Sunday, September 26, 2010

hba / vmhba not showing up with ESXi 4.0 / 4.1

I ran into various problems while deploying a new server in an ESX cluster and I hope this post will help anyone who might run into the same problem.


Server: HP ProLiant DL360 G6

BIOS: ProLiant System BIOS – P64 (03/30/2010)

CPU: 2 x Intel CPU X5550 @ 2.67GHz

QPI: Speed: 6.4 GT/s

Onboard NIC: PCI Embedded HP NC382i PCIe DP Multifunction 1GB Adapter Port 1, 2 (IRQ 7, 11)

HBA (Host bus adapter): HP StorageWorks 42B PCI Fibre Channel Adapter IRQ 7, 11

Additional NIC: NC375T PCIe Quad Port Gigabit Server Adapter (IRQ: 7)


Other than having incorrect memory ordered and some other issues, I was unable to have ESXi 4.0.0 see the HP StorageWorks 42B HBA.

As shown in the screenshot below, I was unable to have ESXi 4.0.0 build 261974 see the vmhba after a fresh install.


After doing a few searches on Google and finding various posts about people having problems with installing 2 of the quad port cards but managed to get it going after upgrading the drivers or ESXi, I decided to try upgrading ESXi from 4.0.0 to 4.1.0 ( assuming that the newer ESXi would may have the right drivers for the HBA.

The upgrade went without a hitch but I was still unable to see the HBA after getting ESXi to version 4.1.0 so I went back to the internet to do some searches and found that there were ways to install additional drivers for ESXi and coincidentally, you use the VMware vSphere CLI to do it (see my previous post about why this was coincidental). The next step I did was to try and find the HBA drivers. Through reviewing the description the BOM, I find the description:

StorageWorks 42B - Host bus adapter - PCI Express low profile - 4Gb Fibre Channel (SW) - fiber optic - 2 ports

… which lead me to the following page on the HP site @:


The driver I thought would work was the:

VMware and Host Connectivity Manager (HCM) Installation Kit

…so I went ahead and downloaded this package:




I went ahead to try and execute the package with the command:

C:\Program Files\VMware\VMware vSphere CLI\bin> -server -username root -install -bundle c:\brocade_driver_esx40_v2-1-1-0.tar.gz

…but got the following message:

Please wait patch installation is in progress …

Failed to download metadata.Error extracting from /tmp/updatecache/brocade_driver_esx40_v2-1-1-0.tar.gz: File is not a zip


Seeing how it doesn’t look like the update is expecting a tar.gz file, I tried to extra the .tar.gz file into a folder, then zipping it back up to try again:



Unfortunately, that didn’t work either:

Please wait patch installation is in progress …

Failed to download metadata.Error extracting from /tmp/updatecache/ “There is no item named ‘’ in the archive”


This was when I went back to the package I downloaded for the ESXi 4.0.0 update to 4.1.0 and found that the package indeed had a package:


Browsing around the package I downloaded from the HP site and not finding a file made me suspect that I probably downloaded some other package that was not meant for ESXi updates.

Realizing that perhaps I should first try to ensure that this HBA was on the HCL list, I went ahead to try and find it on VMware’s HCL:




Based on what I found on the HCL, it does look like it’s supported so I went back to the VMware downloads section to try and find drivers offered directly from that site. What I found was the following:


I was a bit confused as to which one to download because I was not able to find a 4Gb Fibre Channel HBA option and the only option close to it was the:

VMware ESX/ESXi 4.X Driver CD for Brocade 8Gb Fibre Channel HBA


Since I wouldn’t know if I don’t try, I went ahead to download that package:


VMware ESX/ESXi 4.X Driver CD for Brocade 8Gb Fibre Channel HBA

This driver CD release includes support for version of the Brocade BFA driver on ESX/ESXi 4.0. This BFA driver supports products based on the Brocade 825, 815, 425, and 415 Fibre Channel host bus adapters (HBA).


Build Number

Release Date

Drivers & Tools

Language Support

This download contains the following components.
Hide Details

ESX/ESXi 4.X Brocade bfa Driver
File type: iso

The download gave me the following ISO package:



I opened the package with WinRAR and found the following:








Looking into the offline-bundle folder, I found the following package:

Drilling into that .zip package showed that it contains the following:



This was when I was sure that this package was the one I wanted so i went ahead and extracted the package then went back to vSphere CLI to try and update the drivers with it:

C:\Program Files\VMware\VMware vSphere CLI\bin> -server 172.20.70

.13 -username root -install -bundle c:\vmware-esx-drivers-scsi-bfa_400.


Enter password:

Please wait patch installation is in progress ...

The update completed successfully, but the system needs to be rebooted for the c

hanges to be effective.

C:\Program Files\VMware\VMware vSphere CLI\bin>



Once the update completed, I went and fired up VI Client, connected to the host, navigated to the storage adapters section and now I can see the vmhba listed!


Now that I got the HBA to show up on the host, I knew I needed to do one last step and that was to ensure that I did use the right driver because once this goes into production, we won’t be able to do any more testing with it.

Within the storage adapters section, ESXi lists the adapters as Brocade-425/825:


… so I went ahead to look up the reference guide on the Brocade site to determine if there was a cross reference guide available and indeed there was:


As indicated on the guide in the above screenshot, the Brocade 425 actually corresponds to the StorageWorks 42B HP model.


I’m surprised that the ESXi 4.1.0 package did not seem to load this driver during the install so I hope this helps anyone out there that may run into this or a similar problem in the future.


cyberob105 said...

Excellent writeup I struggled with this for a day before reading your blog. Thank you!

Terence Luk said...

Thanks! It makes taking time to write the post worth while when I'm told it has helped someone.

H said...

Terence Luk, Great post. Save us so much time. Thanks for your efforts!

Anonymous said...

Thanks a lot Terence, i worked on this half a morning trying to go through the esxi host mounting cd's and playing with Linux(I am totally novice in Linux.)

Found your article and it worked like a charm, thanks again!

Anonymous said...

THANK YOU so much!!! I gone the same way, with all the downloads and all the problems. But I haven´t found the "offline-bundles"-Folder!

Great work!

Timothy said...

great post! i was trying to install the drivers via vCenter update manager. wouldn't go said drivers where not needed. used the CLI to install to 4.0 U1 then used Update manager to upgrade to 4.1

FYI: there is a new firmware out but i couldn't find a driver that would upload. issues with metadata file.

Anonymous said...

Good post. I followed the guide as I have the a very similar setup (same fiber card) and it seemed to work, but under storage adapters it says UNKNOWN instead of Brocade 425/
And gives no link even though it is connected. I'm assuming that you didn't have to do anything special after the installation to enable the card, it just worked straight after the reboot?

Terence Luk said...

Hi, you're correct that I didn't have to do anything special. What I would recommend at this point is if you've downloaded the same driver I used and provided, check to see if there is a newer driver available. Also, what ESX/ESXi version are you using? I was using 4.1 in this example.

Anonymous said...

Hi, I am running ESXi 4.0, since the drivers (vmware-esx-drivers-scsi-bfa_400. tried using would not install on ESXi 4.1. I have installed the drivers you used and the status has not changed display wise, it still says UNKNOWN, but now my SAN switch has link so I guess it works. Have not had time to test it yet.

Cedric said...

Thanks dude

you're the best

Anonymous said...

This saved my hours of searching around.


Anonymous said...


any clue what to do if ESX Host Utilities 5.2.1 DO NOT find the 415 Brocade ? They work fine in the vSphere Client but i cant get the utils to work.

Anonymous said...

Don't forget, you need to put your hosts in maintenance mode to install the drivers.

Sergio said...


Sergio Alves

Obi1976 said...

Hi Terence. Great explanation.

We've been in a mess 'cause we couldn't make the ESXi see the SMU. Now we can see both FC devices, but no way to connect with SMU. Any idea?

Sean said...

Thanks Terence. That was a big help.

Anonymous said...

Many thanks!!
I spent 6h to this issue before find your topic really usefull.