ESXI 6.5 Install on SuperMicro Xeon D Hardware

Purpose of this guide is very simple, show an ESXI Install from start to finish and to help me remember how I did the install if I need to do it again.  Hopefully it will help guide some first timers as well.

Our hardware is as follows

SuperMicro X10SDV-7TP4F

4X Intel DC S3710 400GB Sata SSD

1X SuperMicro 64GB SATA DOM

Mellonox Connect X2 10Gbe Card

64GB DDR4 ECC Memory

For me its simple, as I have a SuperMicro Motherboard with Console Re-direction.  I can just mount the ISO via the console instead of having to create a USB with Rufus or so I thought.  Java is a bit screwy on Sierra, so I had an old USB for VMware, so I chose to use that with the iKVM Client with Chrome.

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The F Function Keys also don’t work all that well either so I had to use the Virtual Keyboard, which allowed me to boot from the USB Drive.  Snip20170319_3.png

Once the installer loads, you will be prompted to hit enter to continue

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Click F11 to Accept the EULA and ContinueSnip20170319_3.png

The Installer will Scan for Drives to Install VMWare to and then present you your options

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For my purposes I will be using the SATA SSD which happens to be a SuperMicro 64GB Sata DOM.  The NVMe Drive will be used to host the VMSphere and VRealize VMs.  The Intel DC 3710 400GB Drives will be used to host VMs.  I plan on testing utilizing software RAID for these Drives.  The issue will be managing the VM start.  If the VM that hosts the software RAID starts slower than the VMs that utilize it for storage, we will never have those VMs start up.

Next we select the Keyboard

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Then we select a root password.  Do not forget this.  If you do, it can be difficult to get the system working without a full reinstall.

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The installer will probe for hardwareSnip20170319_7.png

Now it will confirm with you that this is indeed the drive you wish to install on and proceed with the install once you hit F11.  Now take a little break and let VMware install. For us this is version 6.1 not 6.5, which is the current version.  We will walk through upgrading VMWare to the latest version later.

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For us the installation took less then two minutes.  Snip20170319_10.png

If all goes well, upon reboot you will see this screen

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That’s it!  You have a working Vmware EXSi 6.0 Installation.  In our next post, we will work on upgrading VMWare ESXi to version 6.5.

FLIR ONE Camera View of the New Xeon D-1537 Build

One of the problems I’ve been told, and that I have found online is that Xeon-D Chips need good airflow over the heat sink as they put out a fair amount of heat and that the the heat sink is passive.  I decided to pull out my FLIR ONE Camera and take a look.  Although it doesn’t indicate temperatures, it gives you a good idea of how hot they can be.

Here is a view of the SuperMicro X10SDV-7TP4F.  Top red spot is the CPU Heatsink, and the bottom is the LSI 2116 SW Controller.

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NAS OS Install – A Journey in Patience

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I’m in the process of setting up the OS for the new NAS server, and I have to say, the OpenIndiana installer is slow.  I waited 10 minutes to after seeing the Sun Copyright banner, and then 15, then 20, and eventually 30 minutes.  At that point I decided to go download Freenas 9.10.1 and prepared to mount it via the IPMI on the SuperMicro Xeon D board.  But low and behold we have movement! Then we stalled again.  I was starting to have flashbacks of Solaris on Sun Hardware with Software RAID on 16 Drive Storage arrays running early version of ZFS.

Then I got smart, or so I thought.   I took the USB Expander and removed it.  Then I plugged the USB directly into the motherboard.  It didn’t do a thing unfortunately.

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So instead, I decided to a mount an ISO via the IPMI and go with FreeNas. So everything was going well.

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Okay we are making progress

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After logging in and doing some basic setup, I created the first Volume.

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Speed tests were as expected, one mirror does one disk performance, 2 mirrors do two disk performance.

I still plan on installing OpenIndiana on this machine in the future and benchmarking it as well.  My 10G Switch and new Card has arrived, so I’ll be sure to put those benchmarks up as well.