One of the computers I have at home is a nice Intel Core i7 12Gb RAM 2Tb RAID10 VMWare ESXi server. As I hate reinstalling my main personal and work computers, I use ESXi for all kinds of experiments, development, debugging, etc. RAID10 there is provided by a decent hardware HighPoint RocketRAID 3510 controller. The main reason I chose it was its announced support for VMWare ESXi. The system is set up in such a way that the 2Tb SATA II disk is provided by RocketRAID 3510 controller. There are no other disks in that system – no CD/DVD drives, nothing at all.
Back in the days when I was setting it up, the latest version of ESXi available was 3.5. I had a fair bit of a headache to get the system set up and boot from RAID10 array. It involved:
- creating custom oem.tgz (edit pci.ids, etc, etc…)
- integrating it into install image
- after install, connecting external DVD drive to the server
- boot into Knoppix LiveCD
- set up RAID10 support in Knoppix (it didn’t work out of the box)
- finally, copy my custom oem.tgz to the relevant partition on RAID10 device
- pray that it works (which it did)
This is a fair bit of hassle, which I didn’t document at all.
Now imagine my disappointment when I figured out that neither patching nor “normal” upgrades from ESXi 3.5 to ESXi 4/4.1 work for my setup – something to do with custom oem.tgz. Trust me, I tried everything, all possible combinations of upgrades, upgrade tools, network setups, etc. It just doesn’t work, so don’t waste your time on that. At the same time, I needed a solution, as I had to run 64-bit OSes.