Installing vSphere 5.1 on HP ProLiant DL360e Gen8

After much teeth gnashing and colorful language directed at this server, I was finally able to successfully install vSphere 5.1 on a new DL360e. I won’t cover ALL of my failures, but will offer up the end game and the main points of failure.

Problem 1 – active iLO Ethernet connection

HP forces use of their proprietary iLO system (at least on the initial turn up). During this phase, you MUST have an active Ethernet connection to the iLO port on the server. Either DHCP or static is fine, but a connection is a must otherwise you will not be able to proceed past the Smart Array configuration. You can turn off iLO management after this, essentially turning it into a standard unmanaged server. NOTE: During a previous HP server turn-up, I realized that iLO has to be disabled if you use non-HP RAM. To do this, you must boot into iLO and disable iLO BEFORE you swap in non-HP RAM. I fought with that for 2 days!

Problem 2 – Hypervisor installation

This assumes you use iLO for installation of the Hypervisor. I opted NOT to disable iLO and install from a boot disc and instead installed the Hypervisor from within iLO.

The DL360e requires a custom version of vSphere. You can build your own using the HP driver package, but it’s easier to just download the pre-packaged ISO from here.

For some strange reason, it would not find the ISO image until I had LINK on the first Ethernet interface. I think this is probably limited to servers with dedicated iLO Ethernet interfaces.

Failure 1 – Burned a bootable CD from the ISO image. iLO didn’t recognize it as an install source.

Failure 2 – “Burned” a bootable USB from the ISO image using UNetbootin. Just like the CD, iLo didn’t recognize this either.

Failure 3 – Copied the ISO image (as a file) to a USB flash drive. iLO didn’t recognize this.

Success! – Reformatted the USB flash drive using plain old FAT filesystem and then copied the ISO image file to the flash drive. iLO DID recognize this and was able to install the hypervisor!

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