notice $1050 listed the 2TB drive WD2003FZEX (likely an extra zero I’m assuming, about $150 http://amzn.to/QJy9nP).

    This is so kind of you to type all this up for us!

    • Pat

      Nope, all seven were a total of $1050.00. Yep, 7 of those puppies….
      I have to start over installing ESXi 5.5 For some reason (probably trying to upgrade) I lost most of the ports I had attained by using the 5.0 drivers. I suppose their are so many different scenarios for setting up your box. I would like to have mine much like yours, with backing up my PC’s and such. I have so many decisions as to what server to use to store my backups. You have a lot of videos where you show using different versions of Server 2012. Which one do you like the best for backups?

      Thanks again, Paul….

  • Curtis McHale

    Fantastic stuff. Can now see the heath of my LSI 9265-8i.
    Thanks, Paul!