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 ESXi 4.1 Installed on Dell XPS 420 
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Joined: Sun Jan 02, 2011 8:58 am
Posts: 1
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Post ESXi 4.1 Installed on Dell XPS 420
Installed without any issues, but I had to disable the RAID option in the BIOS for the Intel RAID controller. And if you want to test FT you will need to change the processor... Read my adventure below..

Desktop: Dell XPS 420
Chipset Intel® X38 Express Chipset/ ICH9R
CPU: Intel Core 2 Quad CPU Q6600 @2.40Ghz
Network Card: Intel 82566DC-2 Gigabyte Network Connection
Storage Controller: 2 Port SATA IDE Controller (ICH9)
Intel VT Support: YES

Testing at the moment so I will update on on VT-D, EVC and FT etc when I have my lab built.

OK UPDATE (13/01/2011)

The Q6600 processor does not support Fault Tolerance, however vMotion will work....

I replaced the processor with a "Intel® Core™2 Quad Processor Q8300 (4M Cache, 2.50 GHz, 1333 MHz FSB)" and FT now works perfectly.

Otherwise everything works out of the box!

The cluster partner machine is a Packard Bell iXtreme M3720. Avoid!!
Getting ESXi 4.1 to install on this was a nightmare..

The following hardware was needed for the Packard Bell to run ESXi 4.1.

The onboard Sata controller is not supported and at the time of this posting no third party driver exists so I purchased a cheap SIL3132 PCIe Sata controller. Using the procedure below I copied third party drivers into the boot image and finally got it to work.. Pheewww

The onboard Realtex RT8102 NIC is also not supported and I could not find a third parrty driver for this so I ended up buying some Intel 1000e MT PCI dual port Nics and these worked straight away.

Finally I installed VMWare workstation onto my laptop and downloaded the openfiler appliance from the VMWare website and used this as my SAN. I also downloaded two evaluation copies of Windows 2008R2 and installed one as DC and one for vCenter. Luckily my laptop was a high spec Quad port with 8Gb of ram so it was possible to run this many VMs on it. Finally I could vMotion and FT perfectly....

As a Windows guy, I used the procedure below to install the SIL3132 drivers into ESXi 4.1. If you know your Linux this can be done much easier.

1. Use ISO Magic Maker to open ESXi 4.1 ISO image

2. Drag & drop the oem.tgz (sata_sil24.o I downloaded the 1.06Mb file
here viewtopic.php?f=14&t=231)
into the ESXi ISO image. Thanks bphinz!!!!

3. In ISO Magic Maker, extract isolinux.cfg to a local folder and edit it
with Wordpad, add --- oem.tgz after install.vgz.
Should look like this

install.vgz --- oem.tgzlabel ^Boot from local disk menu label

4. Save the file and drag and drop it into the ESXi ISO image, save the
image and burn the bootable ISO to CD

5. Boot up from the image and your SIL3132 Sata controller will be seen
so you can install ESXi, once the installation is complete shutdown …

6. Download a Live Linux CD, I used this one
ADRIANE-KNOPPIX_V6.2.1CD-2010-01-31-EN.iso which can be found

7. Open it in ISO Magic Maker and drag and drop oem.tgz into the ISO
image and save the image. Burn the bootable ISO to CD

8. Boot from the Linux CD and from the shell or file manager gui, simply
overwrite the oem.tgz on the partition SD5 with the one you copied
to the CD earlier.

9. Remove the CD and reboot and the installation will complete using the
Sata controller.



Sun Jan 02, 2011 9:20 am

Joined: Thu Jun 30, 2011 8:18 pm
Posts: 5
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Post Re: ESXi 4.1 Installed on Dell XPS 420

Thanks for posting your experience. I'm wondering if you ever got Vt-d working on the XPS 420. According to a post I saw the X38 chipset technically supports Vt-d but it requires OEM implementation. Since I don't see any option for it in the XPS 420 BIOS I'm guessing it's not implemented and therefore VMDirectPath is a no-go.

But since you've already got it set up on your 420 can you confirm that?


Thu Jun 30, 2011 8:22 pm
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