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ESXi 5.x - pre-built VMDK for unRAID

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...for the 82579LM to be recognized in ESXi, you will need to install extra, non-standard drivers.

 

...for  attaching the VMXNET3 device to a VM, in order to show up inside the VM, the vmware tools need to be installed in that VM.

 

I wonder if I got the *right* non-standard driver. Both of the interfaces work fine, as E1000's, but I haven't gotten VMXNET3 to work on any VM so far...

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IMHO the two "sides" of the vSwitch are not related.

If the real NICs show up fine in ESXi and you can use them, they do fine.

The NIC inside the VM is virtual...not connected to the real hardware, just to a virtual switch, where one port of that switch is connected to to a real NIC.

In theory, you could have VMs running and communicate via the VSwitch without the ESXi host having a real network card.

 

...what does VSphere-Client say in the VM Summary on "vmware tools installed" state?...should say something like "installed (current)".

How many ethernet interfaces inside the VM do you see (not IPs, just ethx)?

After switching the VM adapter, your NIC will change its MAC-Address, causing the udevd of the OS in the VM to renumber/adding the interface,

like going from eth0 to eth1, but your network config will only cater for eth0 (the old) because you originally installed with one eth-interface only.

Check which ethx has the same MAC as your VMX3 adapter from the VM config.

To fix the re-numbering of ethx interface in the VM,  in a linux distro try to delete the file "/etc/udev/rules.d/70-persistent-net.rules" and then reboot.

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Thanks for the response. I follow everything you are saying and I'm pretty familiar with how that works. Attached are a few snips from the VM summary tabs.

 

I understand how *nix generally enumerates interfaces. In the case of pfSense and unRaid both it will automatically find the interfaces, even if it does renumber them. For me, I must still be missing something simple because the VMXNET3 don't show up at all on unRAID or pfSense.

 

I have an Ubuntu appliance VM from Bitnami running Wordpress and in that VM it does show up as VMXNET3. On that VM the tools show as "Installed (current)" and not as 3rd party. Same in my Win7 VM running apcupsd.

 

Therefore the real question is: How have folks gotten VMXNET3 adapters to work on unRAID?

 

thanks!

 

unraid-vm-sum.JPG.099eacedd42d45bf0d6eb6cb73f6103c.JPG

pfsense-vm-sum.JPG.64ec8806327b51a6e7961ba167e9ba56.JPG

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I have an Ubuntu appliance VM from Bitnami running Wordpress and in that VM it does show up as VMXNET3. On that VM the tools show as "Installed (current)" and not as 3rd party. Same in my Win7 VM running apcupsd.

 

....I am out of my wits here, sorry.

I also don't run unRAID virtualized, so I don't know how the vmtools repesent themselves.

Are you sure that the vmxnet3 kernel module is available in the VM?...what does lspci say about available hardware resources?

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[sOLVED]!

 

OK, I figured out what the problem was. I had selected "Other (32b)" as the type of Linux. Hence ESXi would never allow me to assign a VMXNET3. Once I switched that to "Ubuntu (32b)" I got that choice in the drop down and unRAID (with http://lime-technology.com/forum/index.php?topic=11449.0 installed) found the interface just fine.

 

Now I'm working all sweet like.

 

P.S. FWIW pfSense is another story. Figured out how to do the necessary custom install of VMWare tools, but traffic shaping is acting all fussy so I've dropped back to E1000 until I can sort that out.  ::)

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Can't believe I waited so long to do this! Boot times go by in the blink of an eye now.

 

This may have already been mentioned elsewhere in the thread but you can use your existing unraid VM with this vmdk, you don't have to create a new one. Just disable or remove the CD drive that was loading the plop ISO. Remove your current hard disk. Then add the vmdk as an existing hard disk. Works fine.

 

Side note: it's annoying you have to use a web browser to download these files. wget doesn't work with Google Drive shared files with their obfuscated URL.

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Yeah that is a pain, but the google drive hosting is free :P

 

 

Are the files too big to host on Dropbox? Never tried to upload something that big to my Dropbox account so I don't really know.

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Can't believe I waited so long to do this! Boot times go by in the blink of an eye now.

 

 

Are you referring to UnRAID's boot time?    If so, how does it compare to bare metal boot times?

 

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Can't believe I waited so long to do this! Boot times go by in the blink of an eye now.

 

 

Are you referring to UnRAID's boot time?    If so, how does it compare to bare metal boot times?

 

Assuming ESXi is already booted up, booting from the VMDK is faster than bare metal boot times.  Not having to read the boot image from the USB, instead loading it from a data store, significantly cuts down how much time that takes.  It will depend on how fast your usb drive is probably.

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I thought that might be the case (I presume mrow will confirm).

 

But the same thing -- probably even faster -- could be done by putting a spare SSD (I have a couple 40GB and 60GB units I don't use these days) in my UnRAID tower, and booting to those -- with just the key file on the USB flash drive  :)

 

Guess I just thought of a good project for next weekend !!

 

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I thought that might be the case (I presume mrow will confirm).

 

But the same thing -- probably even faster -- could be done by putting a spare SSD (I have a couple 40GB and 60GB units I don't use these days) in my UnRAID tower, and booting to those -- with just the key file on the USB flash drive  :)

 

Guess I just thought of a good project for next weekend !!

 

Boot times for bare metal and virtualized are basically the same. The USB drive is passed through to the VM so you're limited by how fast it can load from the USB drive. Yes, you could do this with an SSD or even a spinner. Just set the boot priority to that disk in the BIOS. I guess the reason more people don't do this is because on a bare metal machine that disk would take up a slot that could be used for an array disk. When it's virtualized you already have a disk being used for a datastore so taking up a disk slot doesn't really enter in to the equation. You could also just buy one of those super fast USB 3.0 thumb drives and get Tom to switch your license to the GUID for that drive.

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I guess the reason more people don't do this is because on a bare metal machine that disk would take up a slot that could be used for an array disk. When it's virtualized you already have a disk being used for a datastore so taking up a disk slot doesn't really enter in to the equation.

 

Good point.  Although as long as there's an available SATA port, an SSD can be mounted "creatively" in a lot of spare spots in most cases  :)

 

You could also just buy one of those super fast USB 3.0 thumb drives and get Tom to switch your license to the GUID for that drive.

 

An excellent idea -- much better than using a dedicated drive.  HOWEVER ... for many of us that would mean a new motherboard & CPU to get USB v3 ports  :)

(On some boards you could use an add-in card)

 

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I guess the reason more people don't do this is because on a bare metal machine that disk would take up a slot that could be used for an array disk. When it's virtualized you already have a disk being used for a datastore so taking up a disk slot doesn't really enter in to the equation.

 

Good point.  Although as long as there's an available SATA port, an SSD can be mounted "creatively" in a lot of spare spots in most cases  :)

 

You could also just buy one of those super fast USB 3.0 thumb drives and get Tom to switch your license to the GUID for that drive.

 

An excellent idea -- much better than using a dedicated drive.  HOWEVER ... for many of us that would mean a new motherboard & CPU to get USB v3 ports  :)

(On some boards you could use an add-in card)

 

I don't think ESX uses USB 3.0. I believe it can pass it through to a capable OS, but it will not use it directly.  I would surmise that the virtual BIOS may not achieve the usb 3.0 speeds either.

I also believe unRAID is capable of using USB 3.0 yet either.

 

on my Supermicro X9SCM-F-O, with the Patriot Supersonic Rage XT 64GB USB 3.0 key, ESX boots up very fast. In fact so much faster then from my proliant micro server.

 

However, I don't think unRAID would boot as fast as a virtual .vmdk on an SSD.  I don't see much of a benefit getting an extra controller card to have USB 3.0 for unRAID booting vs an SSD datastore.

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Unraid does support USB 3.0. It's supported it for about a year now actually. So if ESXi is passing it through properly it should work in theory.

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I don't see much (if any) advantage to USB v3 for UnRAID on virtualized systems.  As already noted, it's simple to just use a virtual hard drive as the boot device in those cases -- with only the key file on the USB flash device -- so you can get very quick boots regardless of the USB speed.

 

But on a bare metal system, where you'd need to dedicate an additional SATA port and space in the chassis for a boot drive, it would be much more attractive to have a USB 3 flash drive and USB 3 port to boot from.   

 

On the other hand, I almost never turn my UnRAID servers off, so it's almost irrelevant how long they take to boot  :)  [Although if they booted in just a few seconds, I'd likely turn them off a lot more]

 

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Unraid does support USB 3.0. It's supported it for about a year now actually. So if ESXi is passing it through properly it should work in theory.

 

In order to speed up the boot, the BIOS needs to support it. if it's under ESX, I do not think the virtual bios supports the USB 3.0 speed. I could be wrong, but I remember reading that.

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Can't believe I waited so long to do this! Boot times go by in the blink of an eye now.

 

This may have already been mentioned elsewhere in the thread but you can use your existing unraid VM with this vmdk, you don't have to create a new one. Just disable or remove the CD drive that was loading the plop ISO. Remove your current hard disk. Then add the vmdk as an existing hard disk. Works fine.

 

Side note: it's annoying you have to use a web browser to download these files. wget doesn't work with Google Drive shared files with their obfuscated URL.

 

if moving off from plop, can I still make changes to \\tower\flash ? or does that option go away when using this setup?

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Nothing changes with regards to \\tower\flash, it's still used as normal.  All this does is extract/load the core OS from a fast vmdk, rather than a slow, passthrough USB drive.  This is essentially two files, bzimage and bzroot.  Everything else operates off the USB stick as normal.

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Nothing changes with regards to \\tower\flash, it's still used as normal.  All this does is extract/load the core OS from a fast vmdk, rather than a slow, passthrough USB drive.  This is essentially two files, bzimage and bzroot.  Everything else operates off the USB stick as normal.

 

licensing and all that other fun stuff will remain the same right? the only catch with this is we'd have to wait for the vmdk to be updated to upgrade between versions? i recall in the original thread someone had linked up a tutorial on building the vmdk, but i swear i thought we had to rinse and repeat to make *any* changes ... that's why i backed off and went the plop route.

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Just to confirm -- that means bizimage and bizroot are loaded from the fast disk;  but the config folder is processed on the flash drive;  logs are written there; etc. ... right?

 

... I presume this means a "bare metal" system could be configured the same way => boot off an SSD that contains bizimage and bizroom; and as long as there's a USB flash drive labeled UnRAID everything would still work fine, even though the USB flash drive is NOT the boot device ... correct?

 

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@axeman - to upgrade the vmdk, yes you can either wait until I upload a copy with the new version (I typically make them available within 24 hours of a new release), or you can just update it yourself by simply copying the new bzroot/bzimage files over the top of the old ones in the .vmdk (many ways to do this, I just mount the vmdk in a Windows VM temporarily.)

 

@garycase - theoretically yes that would work.  Never tried it myself, but can't see why it wouldn't.  In saying that, bare metal systems usually boot off USB significantly faster than a ESXi/plop/passthrough USB setup, approaching the speed of a vmdk boot.

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Just curious -- I doubt I'd bother to change.

 

I DO have a spare SSD (an old 60GB unit), but I also almost never reboot my UnRAID server (current uptime on one is 160+ days; my second one is only 45 days or so, since I recently added another 3TB drive to it and had to reboot).

 

If I powered down daily and was frequently waiting for it to boot, it'd be worth doing;  but in my typical scenario it really wouldn't make any difference.

 

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@axeman - to upgrade the vmdk, yes you can either wait until I upload a copy with the new version (I typically make them available within 24 hours of a new release), or you can just update it yourself by simply copying the new bzroot/bzimage files over the top of the old ones in the .vmdk (many ways to do this, I just mount the vmdk in a Windows VM temporarily.)

 

perfect - that's faster than I'd ever test them anyhow. just in case you get bored of this and move on, want to make sure we can maintain.

 

totally outside the scope of this - but if the vmdk is on a default esxi datastore, is there a networkable path where it's accessible? or download to the vm, mount, update, then re-up to the datastore?

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