3ware 9650se and ESXi 4.0

Of course the first thing that I did tonight after receiving my 3ware 9650se was to install it in my ESXi 4.0 server and get it going. There are a few caveats that I expected and a few that I didn’t. Hopefully this post will help a few of you out there.

Here are the steps that I performed:
1. Physically installed card and drives.
2. Built the logical unit / volume on the card.
3. Booted ESXi and noticed the card / array not showing up.

I expected #3 from my pre-sales madness research, yeah I’m that bad about pre-sales. There is a driver for ESX 4 that enables the hypervisor to be installed onto the array. For the rest of us with ESXi 4.0 however, the array can only be used as a datastore. This isn’t an issue anyways since the critical files are on the array not the single disk or USB device that we install the ESXi OS onto.

This led me to 3ware’s support site to find the exact article regarding this. You can find the article titled “I need support for VMware ESX/ESXi 4.0 and ESX/ESXi 4.0 update 1 for 9650SE and 9690SA. Is a certified driver available?” here. Basically, the top half of the document applies to ESX while the lower portion is dedicated to ESXi.

First off, the fact that 3ware has this and other great articles is excellent, they seem like the “get it”. On the other hand I found something difficult to do, and not for technical reasons. They instruct you to find the file “offline-bundle.zip” on the included driver CD. I searched all over the provided driver CD and had no luck locating it; I couldn’t help but think that there ought to have been a download link as well***. After locating the file I proceeded down the list of the well written how-to. Unfortunately for me, after running the perl vihostupdate.pl -server x.x.x.x -username root -password "" -b c:\offline-bundle.zip -i command I received zero feedback from the CLI. I restarted the ESXi server per the documents recommendations and upon reboot, no RAID array. Hrmm, I didn’t get any errors or feedback. After shorting the name of the original file to offline-bundle.zip and re-running the command, I did get positive feedback in the form of this message: The update completed successfully, but the system needs to be rebooted for the changes to be effective. Delicious! Now were are working the way we ought to. Restart the ESXi server and enjoy.

*** – Clarification and special note: At the bottom of the page you will see a download link for a file named: vmware-esx-drivers-scsi-3w-9xxx_400. This ISO image contains the offline-bundle folder. The file that you need for the upgrade/upload is named: AMCC_2.26.08.035vm40-offline_bundle-179560.zip. The process would not succeed until I renamed AMCC_2.26.08.035vm40-offline_bundle-179560.zip to offline-bundle.zip.

Happy virtualizing!


20 thoughts on “3ware 9650se and ESXi 4.0

  1. Hi,

    I did everything the way it has been published but was not successful.
    I recieve the message: “install operation failed metadata or bundle must be specified”

    Any suggestions?

    Greets Dirk

  2. Have you gotten this working? I keep running into an issue where I can not format the disk.

  3. Hey Mark, I haven’t had any issues whatsoever. You are running ESXi on a separate device and trying to use the 3ware for the datastore correct?

  4. Hey Dirk, I know that we went back and forth on email regarding this issue…Did you have any luck trying this on a straight SATA drive? I am loading ESXi 4.0 on a USB drive now to test. Isn’t this the route that you were trying to take?

  5. Thanks Himuraken,

    Great info! Although I did need to modify the command a little bit it got my in the right direction. Maybe it’s because I use ESXi 4.0 update 1 with the 9650SE-2LP

    The commands I used were:

    C:\Program Files\VMware\VMware vSphere CLI\bin>vihostupdate.pl –server
    64 –scan –bundle offline-bundle.zip
    Enter username: root
    Enter password:
    The bulletins which apply to but are not yet installed on this ESX host are list

    ———Bulletin ID——— —————-Summary—————–
    AMCC_2.26.08.035vm40 3w-9xxx: scsi driver for VMware ESX

    C:\Program Files\VMware\VMware vSphere CLI\bin>vihostupdate.pl –server
    64 –install –bundle offline-bundle.zip –bulletin AMCC_2.26.08.035vm40
    Enter username: root
    Enter password:

    The update completed successfully, but the system needs to be rebooted for the c
    hanges to be effective.

    C:\Program Files\VMware\VMware vSphere CLI\bin>


  6. Thanks for the info. I do have a question though, have you been able to see the health of the RAID array in the Health Status section of the vSphere client? I’ve been looking for an easy way to check if one of the drives is failing and maybe you can help me with this one aswell.


  7. Good question Bob, unfortunately I don’t have good news for you at this point. I am not sure how that is provided/presented to ESX(i) but I believe that to be done through the driver. Apparently the driver does not provide that level of insight as to the condition or status of the logical or physical units. This is quite common in “unsupported” RAID cards with ESXi.

    Thanks for checking out our blog.

  8. I had used this successfully with an ESXi 4.0 server previously. Sadly, I had to rebuild the OS drive today and this does not seem to work with 4.1.

    My server scans the bundle, but doesn’t see any Bulletins to install. Has anyone gotten this working with 4.1 ?

  9. @Justin
    I was able to get the bundle to install on ESXi 4.1, however, my 9690 isn’t showing up as an available controller. I’ve just opened a case with LSI and we’ll see what happens.

  10. Well, looks like we’re in uncharted waters on ESXi 4.1. LSI is “swamped with 4.1 support requests” and their engineering department hasn’t passed along installation instructions to the tier 3 support yet. They put this “certified driver” out but it doesn’t seem to work:


    I’ve asked to work directly with their engineering dept to see if we can figure this out. I’m running the latest (beta) firmware on my 9690 card and using the driver from the above link… I’ll post back if/once this is resolved.

  11. The issue appears to be resolved. LSI originally linked to a file called VMware_certified_ESX_and_ESXi_4.1_driver_9650_9690.zip which contained the driver, LSI_3.26.08.001vm40-offline_bundle-265875.zip. If you follow the link I posted above, it downloads the file VMware_ESX_and_ESXi_4.1_driver_9650_9690.zip which contains the file AMCC_2.26.08.035vm40-offline_bundle-265875.zip, which seems to be what Himuraken was using in his post clarification.

    Bottom line, my ESXi 4.1 now loads the 3w-xxxx driver and recognizes the 9690 card.

  12. @Nate D.
    Thanks a ton for your post about the Esxi 4.1 support. I’ve been working getting my raid working all day and I was about to go crazy haha

  13. I still can’t get my 9650 working with ESXI 4.1 Can someone point me to the AMCC_2.26.08.035vm40-offline_bundle-265875.zip ? Is that the fix???


  14. Short and sweet, can someone explain, new installation 4.1, what do I need to have on a disc for it to get the drives?

  15. @Tim – follow the instructions on this page using the file downloaded from post #11 and you are done. Its that simple. I had a hard time till I downloaded the driver version in post #11. Thank you to Nate D. for posting that link!!! :thumbsup:

  16. I don’t know how you guys are able to get it working on 4.1 – this is all I ever get:

    $ perl vihostupdate.pl -server x.x.x.x -username root -b c:\users\xxxxx\desktop\offline-bundle.zip -install -bulletin AMCC_2.26.08.035vm40

    Please wait patch installation is in progress …
    A post-transaction script failed with a nonzero exit code. Examine esxupdate logs for more details.

    I have local/remote ssh enabled and this is a clean install of 4.1 on brand new hardware. I’ve tried with various different incarnations of the cli command to get the driver installed and I even tried using “esxupdate” on the server itself with the file copied to the system with the exact same result.

    Worst of all, I have no idea where the log file containing the error details is (doesn’t seem to be /var/log/messages)!

    Any help would be greatly appreciated – I’m sitting on a new server for a month now and LSI has been non-responsive to my support email for days now.

  17. Undeniably believe that which you said. Your favorite reason seemed to be on the web the easiest thing to be aware of. I say to you, I certainly get irked while people consider worries that they just don’t know about. You managed to hit the nail upon the top and also defined out the whole thing without having side-effects , people could take a signal. Will probably be back to get more. Thanks

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