30 Jul 2008

ESX 3.5 on HP Proliant ML115 G5

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We know now that VMware ESX Server 3.5 works well with the HP Proliant ML110 G5. So, I thought I'd try running it on the HP Proliant ML115 G5. This however did not go as well a I thought it would.The integrated NIC in both the ML110 and ML115 is not supported, that I knew, so I installed an Intel Pro1000 GT NIC in the ML115. This card is supported so I was able to install VMware ESX 3.5 on the ML115 with no problems at all.

However, when the server booted up and started loading the VMKernel modules... that was where it all went horribly wrong. The server could not mount the root partition!!! Read on, because there is a fix to this problem.

So to start the journey to perfection of ESX on cheap boxes, I hopped onto the VMware Community wagon and found an interesting thread about this exact same problem on the exact same server. On the thread I found some scripts that guys wrote to enable support in the VMKernel for the SATA controller built into the ML115. Although the early version of script enabled the support needed, the ESX Server had lots of errors in its hostd.log and the server wasn't as stable as desired. However it was a start. I went on and found an updated and more "evolved" version of the shell script on the same thread. This version had very little resemblance to the original, as it almost seems like the VMware community, desperate to get ESX 3.5 to work properly on the ML115, started to code and enhance the little shell script, almost in true open source style. The original version was written by Reinhard Partman. Some changes in the latest version Pascal de Wild. I’m not too sure about who else was involved. However, it’s a good effort guys. Well done.

I’m not sure where the current version of the script is, but the version I downloaded did the trick. For all I know, this could actually still be the most updated version though.

So how do we get SATA to work on the HP Proliant ML115 G5? Ok, I’ll stop carrying on about where I found what and just give you the steps:


1.    Download the ml115g5-gosata.sh script. You can find the version I used here.
2.    Copy the script on to a USB device (USB key or external hard drive).
3.    If you would like to edit the script before executing it (for whatever reason), DO NOT EDIT THIS SCRIPT IN WINDOWS NOTEPAD AS IT WILL NOT EXECUTE IN LINUX AFTER THAT. Use a tool like Win32pad to edit the script.
4.    Boot the ESX Server into Troubleshooting mode.
5.    Transfer the file to your ESX host.
6.    Fix the permissions on the file to make it executable. (chmod +x ./ml115g5-gosata.sh)
Run the script. (./ml115g5-gosata.sh)

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Last modified on Friday, 07 November 2008 14:13
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