Dec 29

Monitor storage for a Dell PERC H710 Mini on vSphere 6.5

So I managed to get myself some DELL R320 servers for the lab. Great servers, love that R3x0 series, they fit my needs perfectly. In previous R3xx series and vSphere versions using the “thick” vSphere client you could just monitor the storage (PERC H710 mini) and other hardware so that you could easily find out if your server needs maintenance.

With these DELL R320’s however you do not get anything under the monitor storage tab in the vSphere client, there’s details under the hardware monitoring, just not for storage. If you have iDRAC express or iDRAC enterprise you can see the status there. Not as great as having it in one place, but manageable. Unfortunately 2 of those servers did came with iDRAC basic management, which quite frankly is a pretty useless iDRAC version. You can use IPMI for things such as remote power functions, but that’s about it. No way to figure out if a disk has gone south or not.

So I researched the Dell site and searched the interwebs. Apparently you’re supposed to install Dell Open Manage Server Administrator (OMSA), but that means a lot of install dependencies and an external host with Windows to monitor those few lab hosts. Not exactly ideal. OpenManage Integration for vSphere (OMIVV?) is another option that installs an extra appliance, but it ain’t free, lots of stuff to install, maintain and lots of things that can go wrong. Then there’s open manage essentials (OME) which is free, looked quite wonderful, but somehow did not give me any insights into what I was after… monitoring my RAID sets. Tried it all and was ready to buy myself some iDRAC enterprise cards. Although that had yet another issue.. I was running out of ports on my network switch, yep, not a happy camper. Sigh..

Then I remembered something. Aren’t all those fancy RAID cards from DELL simply rebadged LSI cards? Uhh.. Avago… no Broadcom Cards? So searched for the documentation on the PERC H710, found on the spec sheet that it indeed is based on an LSISA2208 dual-core PowerPC RAID-on-Chip (ROC).

Yay, so I quickly look at Broadcom’s site, selected that ROC at their support site and find …. only documentation, no drivers, no management vib’s. Hmmpf..

Well, not so fast. Those LSI cards all use similar chipsets and their drivers and management software works for a LOT of their cards, so I tried some other drivers. Turns out that the MegaRaid SAS 9266 8i SMIS Providers work a treat.

I ended up downloading the latest version (MR 6.14, version

Download the management vib, upload the zip to your vSphere server, unzip into a folder LSI on your volume, ssh into the vSphere server and then run:

esxcli software vib install -v /vmfs/volumes/STORAGE/LSI/vm

to actually install the vib, then reboot, be a bit patient and there you go:

Obviously this is not a supported configuration, but -bite me- it is exactly what I needed without all the extra overhead. You can see your logical volume right there from within the host Client.

Case closed.

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