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VMWare ESX 3 Boot Failure after Navisphere Agent Upgrade


Permalink 11:26:29 pm by guy, Categories: VMWare, Random Stuff

Today we had our maintenance Dell service and support visit to do the contractual firmware, software, and maintenance updates for our Dell/EMC SAN and all it’s associated connected devices. We installed our SAN one year ago and this was maintenance updates.

The tech updated the following:

  • Latest Flare code for the CLARiiON CX3-20’s two storage processors
  • Latest firmware for Brocade fiber switches
  • Latest Emulex HBA Firmware on all Windows and VMWare Hosts
  • Latest PowerPath software for all Windows Hosts
  • Latest Navisphere CLI software on all hosts
  • Latest Navisphere Agent installed on VMWare ESX 3 hosts

Everything went pretty well. I was very happy with the tech and his knowledge. The only real problem that we had was with the Navisphere Agent install on the ESX machines. The actual install appeared to go smoothly, however upon reboot the server hung on “Starting Navisphere Agent". Not good. Waited 15-20 minutes and still nothing. Reboot, same result. Very frustrating, nothing diagnostic in sight, just a hang on that step! Googled it with no similar hits. Then, seemingly arbitrarily after trying another reboot it worked. We had just reinstalled (again) and optimistically figured it was just a glitch.

Satisfied that it was a glitch we did another host without incident. Then, on the final host it happened again! I was ready to throw my arms in the air, but then I noticed that the consultant had left his USB memory stick in the USB port. He had been using USB device (instead of a CD) to bring over the HBA firmware, and Navisphere files for upgrading. I have seen wierd things happen during reboots (usually during POST) on other computers when an IPOD or other USB memory device is left plugged during a reboot. Anyway, I had him remove the USB key and we rebooted without incident.

Any thoughts on why a USB storage device might cause a problem like this?

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I'm a generalist, at least if I'm honest. In my job I am primarily a developer, but also a sysadmin, and (as little as possible) technical support. I know a little about a lot of things, a lot about some things, and everything about nothing. Here I will post random learnings...


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