Last night I was working during non-business hours patching and upgrading several ESXi hosts (HP Blades BL460 G7). Everything was going well, so I thought. However, upon having all patches and update packages installed I noticed that my storage was gone. A quick check on the configuration screen in vCenter revealed that the Emulex NC553i 10GB 2-Port Card was not existent anymore. Initially my thought was that it died on me, but checking a second host that I was patching, revealed the same problem. My thought process immediately switched to drivers for the resolution.
I took the card info and plugged it into Google to see if there was an easy way to confirm my suspicion. And sure enough, I ran into a couple of HP web pages and some other related websites. One website (Yuri de Jager’s blog) in particular looked very promising as the author talked about my specific NIC in combination with ESXi 4.1. He also listed links to the last 4 versions of the drivers for this card for ESXi. “Bingo” so I thought. I downloaded the driver that worked best for that dude. It comes as an ISO image and I was not sure what to do next. I never had to install drivers to my ESX/ESXi hosts before. I found several methods to do so. However, many of them did not work for me. As an example, my physical servers are roughly 1,000 miles away in a large data center. I cannot just walk over and pop-in a CDROM. I am new to where I work these days and so I had not had a chance to get console access established. This was also ESXi 4.1 with tech support not enabled. This ruled out several options and so I checked for a PowerCLI solution and/or to use VMWare Update Manager. I quickly found this PowerCLI code:
Install-VMHostPatch -VMHost myhostname -LocalPath c:\scripts\EMU-be2net-4.0.306.0-offline_bundle-473366.zip
Which seemed to work great, except for that PowerCLI complained that this driver was not a valid path archive. The correct order looks like this:
Install-VMHostPatch -VMHost myhostname -LocalPath c:\scripts\ EMU-be2net-4.0.306.0-offline_bundle-473366\metadata.zip
But even that did not do the trick. Apparently the blog entry I was using for guidance was only for ESX and not for ESXi. However, it only mentioned ESXi, not ESX. I did try all drivers that he had mentioned and none worked on ESXi. I also added the drivers as a patch into VMWare Update Manager and they only came back being for ESX. I started searching for a different driver set and then finally ran into the correct driver. Since I was suspecting that I have to do this more often I used Update Manager now to deploy the new driver. I created a baseline and assigned it to my ESXi host. A new scan switched the host to “Red” and I was then able to remediate the host with this custom package. One reboot later all my storage showed up again. Side note: Apparently the folks at either VMWare or Emulex don’t care too much about spelling errors. The driver publisher name is misspelled and when you search for “Emulex” during the baseline creation process, the darn driver will not show up. The reason is that it is not spelled “Emulex Corporation”, but “EmulexCorporation” but even then it does not show up. I had to search for the driver name to find it.
In the past I mainly worked with Dell hardware and never had any driver issues, but now I am working with HP Hardware and apparently the process is not as smooth with HP as it was with Dell. I have my baseline saved and so I am ready for more patching and upgrading of ESX and ESXi servers.