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 LSI 9240-8i works with Win7-VM but not with Linux-VMs 
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Joined: Tue Dec 14, 2010 1:37 am
Posts: 3
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Post LSI 9240-8i works with Win7-VM but not with Linux-VMs
Hi Folks,

I am seeing some strange behavior when using a LSI 9240-8i
(actually its a IBM ServeRaid 1015 but they are identical)
storage controller with VMDirectPath.

This is my setup:
Supermicro X8sil-F, VT-x and VT-d enabled in BIOS
XEON L3426
8GB RAM
ESXi 4.1 on a Kingston SSD attached to onboard S-ATA
LSI 9240-8i mounted in first PCIe (8x) with 3 S-ATA drives in JBOD mode

Here comes what bothers me:
ESXi install was smooth and ESXI sees the LSI and attached disks fine.
I am also able to activate the LSI for VMDirectPath.
When I assign the LSI to a Linux VM, the Kernel would either not boot at all
(CentOS 5.5, RHEL6, FC14) or "overlook" the LSI (ubuntu 10.4.1 and 10.10).
Using the distros above on bare metal, the LSI and disks are seen fine.

So my first assumption was that VMDirectPath is not working with the LSI.
But I finally set up a Win7-64 VM and assigned the LSI there.
Now, what can I say...Win7 can see the LSI and after installing their
latest driver, Win7-VM can see and use the disks fine...I then formatted
a disk and copied come 100GB over for test.
VM and attached LSI survives several restart cycles, so I'd gather it is not glitch.

So, it looks like it is not the controller but a linux driver problem?
But a problem only inside a VM, since bare metal works.
When loading the driver manually when inside a Linux-VM, the syslog reports
that the driver wants to initialize the LSI, finally times out somewhere and disables it.
After that, only a host reboot will make the LSI available again.

Any ideas on how to debug or proceed further?

TIA!

regards,
p3x-749


Tue Dec 14, 2010 2:06 am
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Joined: Mon Mar 16, 2009 10:13 pm
Posts: 3880
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Post Re: LSI 9240-8i works with Win7-VM but not with Linux-VMs
Have you made any progress on this? Anything in the vmware.log file for the VM?

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Thu Dec 16, 2010 7:13 pm
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Joined: Tue Dec 14, 2010 1:37 am
Posts: 3
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Post Re: LSI 9240-8i works with Win7-VM but not with Linux-VMs
...no, not really.
Since the Win7-VM is seeing the LSI controller just fine, I decided to
further try two more options:

a) flash the latest LSI firmware
As said, the controller is actually an IBM M1015 but besides the product codes
seen by the OS-driver, everything else (like WebBios) says "LSI" and no IBM anywhere.
Might be that the drivers are more picky or less complete under Linux.
Flashing it to look like a real LSI would eliminate that possible cause of error.
I already tried the latest FW from IBM and their installer tells something like "this
product is not for this system"...so it will possibly only run on a Series-X hardware.

b) do more tests with Linux on bare-metal to confirm that Linux drivers really work

...I'll report how that will turn out.

regards,
p3x-749


Sat Dec 18, 2010 12:06 pm
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Joined: Tue Dec 14, 2010 1:37 am
Posts: 3
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Post Re: LSI 9240-8i works with Win7-VM but not with Linux-VMs
OK, here is an update....quite some time, I know but I finally solved it...well, sort of.

Short recap:
The M1015 would work under vmdirectpath inside a Win7 VM,
but not inside a linux VM.

I ended up trying LOTS of drivers and linux distros, along with
firmware updates of the card...

...today I can confirm that the problem must be on the side of the
linux drivers, provided by LSI (megaraid_sas).
How can I tell?
Well, I finally found a way to cross-flash my IBM M1015 to a LSI 9210-8i.
That's right, I (cross-)flashed it to a HBA and into IT mode!!

ESXI sees the card (now mpt2sas) fine and
under vmdirectpath, a test with an ubuntu 11.04 VM went flawlessly.
:lol:


Fri May 27, 2011 2:56 pm
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