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Dec 14

Problem 12GB SAS Adapter driver on ESXi 6.0

This week, I moved the infrastructure of one of my customers in Paris. Basically, we stopped all the equipment to move them in a new building. When I tried to restart the environment composed of Dell R530 servers and Dell Compellent SCv 2020 SAN storage, the VMware ESXi hypervisors didn’t mount the datastores. No error message appeared and the rescan of storage adapters and datastores since the “Configuration” tab of node didn’t work. For information, the servers are connected to the Compellent storage with 12 Gbps SAS HBA cables. I checked the physical links and everything was alright. The links were up. So, I tried to remove the cluster configuration (servers) of the SAN configuration via “Storage Manager” console and I recreate the servers inside. When I did this operation with the correct HBAs and LUNs ID, the datastores have been mounted directly in ESXi hypervisors… Strange! 🙂

First time, I thought the problem was the Dell Compellent storage but I remembered a similar thing with the 12 Gbps SAS cards. I posted an article sometime ago about the case here. The LSI 12Gb SAS card in the server (Dell R530, R630, R730 or others) was unknown by the server. So, I decided to follow this way!

I have not found the solution on Internet so I will explain you below my point of view. 😉

The VMware ESXi 6.0 operating system with the HBA that the server uses to send IO requests to the storage center and for mapping volumes.



My action plan:

  • Upgrading firmwares speccialy 12Gb SAS Adapter of each Dell R530 server,
  • Upgrading VMware ESXi 6.0 build of each Dell R530 node.


Note: There is a VMware KB that describes Input/Output (I/O) driver support with VMware ESXi 6.0 and related implications for vSphere 6.0 only features.

The following table lists serial attached SCSI (SAS) HBAs that have been tested with the SC and SCv Series of array products:


Dell support indicates in the table the adapter firmware version for Dell adapter model (12Gb SAS) with VMware ESXi 6.0 is 09.17.20.17. It was the version installed on each server however I met this problem.


Resolution:

I generated a bundle of firmwares Windows x64 with the “Dell Repository Manager” tool. I realized the upgrade via the LifeCycle Controller (Dell) with USB key.

The new version is now 13.17.03.00:


Then, I realize the VMware ESXI 6.0 updates. The initial build was ESXi 6.0 Update 1B Build 3380124 A42 (Dell). There are some bugs in this build. The new version is now ESXi 6.0 Build 4192238 Update 2 A03 Dell.

This method solved the problem! If the compatibility matrix of Dell is correct (table above), I think then the problem was the version of driver in the ESXi build.

For information about Dell Compellent SCv 2000 and 2020, see the “Dell Storage Center – Deployment Guide” .

Hope this post will help you! 🙂


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