Adventures in VMWare on Refurb Dell R510

I purchased a refurb Dell R510 recently… and had quite the experience with it.

The Server I purchased didn’t come with a CD-ROM drive because it has 12 drive bays. This wasn’t a problem, I just was only expecting an 8 bay server, as the company I purchased it from only had the option to buy 8 drives with it. I also have a USB DVD-Rom laying around.

iDRAC Express doesn’t have support for consoling into your system.

Dell no longer sells licensing for iDRAC Enterprise for the R510. (too old)

None of my current desktop monitors have a VGA Input, however, the TV in my bedroom has a VGA slot.

It isn’t fun to try and take a TV off the wall by yourself, wait for the wife next time.

VMWare’s driver support is almost non-existent.

There is a VMWare compatibility guide. (https://www.vmware.com/resources/compatibility/search.php)

If you have a RAID card, (as least for my revision of the PERC) the normal generic download of VMWare does not include drivers for the card, and thus, will not see the drives.

There is no built-in easy way to add drivers to a VMWare install.

Hardware manufacturers build the drivers into VMWare, and VMWare has “branded” versions of VMWare you can download. (https://www.dell.com/support/article/en-us/sln288152/dell-technologies-customized-vmware-esxi-embedded-iso-image-availability-and-download-instructions?lang=en)

The most recent version with support for the Dell R510 is ESXi 5.5.

VCenter 7 refuses to work with ESXi 5.5

VCenter 6.7 refuses to work with ESXi 5.5 

Finding the right keywords to Google for upgrading your ESXi isn’t fun.

There isn’t a good way to upgrade ESXi from the ESXi web interface.

Putty is your friend.

ESXi warns you when you have SSH turned on.

It’s fairly easy to upgrade your ESXi to a new version if you have internet access (https://tinkertry.com/easy-update-to-latest-esxi)

VMWare 7 changed the way it does its driver support, so older drivers, like the RAID Card for the R510 no longer worked in ESXi 7.

The highest revision of ESXi that the Dell R510 can achieve is ESXi 6.7.

When you have VSphere running in a VM on a single server, it makes it very hard to update the ESXi host it is running on, because the update process wants to shut down any running VMs during the process of sending out the updates.

Additional Resources:
VMWare Users Group
https://www.vmug.com/home
Much easier to build a lab in VMWare Workstation… https://www.nakivo.com/blog/building-vmware-home-lab-complete/



Categories: VMWare

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