After upgrading my ESXi whitebox server using the official ESXi 5.0 install DVD I noticed that the health status monitoring for my PERC 6i RAID card was not showing up anymore. Everything else went smoothly during the upgrade and the test VMs all powered on from the datastore on the PERC 6i without issues. When checking health status only the processors and software components were listed. As it turns out VMware has removed the vendor specific VIBs for health monitoring in ESXi 5.0.
In order to restore health monitoring for the PERC 6i to the health status screen you will need the latest LSI offline bundle VIB for ESXi 5.0. I tried using the Dell OpenManage offline bundle but it stopped displaying all monitoring after the reboot and the system would not reset the sensors. After removing the installed OpenManage VIB and after a few hours of scouring the internet I managed to find the solution. The Dell PERC 6i cards use the LSI MegaRAID chipset for their controller.
LSI’s latest offline bundle package supports a variety of cards. After finding the proper version (500.04.V0.24) I was able to locate the download on one of the other controller card pages. Doing a search for "LSI 500.04.V0.24 site:lsi.com" on Google brought up several results. I selected the first result for the MegaRAID SAS 9260CV-4i - LSI and scrolled down to the Management Tools section. Here you will find VIB downloads for 4.x and 5.x. Download the file for ESXi 5.x from any of the listed card pages. You will need to extract the offline bundle from the archive otherwise it will not install and you will get errors about being unable to load the index.xml file.
You will need VMware vSphere CLI installed on a machine. The update requires maintenance mode and a host reboot so if you are using a vMA make sure it's on another physical host. Using CLI on my Windows desktop machine I first copied the extracted offline bundle zip to the root of the ESXi host datastore via the vSphere Client. Then on the machine with CLI installed I opened command prompt and browsed to the folder C:\Program Files (x86)\VMware\VMware vSphere CLI\bin.
I put the ESXi host in maintenance mode using the following command,
vicfg-hostops.pl -server x.x.x.x -operation enter
Note: Several times CLI returned connection errors or said that operation is a mandatory argument. I found that pasting the command was the culprit and manually typing in each command solved the issue. Also note that the VMs must be powered off to enter maintenance mode.
Update: If you have the latest patches installed on your ESXi 5.0 host you may get a cryptic error when trying to put the host in Maintenance Mode from CLI,
Fault string: fault.RestrictedVersion.summary
Fault detail: RestrictedVersionFault
This appears to be a bug fix done to fully disable CLI on free hosts. Use the vCenter client to put the host in Maintenance Mode.
After the server was in maintenance mode I verified the status by running the following command,
vicfg-hostops.pl -server x.x.x.x -operation info
Once the host was in maintenance mode I ran the following command to install the vib offline bundle,
esxcli.exe -s x.x.x.x software vib install -d [datastore]VMW-ESX-5.0.0-LSIProvider-500.04.V0.24-261033-offline_bundle-456178.zip
When running the command and supplying credentials CLI sat at a flashing cursor for a few minutes. If it's going to throw an error it will do it right away, otherwise it's installing and you should leave it alone. There are no status updates until the install has completed.
Once the install was complete the following was returned,
Now you need to restart the ESXi host in order for the changes to work. You can also do this with CLI running the following command,
vicfg-hostops.pl -server x.x.x.x -operation reboot
After the host was done rebooting I logged in with the vSphere Client and checked the Health Status. It now shows the Storage category and displays all of the information related to my Dell PERC 6i including battery status.
I removed the host from maintenance mode and powered all of the test VMs on without any issues. I hope this helps any users out there upgrading with a PERC 6i RAID controller that want to retain the ability to monitor their storage array.