Friday 5 November 2010

VMWare with Adaptec 29320 and Tandberg LTO3 tape drive

Just installed VMWare 4.1 (and later ESXi 5.0.0 U1) on a server with a new Adaptec 29320 SCSI card and Tandberg HH LTO3 external tape drive and VMWare reports the tape drive as dead. Nothing shows in the devices section under storage controllers but on the paths screen there is a dead path shown. I know the card is good because the same SCSI cart has a Certance LTO2 tape drive connected which is working fine. Whoot. Half hour of slightly concerned googling later and I come across these posts which explain a quick workaround.

Basically use the troubleshooting section of the local console to enable local tech support, logon via Alt-F1 and enter the following command:
# esxcli nmp satp addrule --satp VMW_SATP_LOCAL --driver="aic79xx" --description="Specific rule for Adaptec Card"
NOTE: for ESXi version 5 the above command does not work - the syntax has changed slightly. The following command worked for me though:
# esxcli storage nmp satp rule add --satp VMW_SATP_LOCAL --driver="aic79xx" --description="Specific rule for Adaptec Card"
Reboot server and the tape drive is live and good to assign to a virtual machine.

No idea why this happened for this specific hardware, assume it will be fixed in a future release of VMWare. For some reason the ESXi host does not know which driver to load for the Adaptec SCSI card and the line above forces ESXi to load the correct driver. (UPDATE: Unfortunately not yet fixed in ESXi 4.1U1 or ESXi 5.0.0U1)