How to Enable RAID Monitoring and Configuration Under ESXi 5.x

RAID Monitoring and Configuration with an Intel or LSI RAID Card

Intel and LSI RAID cards provide tools for RAID system monitoring and configuration. There are various CLI and GUI tools which can be used when an operating system is running, as well as RAID BIOS tools which can only be used when the operating system is not running.

The most useful GUI tool is the Intel RAID Web Console 2 (or, LSI MegaRAID Storage Manager (MSM), which is in essence the same product). This tool can be installed on a Windows based system and provide health reporting, alerting and configuration functionality for the local system as well as remote systems.

VMWare ESXi does not support the installation of GUI utilities directly on the host, or into the VMWare VCenter server or VSphere client. However, the Windows RAID Web Console 2 (RWC) installed onto a separate physical Windows system, or running on a Windows Guest operating system inside the VMWare ESXi host, can connect to management agents installed inside ESXi.

Before you begin: It is recommended that you attempt this installation on a laboratory or test system before deploying this into a production (live) system or environment. Hardware and software versions vary. We recommend that you test your exact system configuration outside of your production network first to prevent problems or unexpected downtime. Alternatively, only attempt this procedure if your network can run with one VMWare ESXi host system missing for the time that it takes you to test this procedure, and revert or reinstall if necessary if things go wrong.


What you will Need


Downloads - you will need:

Stage 1 - Install Intel RWC2 / LSI MSM

You should now have the following links or shortcuts, or similar, on your Windows desktop:

(You may have links to the VMWare web client or VSpere client on this guest or physical machine, but these can be located on a different machine).

Stage 2 - Enable SSH on the Hosts

Stage 3 - Copy the VIB File

Stage 4 - Install the VIB file

cd /usr/bin

esxcli software vib install -v /tmp/vmware-esx-provider-lsiprovider.vib --no-sig-check

Stage 5 - Edit the Hosts File

Stage 6 - Try Connecting and Finish Up

Note: If you have an ESXi 5.1 system which has not had many configuration changes, and you are using RWC 2 or LSI MSM (as of 12/10/2013), you may find that skipping to Troubleshooting Step 9 is all you require. You could also decide that using RWC 2 / LSI MSM is not required but instead configure VCenter alerts based on the additional sensors that will now appear (see Troubleshooting Step 3). If you are running ESXi 5.5 then you may find that Troubleshooting steps 8 and 9 are required.

Troubleshooting Step 1 - check the SMIS provider installed

esxcli software vib list

Troubleshooting Step 2 - Check Host Image Profile Acceptance Level

Troubleshooting Step 3 - Check SMIS Functionality


Troubleshooting Step 4 - Windows Firewall

Troubleshooting Step 5 - Ensure the CIM Service is running

Troubleshooting Step 6 - Change the Console Method of Connection

Troubleshooting Step 7 - Another alternative method of connection

Troubleshooting Step 8 - Open Port 31749 or Try disabling the ESXi firewall

To disable the firewall

esxcli network firewall set --enabled false

esxcli network firewall set --enabled true

Reminder: ESXi 5.5 hosts appear to require port 31749 to be opened through the firewall for the host system to be discoverable by LSI MSM / Intel RWC.

Troubleshooting Step 9 - Use a Multicast Proxy

The Intel RWC 2 / LSI MSM software prefers to use multicast requests, although in RWC2 version 12 and MSM version 5.3 this was apparently fixed. ESXi will only respond to unicast requests.

Note: Credit for the SLP Helper utility goes to (third party site). Only one copy of the SLP Helper utility is required per broadcast subnet.

Troubleshooting Step 10 - If MSM looses its connection to the Host

/etc/init.d/sfcbd-watchdog restart

Troubleshooting Step 11 - DNS Or Hosts File Reminder - If your ESXi Host IP Address is shown as host1.local

When you can Discover the Host

When you have been able to Discover the Host, you should be able to login. The username and password required are the root username and password of the ESXi Host.

Functionality Provided

The Intel RWC 2 / LSI MSM connected to an ESXi host allows you to carry out most normal function, including drive rebuilds, hot-spare configuration, and even Firmware updates (although, as with a Windows system, this requires a reboot to take effect). You can also configure email alerting.

Some of the logging options are reduced. For example, controller events that occur before the SMIS provider has loaded inside ESXi are not available.

Note: If you enabled SSH permanently earlier, we recommend you disable it at the end of this procedure. Leaving SSH enabled without a requirement for it presents a security risk as an additional attack surface is exposed. SSH is not required for Intel RWC 2 / LSI MSM to connect to the ESXi Host.

Update and Thanks:
11/9/14: Port 31749 needs to be opened on the ESXi firewall to enable host to management console communications. Thanks to Les Merryman from Micro-Masters for this contribution.
29/10/15: Included Improved Hostname instructions and KeepAliveTimeout information. Thanks to David Crowder from AZPartsmater for this contribution.

Applies to:

Article ID: 195
Last updated: 09 Jan, 2017
Revision: 45
Third Party Products -> VMWare Virtualisation -> Installation and Software -> How to Enable RAID Monitoring and Configuration Under ESXi 5.x