This morning I got an email from the datacenter that informed me of a loud alarm coming from one of my servers. I knew right away it was the LSI card sounding off due to a hard drive failure. Since I almost always use RAID 10 in critical arrays, I was more annoyed than concerned. So, off to the datacenter I went, new drive in hand. While diagnosing the issues, I realized there is no out-of-the-box way to be notified of a drive failure within ESXi. As far as I could tell, everything was fine, except for an audible alarm I would have never heard.
The RAID card in this particular server is an LSI 9260-8i, however this guide is the same for all of the 92xx series cards, like the 9265-8i, or 9265-16i. VMware includes drivers for these cards, starting in ESXi 5.1 if I remember correctly. However, there is no health data for drives and no management interface for arrays. After a couple google searches, I quickly found that there is a lot of conflicting information and tons of problems that go along with installing the LSI MegaRAID Manager, MSM, on ESXi. I also ran into some problems. So, I thought I would put together a quick, easy, clear guide to save others the hassle of going through what I went through. So, here we go.
How to install MSM on ESXi 5.5
To complete this process, you will have to put your ESXi host into maintenance mode, and you will have to reboot. So make sure your VMs are all shut down before proceeding.
You will need to have the following items:
- Latest SMIS Provider from LSI (it’s under Management Software and Tools
- Latest MegaRAID Storage Manager (MSM)(Also under Management Software and Tools)
- An SCP client – WinSCP for Windows or Cyberduck for OSX
- An SSH client – Putty for Windows, or terminal for OSX
- Windows 7/8 or Server 2008/2012 Virtual Machine on ESXi host (to install and use MSM)
The process is pretty straight forward. In a nutshell, here are the steps we will take:
- Enable SSH on ESXi Host.
- Copy LSI SMIS Provider to ESXi Host via WinSCP.
- Configure Host and Install SMIS Provider.
- Install MegaRAID Storage Manager on VM
Log into your host using the vSphere client, or the web interface, then go to the configuration tab and select Security Profile.
Now, select Services Properties and find SSH.
After selecting SSH, click Options and start the SSH service.
Now go to Firewall Properties and make sure the SSH Server box is checked. This opens up port 22 on the host’s firewall.
Under Services and Firewall, you will see Host Image Profile Acceptance Level. Edit this and change it to Community Supported.
Now it’s time to enter Maintenance Mode. Click the Summary tab and at the very bottom you will see Enter Maintenance Mode.
Open up WinSCP (or cyberduck or other program of choice) and connect to the ESXi host. In case you don’t know, SCP is a way to transfer files over SSH. Navigate to the /tmp folder on the host and upload the file called vmware-esx-provider-lsiprovider.vib.
Go ahead and fire up putty, or open terminal and SSH into your ESXi host. If your’re using terminal, or command line, you would do the following:
# ssh [email protected] (change 18.104.22.168 to the IP of your ESXi host)
If you’re using putty, its pretty straight forward. Once you have connected to your host via SSH, do the following:
# cd /usr/bin # esxcli software vib install -v /tmp/vmware-esx-provider-lsiprovider.vib `--`no-sig-check
It will take a minute or two, and eventually it will install. If you get any errors make sure you changed the Host Image Profile Acceptance Level as done earlier, and make sure you included the ‘–‘no-sig-check at the end of the command. Also, make sure you are in Maintenance Mode. Once finished, you can close your SSH window and reboot the server.
Once rebooted, if you open the vSphere client and go to Configuration > Health Status, you should now see a Storage category with your physical drives and arrays listed.
On your Windows virtual machine, we need to edit the hosts file. Right click on Notepad and select “Run as Administrator.” Click File > Open, and navigate to your hosts file, which can be found at c:\windows\system32\drivers\etc\. You will need to select “all file types” to be able to see it. Add the IP address for both the hostname and the FQDN of your ESXi host.
Now you can install the MegaRAID Storage Manager on your Windows virtual machine. It needs to be on the same local network as your hosts management ip address. After you have installed MSM, open it and click “Configure Host.” Then, select the checkbox that says “Display all the ESXi-CIMOM servers in the network of local server.” Save Settings.
Enter the IP address of your ESXi host into the IP Address field in MSM, and click Discover Host. It should eventually show up below in Remote Servers, where you can click Login, and login using your ESXi host credentials.
Once you login, you are good to go. It will take a few seconds, after clicking login, before MSM opens. Don’t be alarmed, the lag is normal.
If you are unable to discover you ESXi host in LSI MSM, the most likely culprit is the firewall on either the Windows VM or the ESXi host. Disable any firewall you’re running on your Windows VM, and disable the firewall on the ESXi server by running this command from the SSH prompt:
# esxcli network firewall set --enabled false
If you want to turn the firewall back on, just run this command:
esxcli network firewall set --enabled true
That’s it. Its a fairly painless process, if you have the right information and steps at hand. Comment below if you have issues and I’ll do what I can to help.
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