17 thoughts on “Upgrading to vSphere 5.0 with Dell EqualLogic

  1. Dave

    Thanks for the great notes. I started doing this and got lost in the correct process, so I have it set to Round Robin. Somehow I think I downloaded the wrong MEM package by mistake and ran into perl script issues. Was also confused as to which CLI I was supposed to use. PowerCLI, ESXCLI5, ESXCLI4.1? On an unrelated note I’m having a nightmarish experience with the vCSA which has prevented me from resolving the MEM issue. I installed it on a dedicated R610 running ESXi5 in early October. It ran like a top. I had about 40GB of free space at the time of install after the vCSA was installed, up and running. According to vCenter Client that should have been more than enough for logging, I only have 5 hosts and 33 VMs.

    At 00:00 1/1/12, the vCSA went down. I rebooted and it came back up for a while and then went down again. Call to techsupport brought the comment “not many people are using this…” Argh! I’m going on my second week of them trying to figure out what is up. The most obvious issue is that vCSA is generating a ton of logs and core dumps which have filled up the slices. Check in /store/core and /store/db with the df -h command. VMware tech support has tried to make some manual changes to embedded DB2 DB to no avail. I have uploaded two support bundles to them (each greater then 2GB). Will post what the resolution is once we find out what it is.

  2. patters Post author

    Unfortunately I’m back to the drawing board on this (see my edit at the top). Gonna have to revert back to software iSCSI and jumbo frames. Don’t you just love that – they marketed this stuff, there are white papers, you bought it, and now it’s “Oh, we don’t really recommend you use it like that. Not many people do…”

  3. Dave

    Found out that /storage/core on vCSA are core dumps and those core.vpxd-worker.xxxxx files can be rm’d but make sure that tech support doesn’t need them first.

  4. David

    After upgrading to the latest broadcom drivers, i was wondering how would you revert the drivers to the Vmware ones if needed?

    1. patters Post author

      Not sure. I guess you could make a note like I did of exactly which vibs were removed, then put them back on again one at a time, and remove the Broadcom ones, then reboot. I’d probably have to recommend software iSCSI and default VMware drivers, after the difficulties I had.

  5. Chris

    We are seeing exactly the same issue.
    Really not sure what to do now. Did you get a resolution to this issue?

    1. patters Post author

      Nope. Since Dell were telling me that not many people are using iSCSI offload on Broadcom, and since VMware always defer storage expertise to the storage vendor I went software iSCSI only. I just couldn’t afford to waste any more time on it. I really hate being an involuntary beta tester for expensive enterprise software that has been out for months. What’s doubly frustrating is that it worked fine on vSphere 4.1.

      1. patters Post author

        Dell have been able to replicate the issue in their lab (not sure how they ever missed it when testing vSphere 5.0!), and it’s being escalated by them to VMware and Broadcom.

  6. Arjen

    We had also the issues with resetting iSCSI connections and instable ESXi hosts with Broadcom NetXtreme II drivers and HBA functionality in the past… Finally we found that disabling all C-state and other powersaving functions on the Nehalem CPU is a part of the work-around.

    Also using software iSCSI instead of Hardware Offloading (and software iscsi supports Jumbo Frames, Broadcom with offloading not); was the other part of the solution…

    The issue was there a year ago on vSphere 4.1…

    We are using EqualLogic as San iSCSI vendor. We are using Dell M610 blades as ESXi hosts.

    Dell / EqualLogic support was not aware of this issue.

  7. Miguel Ramos

    Hi “patters”! First of all: thank you for the excellent content on this blog…

    Regarding the topic at hand, are there any developments with Equallogic? Have you (or someone) compared performance between software iSCSI + MEM vs ToE + vmware round-robin? Any ideas on this?

    Thank you in advance!

  8. patters Post author

    Dell have updated me that both installing the latest (not inbox) Broadcom drivers and updating to ESXi 5.0 U1 seems to have resolved the problem in their hands. Updating to U1 without also updating the drivers from current inbox versions still displayed the disconnect issue according to them. They are working with VMware to get validation of this as a solution and any further information on the overall root cause of the issue if available.

    Though I’m on 5.0U1 in production, I’ll leave things on the software initiator for now.

    1. Miguel Ramos

      “paters” thx for that feedback.

      I’ll surely be following that because I’m close to acquiring some new 10G broadcom cards that make use of the same driver and I’m wondering what the best config will be (ToE + MEM or software initiator + MEM…). I currently have 3×6000 series EQL+1×6100 hibrid that are all running on 1GB uplinks, which is fine up to the switches, but are currently overloading the uplink to the servers.

      1. patters Post author

        Further as yet unofficial feedback I have received is that Broadcom have recommended that each nic is placed on its own vSwitch – which is not the way the MEM setup wizard currently configures things.

  9. Matt

    I know this is quite old, but I’m wondering if there was ever any update from Dell on this. We are currently seeing this exact issue on 5.1 1021289 using MEM 1.1.2. So far dell has given us the same lousy answer – “offload not recommended, we suggest using sw iscsi”. Despite the setup.pl and the latest MEM documentation providing methods for configuring the offload.

    1. patters Post author

      I changed job, so unfortunately I wouldn’t know whether they ever closed the case in a satisfactory way. I had a technical escalation guy chasing it every month or so with Broadcom.


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