Cisco UCS eNIC Driver Installation in a Boot-from-iSCSI Configuration

Last week I had the dubious pleasure of configuring boot-from-iSCSI in a Cisco UCS environment with four B200M3 blade servers and NetApp storage. The Cisco documentation is not exactly crystal clear, but there’s enough information on the Web to make it possible.

One issue I encountered in this effort was the inability to install the UCS eNIC driver through the CLI, as is my usual practice. Normally I use WinSCP to copy the VIB offline-bundle component to the /tmp folder on the host, and then issue this command (specific to this eNIC VIB version) from the CLI:

esxcli software vib install -d /tmp/enic_driver_2.1.2.38-offline_bundle-1023014.zip

The installation was failing with this message:

[InstallationError]
The transaction is not supported: VIB Cisco_bootbank_net-enic_2.1.2.381OEM.500.0.0.472560 cannot be live installed. VIB VMware_bootbank_net-enic_1.4.2.15a-1vmw.510.0.0.799733 cannot be removed live.
Please refer to the log file for more details.
~ #

I had a chicken-egg problem: The host was booting over iSCSI and apparently had locked the default ESXi net-enic VIB from removal as a result. In all other networking scenarios, where ESXi is not booting from iSCSI, I have not seen a failure using the CLI method–which I have used on dozens of hosts.

The solution was easy enough–I update the VIB through Update Manager instead of through the CLI. Patching the host using VUM installed this driver with no issues and boot-from-iSCSI continues to work flawlessly.

Another method that I didn’t attempt, but would have tried next, would have been an ESXi 5.1 custom installer ISO with the UCS eNIC driver embedded in it. I’ve done this before and it’s a great method of building or upgrading larger environments with many hosts.

Hope this helps you.

Rus

About virtualrush

CCIE #15025, VCP5, many certifications in Cisco, VMware, NetApp, Citrix, and others. I work for a midsize technology integrator.
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