Tag Archives: Dell PowerEdge

ESXi Boot Loop on Dell PowerEdge R720

We have faced quite a strange issue with one of our Dell PowerEdge servers on a remote site. When the branded image was deployed on the host, we kept getting bootloops. The system has just started unloading modules after they were seemingly loaded. After inspecting the vmkernel log at boot-time by pressing ALT-F11, I have noticed a few strange warnings:

2014-11-24T04:13:50.237Z cpu2:2631)WARNING: ScsiScan: 1485: Failed to add path vmhba1:C0:T0:L0 : Not found
2014-11-24T04:15:08.990Z cpu7:2792)WARNING: ScsiScan: 1485: Failed to add path vmhba1:C0:T0:L0 : Not found

I have poked around the settings in BIOS to find out what could have been causing the issue that were seemingly coming from the RAID controller itself. I have changed the SATA to report as RAID opposed to AHCI which was set previously, and the next boot was successful.

This didn’t have any effect on already present drives or data because the only device that used the on-board storage controller was the DVD-ROM.

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Upgrading BIOS on DELL PowerEdge Servers via UEFI

Once upon a time it is needed to upgrade either BIOS or Hard Driver firmware. Since DELL iDRAC 7 does not support writing to .img files anymore since the fw version 1.57.57, there had to be a new way of upgrading the firmware. And the way to do it is via UEFI.

To upgrade BIOS, browse to DELL’s support website for your given server and download the .efi file this way: Select Not Applicable Operating System and expand on the BIOS selection. There, download the .efi file – save in 8.3 format because the UEFI utility can not read longer filenames (as you will see further).

Get the .efi file when you unroll Other File Formats.

Get the .efi file when you unroll Other File Formats.

Use any tool which lets you create ISOs and put this .efi file in the .iso. Mount it in a remote console session, enter Boot Manager and follow the screenshots:

Select System Utilities from the Boot Manager Main Menu

Select System Utilities from the Boot Manager Main Menu

Choose BIOS Update File Explorer

Choose BIOS Update File Explorer

Select your mounted .iso file

Select your mounted .iso file

There select the .efi file - beware the 8.3 format if you have more files present on the ISO

There select the .efi file – beware the 8.3 format if you have more files present on the ISO

A blank prompt will appear - be patient.

A blank prompt will appear – be patient.

The .efi image will be loaded and you will be asked for confirmation.

The .efi image will be loaded and you will be asked for confirmation.

You will see the following screen during the update (disregard the matching versions)

You will see the following screen during the update (disregard the matching versions)

Your update was successful :)

Your update was successful 🙂

Now you are all done. Enjoy your upgraded BIOS 🙂

DELL Perc H710P Local Storage SSD RAID1 Benchmark

Recently we have equipped one of our ESXi hosts with local SSD storage (Product Number: LB806M) to host a database VM. For redundancy we have chosen RAID1. I have done a small benchmark to compare it to already present 4x 1,2TB 10k RPM (PN: ST1200MM0007) RAID10 array.

The RAID Controller serving the drives was DELL Perc H710P Mini (Dual processor, 1GB DDR3 NV Cache). I have used the IOmeter application with Access Specification File from my favorite tech-news aggregate site, TechPowerUp. I have run the test on a 1GB Chunk of data. Without further ado, here are the results (click on an image to enlarge):

Throughput Benchmark

Throughput Benchmark

IOPs Benchmark

IOPs Benchmark

Latency Benchmark

Latency Benchmark

Also, I’ve captured a few interesting screenshots from esxtop over the course of benchmarks. Notice that the controller doesn’t even break a sweat under that many IOPS:

Installing the Windows VM for benchmarking

Installing the Windows VM for benchmarking

Database Benchmark on the Mechanical Hard DRive and SSD running simultaneously.

Database Benchmark on the Mechanical Hard DRive and SSD running simultaneously.

Nice IOPS :)

Nice IOPS 🙂

Sequential Read Benchmark - the Controller Cache comes into play.

Sequential Read Benchmark – the Controller Cache comes into play.

Hope you enjoyed the numbers. See you around.