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Using Perc 5i with ESXi 5

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Perc 5i is a Dell’s rebranded LSI SAS1078 RAID on Chip (ROC). You can use LSI firmware on it, since it’s essentially the same card as MegaRAID SAS 8480E.

Installing MegaCli and LSI SIM adapter in ESXi 5

Go to http://www.lsi.com => “Support” => “Support Downloads by Product” and search for 8480E. On 8480E page search for “MegaCLI”. Download MegaCli package, copy the executable from VMware folder to your host’s persistent storage (use your local vmfs datastore; do not use the root partition – it uses tmpfs to minimize the writes to the flash media and the file will disappear after the reboot).

Get the firmware from the same page (search for “Firmware”). 7.0.1-0083 was current as of Dec. 08 2011. Extract mr1068fw.rom to your host’s persistent storage.

Search http://www.lsi.com for “SMIS Provider” and download “SAS MegaRAID VMWare SMIS Provider VIB (Certified) for ESXi 5.0”, extract the vib file to your host’s persistent storage.

Install the vib from SMIS Provider package:

# esxcli software vib install -v ./vmware-esx-provider-LSIProvider.vib

Try to run MegaCli:

# ./MegaCli -AdpAllInfo -aALL | more

If it complains about libstorelib.so missing, you need to copy it from ESX 4 host and place in the same directory as MegaCli. See http://http://communities.vmware.com/thread/330535 for details. Alternatively, you can get it here: http://db.tt/aEYFL6CQ.

Shut down all VMs on the host and flush the controller’s firmware:

# ./MegaCli -adpfwflash -f mr1068fw.rom -a0

Adapter 0: PERC 5/i Adapter
Vendor ID: 0x1028, Device ID: 0x0015

Package version on the controller: 7.0.1-0075
Package version of the image file: 7.0.1-0083
Download Completed.
Flashing image to adapter…
Adapter 0: Flash Completed.

Exit Code: 0x00

Reboot the host.

After the reboot, you should see the LSIProvider vib is installed:

# esxcli software vib list | grep -i lsi
LSIProvider 500.04.V0.24-261033 LSI VMwareAccepted 2011-11-30

From the 8480E product page, you can download the “MegaRAID Storage Manager” for your preferred OS to connect to the SIM adapter and manage the controller. The version I tried was “Windows – 4.6”, build 11.06.00-03 from Aug 11, 2011. It failed to discover the adapter.

I then tried the MSM from MegaRAID SAS 9285-8e page (Windows – 5.0 – 10M12, Version: 9.00-01 from Mar 11, 2011), and it was able to discover and connect to the controller. The Storage Management software is rather slow, buggy, and crash-prone on Windows 7, but I was able to create a logical drive and change the caching policies on the existing VDs.

MSM uses TCP port 5989, so be sure to allow that in your ESXi firewall (just enable CIM secure server).

If you have a problem discovering the ESXi host in MSM, watch http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=mEBwt6Q_diU#t=479s. You need to stop the local discovery, then go to “Configure Host” and select “Display all the systems in the network of local server”.


Written by vmsysadmin

December 9, 2011 at 9:58 pm

Posted in vSphere

21 Responses

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  1. Hello,

    Thanks for the guide, I managed to follow all of the steps and have the controller updated to the LSI firmware and have the VIB installed on the ESX host. The VIB is reporting the status for the storage controller.

    Unfortunately, I am unable to get the MegaRaid client to connect to the ESX host. The host is configured with a host name and has a PRT (reverse DNS) record populated in the DNS that the desktop clients are using. I have tried many flavours of the MegaRaid client including the (5.0 10M12) version from both Windows 7 x64 and Windows 2003 x32.

    I ran a network capture and found that the client was trying to connect to port 3071 on the ESX host so i disabled the ESX firewall to see if this made a difference. I found that the client would immediately throw the cannot connect error rather than waiting to time out.

    Do you (or anyone) have any suggestions on what I could try next to troubleshoot?

    The host is a ML110 G6 with a Perc 5i with 256mb BBU cache running ESXi 5 from a USB flash drive.

    Thanks All!


    December 23, 2011 at 11:45 pm

    • Hey Jay,

      I had the same problem with a few MSM versions I’ve tried – they all tried to connect on port 3071, while CIM secure server on ESXi side is expecting connections on TCP port 5989.

      The only version that worked for me and used port 5989 to connect to ESXi was the one from the MegaRAID SAS 9285-8e page. This video gave me the idea to try that version – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mEBwt6Q_diU.

      Hope this helps.


      December 24, 2011 at 1:39 am

  2. Thanks a lot for this guide. It was just what I was looking for.
    I Installed everything and updated the firmware but my ESXi 5.0 is not reporting any information from the controller. I can see the LSI software component, but no array status or anything.

    I have rebooted the ESX machine a few times and it has now been on for a few days with no changes.
    Any Ideas? I’ll get back if i make it work



    March 28, 2012 at 6:05 pm

    • I’m not sure what are you expecting to see. Can you expand on what is not working for you? Perhaps the “vCenter Hardware Status” plugin is not enabled?

      In my VI client, I can select the host, and I see Perc 5/i array controller when I switch to the “Hardware status” tab and expand “Storage”. The array reports fw version, attached drives, ports, and RAID status.


      March 28, 2012 at 8:59 pm

  3. Thank you for the detailed post! I picked up a Perc 5/i from eBay to try myself with my new ESXi 5U1 whitebox system.

    However, I’m getting an error when I try to create the VMFS5 datastore of 5.46TB:

    Call “HostDatastoreSystem.CreateVmfsDatastore” for object “ha-datastoresystem” on ESXi “” failed.
    Operation failed, diagnostics report: Unable to create Filesystem, please see VMkernel log for more details: No such device or address

    In the vmkernel.log file, I see this:

    2012-08-12T13:56:40.650Z cpu1:3249)Vol3: 647: Couldn’t read volume header from control: Invalid handle
    2012-08-12T13:56:40.650Z cpu1:3249)FSS: 4333: No FS driver claimed device ‘control’: Not supported
    2012-08-12T13:56:40.696Z cpu1:3249)VC: 1449: Device rescan time 18 msec (total number of devices 6)
    2012-08-12T13:56:40.696Z cpu1:3249)VC: 1452: Filesystem probe time 65 msec (devices probed 5 of 6)

    Any clues as to what’s going on? Do you think the card is bad? It creates the VD and formats fine but ESXi doesn’t seem to like it. Once it created and mounted but then unmounted with the same error.

    Thanks again!



    August 12, 2012 at 2:10 pm

    • I don’t recall seeing this error, but I’m on the older esxi 5 build, and my datastores are less than 1 TB. A few things to try:

      – disable VT-d in the motherboard’s BIOS, Perc 5i does not work well with this IO virtualization feature
      – use disks 2 TB or less, Perc 5i does not support disks > 2 TB
      – if you suspect that the card is bad, try booting Linux live CD and see if you can format the VD as ext3 fs

      Hope this helps!


      August 13, 2012 at 2:24 am

      • VT-d was the problem! My Google-Fu must be off this weekend. I didn’t see anything about VT-d not working with the PERC 5i. Must have been using too narrow of a search. Grrr…

        Anyway, all of my disks are 1.9TB, so it should be within specs now.

        One more question. Is there any reason I shouldn’t have one big datastore for my VMs? Or on the flip side, should I be creating multiple smaller VDs in the PERC?

        Thanks again for everything! You are a life saver! 🙂


        August 13, 2012 at 3:27 am

      • Glad to hear it’s working for you now! To answer your question on the datastore sizing – if you’re planning to play with the datastore clusters and SDRS, you may want to configure multiple datastores on your single large VD (I’m assuming you’re doing RAID 5). I don’t see a problem with a single large VD if you are aiming for speed, although you may want to consider leaving one disk out for the backup purposes. I don’t even have a RAID, just two disks as two R0 VDs, and use one as production, and other as backup. Even on a single SATA drive with Perc 5i my VMs are doing fine.

        If you’re planning to run virtualized ESXi VMs and your physical host is just hosting that and a VSA of some sort, then probably the single large datastore will be most flexible (no need to svmotion VMs around). Keep in mind though that it will not be possible to shrink the large datastore, but you can always expand a smaller one.


        August 13, 2012 at 5:51 pm

      • I’ve spent the last few days trying to diagnose a issue with disappearing datastores and the perc 5i in esxi 5.1 which ultimately lead me to ordering a new (very expensive) RAID card. As above, disabling VT-d has solved everything and saved me hundreds of pounds! Thank you!


        January 21, 2013 at 5:22 pm

  4. I have tried this and now my whitebox stalls at “Loading module megaraid_sas” on boot, I am using update 1.

    Any ideas?


    August 30, 2012 at 8:54 pm

    • Andy, if you hit alt-f12 on the console, you may get more info from the vmkernel log. My guess at this point is that VT-d is enabled. Can you double check this in your BIOS? I upgraded recently to esxi 5.0 u1a, and it works well for me.


      August 31, 2012 at 5:30 am

    • Were you able to fix hanging at “Loading module megaraid_sas”. My whitebox is now doing this after following the update instructions here…


      October 20, 2012 at 2:02 am

      • Hey John, check this out: http://kb.lsi.com/KnowledgebaseArticle16400.aspx. If you’re not planning to use VMDirectPath, you need to turn off VT-d in the BIOS. By default, VMware VMDirectPath does not work with MegaRAID controllers.


        October 20, 2012 at 2:13 am

      • Disconnected server from power and rebooted – didn’t hang this time… Going to do some more testing!


        October 20, 2012 at 2:22 am

  5. just to add to above, i flashed the card and all looked good:

    Adapter 0: PERC 5/i Integrated
    Vendor ID: 0x1028, Device ID: 0x0015

    Package version on the controller: 5.1.1-0040
    Package version of the image file: 7.0.1-0083
    Download Completed.
    Flashing image to adapter…
    Adapter 0: Flash Completed.
    Please reboot the system for the changes to take effect

    Exit Code: 0x00


    August 30, 2012 at 8:55 pm

  6. Hi, do you have to flash the card with LSI firmware to use the MSM tool when installed in an ESXi 5 host ? Will it work with just Dell firmware installed?


    September 9, 2012 at 10:35 am

  7. I just applied the VIB to my vSphere 5.1 system and it worked without a charm (I used a newer version of the VIB package)



    November 24, 2012 at 8:53 am

  8. Hi can someone give a a the MSM software that uses port 5989.. even version 8 i download is using 3071..
    need port 5989 with megaraid..help..thanks. I tru the one from 20011 version 9 mentioned and its using 3071 on my xp machine they must of patched it?.


    December 31, 2012 at 5:26 pm

  9. I used the VIB for the MegaCLI install. It gets put into /opt/lsi/

    Had to use the –no-sig option and -v file:///vmfs/volumes/… to get it the .vibs to install.


    July 25, 2013 at 2:01 am

  10. […] So the LSI MegaRAID SAS 1078 Controller is basically the same thing as the MegaRAID 8704ELP Model. Apparently the Dell Perc 5i does similar re-branding, more on that at Using Perc 5i with ESXi 5. […]

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