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Home labbers: Westmere-EP processors appear to still work in ESXi 7.0

Home labbers: Westmere-EP processors appear to still work in ESXi 7.0


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  1. I don’t think there should be issues installing fresh on an X5600-series host, but just in case:

    I installed ESXi 7.0 to USB via Workstation, so I can quickly test the box without fully committing just yet. I advise this approach in case you need to see what devices survive the upgrade.

    (Edit, this might be the only way to get things working, in fact – will have to see what further comments/experiences indicate)

    1. Download the ESXi 7.0 installer.
    2. Create an ESXi VM and attach the CD to its configuration. Discard the local disk.
    3. Plug in your USB stick to the host system, and wipe it.
    4. Boot up the VM, immediately pass the USB stick through to the VM (via VM -> Removable Devices).
    5. Proceed through the installation process, and power off when it’s done and reboots.
    6. Plug in the USB stick into your ESXi host, and boot from it.

    If you have Westmere-EP platform stuff running, you probably have onboard NICs that will disappear. Old Intel gigabit NICs of this era were basically dropped from the igbn driver module in 7.0. So, in the screenshot of the original post, you’re seeing IPs pulled via my 10Gb adapters (Dell/Intel X520s).

    [root@localhost:~] esxcfg-nics -l
    Name PCI Driver Link Speed Duplex MAC Address MTU Description
    vmnic0 0000:02:00.0 ixgben Up 10000Mbps Full 00:1b:21:d1:d9:78 1500 Intel(R) 82599 10 Gigabit Dual Port Network Connection
    vmnic1 0000:02:00.1 ixgben Up 10000Mbps Full 00:1b:21:d1:d9:79 1500 Intel(R) 82599 10 Gigabit Dual Port Network Connection

    [root@localhost:~] esxcli storage core adapter list
    HBA Name Driver Link State UID Capabilities Description
    ——– ——— ———- ———– ———— ———–
    vmhba0 vmw_ahci link-n/a sata.vmhba0 (0000:00:1f.2) Intel Corporation ICH10 6 port SATA AHCI Controller
    vmhba1 nvme_pcie link-n/a pcie.900 (0000:09:00.0) Samsung Electronics Co Ltd NVMe SSD Controller SM981/PM981/PM983
    vmhba32 vmkusb link-n/a usb.vmhba32 () USB

    Above, what’s missing would be the famed IBM M1015 controller, as it was dependent on a vmklinux-dependent driver module (mpt2sas). I think at a glance, all SAS3/6 adapters are dropped, and most SAS12s were showing up in some form on the HCL.

    I have some HBA330s coming in the mail next week before I proceed with a proper upgrade. Back to 6.7 for now (via local boot option), since I run vSAN and need this node back, heh.

  2. Does not work with L5520 processors.

    The hypervisor boots and then it gives me a message saying that the processor is not supported (this was after installing the hypervisor on a USB key using VMware workstation)

    Oh well.

  3. My Dell R710 is running E5649 CPUs. I created a VM on it to try installing ESXi 7 and got a message about the CPU not being supported when attempting to install.

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