ESXi White Box – HP DL140

White Box is a term used to describe a hardware spec/platform that has been used outside of the Vendors recommendations.
In order to run VMware ESXi on a platform outside of the Vendors HCL (Hardware Compatibility List) I used various Whitebox resources to run ESXi on the below,

  1. HP Proliant DL140 G1 (2x 3Ghz Xeons / 4Gb RAM)
  2. Adaptec SA2420 SATA (II) 300 PCI-X 64-Bit RAID Controller
  3. 2 x 500Gb Seagate ST3500320AS SATA II 7200rpm Hard-Drives

Issues / Solution

On trying to install ESXi onto this platform the install produced the following error,

                Unable to find a supported device to write the VMware ESX server 3i 3.5.0 image to

This was resolved by disabling ACPI in the VM Kernel

Here are the steps,

  1. When you boot from the installation CD press tab as soon as it starts loading.
  2. Then after the first .gz file name insert acpi=off then press enter.
  3. The install will now work but when you boot the system it will fail again.
  4. You also need to add this parameter to the boot.cfg file on the 2nd partition. Which you can do by booting the server from a Ubuntu Live CD which will auto detect and mount the partitions.
  5. Open boot.cfg and and you should see a line that says kernelopt=. Add acpi=off here.
  6. Then once in the VMware Infrastructure Client goto “Configuration / Advanced Settings / VMKernel / Boot” – In here disable the VMKeneral.Boot.ACPI.

Further ESX troubleshooting and how-to articles can be found here.

Rick Donato

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