Fusion-IO: ESXi installation

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As I described in a previous article, Fusion-IO cards are not natively supported by VMware ESXi.

After installing the card and restart the server, you can see that it claims there is no persistent storage available, not even a lun or local disk to be formatted:

So, we need to intall Fusion-IO drivers. They are available for ESX(i) 4.0, 4.1 e 5.0. Having driver in .vib format, you can use the usual method like any other third party driver inside an ESXi server, first copying the .vib file inside ESXi and then issuing this command from the command line (or via ssh):

esxcli software vib install -v /tmp/Fusion-io_bootbank_block-iomemory-vsl_2.3.8.24-1OEM.500.0.0.406165.vib

Finished the installation you need to reboot ESXi, and when it comes up again you will have two new elements in ESXi: a new “IOMemory VSL” among the storage adapters, and a 600 Gb local disk (identified by ESXi as SSD):

From here, you can format the disk with VMFS and use it as a “common” local datastore, but also as host cache.


CIM Providers

If you want to monitor the card health and status, the only way to do it directly from ESXi is to install CIM Providers. Fusion-IO, like many other hardware vendors, gives you their CIM providers for several ESXi versions.

To install them in ESXi 5.0, you first need to place your server in maintenance mode.

You will then upload the software into ESXi, and you will install it using this command:

esxcli software vib install --no-sig-check --depot=/path_to_ZIP/fusionio-cimprovider-esxi5-bundle-<version>.zip

(no-sig-check is needed since the software is not digitally signed); you will finally put ESXi out of the maintenance mode.

the Fusion-IO card is now ready to host virtual machines.

11 thoughts on “Fusion-IO: ESXi installation

  1. Have you tested vMotion? (or any workaround to make it possible?)

  2. Hi,
    I cannot test vmotion having only one card as local storage on one server. Also, Fusion-IO idea is to have a “shared nothing” storage, where you can run VSA on top of that.
    I’m writing further articles about this technology, and how to use it in VMware; please be patient 🙂

  3. Hi,

    Having the same esx version and installed fusion iomemory vsl driver but could not see fusion io disk in vCenter, On console when i run lspci i see that its mounted on vmhba2 but not able to see on GUI, Any idea what could be the problem?

  4. Are you able to see the new disk controller installed into the ESXi server? From here you could be able to see the raw disk and format it with VMFS.
    At the time of these articles I got a beta driver from Fusion-IO since ESXi 5.0 was not officially supported, maybe you can check with them to be sure you have the latest varsion.

  5. How to check the new disk controller in esxi console? i’m using latest driver and CIM provider available in fusion IO site. ESXI image is dell customized image for R720.

    Once we installed driver, Vcenter should list fusion io automatically or cim providers required?

    However I’ve installed both the things driver and cim provider but no luck.

  6. You need to look at the “storage adapter” section in the ESXi server and here the new controller should be listed among other scsi/raid controller. If you cannot see it here there is some issue with the driver installation, and so you’ll be better to check with Fusion-IO support, or even directly with Dell since they officially support Fusion-IO.

  7. Worked with older driver …as this card was used before for rhel, unable to format it with vmfs…seeing some fio-format ..do you have any idea on how to use it?

    Thx for ur help!!

  8. You will be able to see it as a device in the “add storage” wizard and request to ESXi to format it as VMFS. It will overwrite the old partition…

  9. Right..but as the card was used for RHEL ..partition format is MBR and when i use add storage wizard,getting error as specified parameter was not correct.

    Hence i’ve format it using fio-format..any idea how to do that?

  10. Nope, sorry, never used fio-format during my tests…

  11. worked this..thx for ur help buddy…
    fio-format -b 512 /dev/fct0

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