Installing ESXi on Huawei : RH5885H V3 (FusionServer)

huawei_logo

Writing a blog post on a Huawei server seems strange but with Huawei growing in popularity, especially in the South African market it’s probably overdue.

In this post I will be covering my experience with my first Huawei server and detailing some issues I experienced during my deployment.

I’ve had the opportunity to work with the FusionServer (RH5885H v3). Now for those who do not know what “FusionServer” is, it’s basically Huawei punting virtualization on this specific hardware, whether it be VMware,Hyper-V or other popular hypervisors. They probably wont admit to it, but I’m sure that they would prefer you to run their virtualization software “Fusion Sphere”, anyway I will leave it at that. If you would like to know more about FusionSphere refer to their site here.

This is the maximum configurable specifications for this server.

rh5885h_specs

As you can see it’s able to take a good amount of resources. The spec that I used was 4 sockets 15 cores and 2TB of memory.

Installing ESXi.

According to Huawei, you will need to build your own ESXi image and inject all their drivers into the image. I found this to be a bit of a pain as most vendors I’ve worked with do this for all supported versions of ESXi. I’m hoping that I can convince Huawei to start doing this.

I used Huawei’s official OS installation guide to build a customized ESXi image. The official OS installation guide can be found here.

You will need four components to build the customized ESXi image.

  • ESXi-Customizer – Available here.
    Andreas Peetz has done some awesome work on this tool. I also recommend you use the new PowerCli version and not the old version referenced on the Huawei documentation.
  • The correct ESXi version you would like to install.
    Available from on VMware’s site. You need to use the offline .zip bundle.
  • The Huawei driver installation package.
    Available from Huawei’s site, follow the Huawei OS Install guide.
  • PowerCli 5.x or later.
    Also available from VMware’s site.

You can follow this video for detailed “how to” guide to create your customized image.

 

Preparing the Hardware

Before you start installing  ESXi from your newly created media, you need to make some changes to the servers BIOS and more importantly, update the BIOS firmware. I found that the BIOS was missing a crucial feature that would allow it to be added to an “EVC” enabled cluster.

To update the firmware on your BIOS speak to your Huawei representative to assist. You need to ensure that you are not on a firmware version older than  (U117) V322 .

huawei_bios_fw

Next, you need to configure the default options to enable virtualization on the BIOS as you would any other server. The one thing on this BIOS you need to make sure is enabled is this :

huawei_biosNOTE: Huawei thought it would be a good idea to have a default password on the BIOS which is “Huawei123$”

 

This is the reason we had to update the BIOS. This option is not available on the older firmware version and as I mentioned before, you wont be able to add this host to an “EVC” enabled cluster without this option “enabled”

Once you have completed all these steps you can start installing your server as normal.

 

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