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How to install LSI MegaRAID Storage Manager (MSM) on VMware ESXi 5.5

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:

 

The process is pretty straight forward. In a nutshell, here are the steps we will take:

  1. Enable SSH on ESXi Host.
  2. Copy LSI SMIS Provider to ESXi Host via WinSCP.
  3. Configure Host and Install SMIS Provider.
  4. 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.

 

Click here to read the entire tutorial

How to install a nested hypervisor on an ESXi virtual machine without a vSphere server

If you read my blog, you’ve probably noticed I’ve been doing a lot of stuff with hypervisors lately, more specifically setting up OpenStack. I’ve always been a VMware guy. I like the simplicity of ESXi and the intuitiveness of of the interface. Since OpenStack really works best with at least 3 servers, 2 of which don’t do much of anything, I decided to use an ESXi server to install the openstack infrastructure. The controller node and network node do not provide any type of virtualization capabilities, but the compute node(s) do.

ESXi, at least since version 5.1, has supported running 64-bit hypervisor guests, or “nested” hypervisors on any Intel i3 or newer CPU. Specfically, your CPU needs to be one of the following:

  • Intel VT-x or AMD-V for 32-bit nested virtualization
  • Intel EPT or AMD RVI for 64-bit nested virtualizaiton

In my case, my Xeon W5580 has VT-x and EPT support, so I can run 64-bit nested virtual machines.

This will allow you to run any nested hypervisor within an ESXi 5.1 or newer host. I’ve ran Xen, KVM, OpenStack, Proxmox, and ESXi; they all worked great.

How To Enable

The feature, or setting, of the virtual machine that allows the VT-x functionality to be passed through to the guest virtual machine is called HV (as in hypervisor). The problem is you have to be running the new vSphere Web Client to get at the nice little check box to turn this on. The vSphere Desktop Client does not have this functionality and unless you have a license for vSphere server, there is no way to enable HV on a virtual machine using the GUI. However, there is a VERY easy work around for this. You simply add a single line to the .vmx file for the virtual machine you need HV enabled on.

To do this, fire up the vSphere Client, and make sure the host is selected in the left pane. Also, verify the VM is powered OFF.

Screen Shot 2015-04-27 at 5.55.35 PM

Click here to read the entire tutorial!

How To Install VMware tools on CentOS 6 and CentOS 7 / RHEL

This is a quick and dirty guide on installing VMware tools (vmtools) on a CentOS 6 or CentOS 7 virtual machine as well as RHEL (Red Hat Enterprise Linux).

First, you will need to install the VMware tools prerequisites:

[root@virtualmachine]$  yum install make gcc kernel-devel kernel-headers glibc-headers perl net-tools

Now you will need to mount the VMware Tools ISO¬†and select “Install/Upgrade VMware Tools” option on ESXi. This can be found a few different ways. I prefer to right click on the virtual machine, then go to guest and click on “Install/Upgrade VMware Tools.”

Screen-Shot-2015-04-22-at-10.28.25-AM

Click Here To Read The Entire Tutorial!