Using Qlogic FCoE adapters with vSphere

Arcticle updated on 10th of January 2011, driver download links updated
Article updated on 18th of September 2010, added CIM provider installation example

This article is about vSphere 4.0, VMware did drop a ball with vSphere 4.1 as Qlogic 8100 adapter is NOT supported on initial release on 4.1, support is promised for 4.1 update 1. There is a way to make Qlogic drivers work on vSphere 4.1 but it is not officially supported, read my blog entry about this http://v-reality.info/2010/08/qlogic-10gbe-cna-driver-installation-bug-on-esx-4-1/

FCoE adapter is called CNA, Converged Network Adapter. In our case chosen CNA was Qlogic 8100 dual port model, those of you who are using IBM hardware get this adapter under “Qlogic 10Gb CNA for IBM System x” label. Qlogic 8100 adapter, like most FCoE adapters I have seen, has modular SFP+ ports so failed transceiver can be swapped without replacing whole CNA.

Some extra effort during installation is required because vSphere 4.0 does not ship with drivers for this adapter, VMware has drivers up for download at downloads.vmware.com instead.

There are two required drivers for this adapter, one for SAN and one for LAN connectivity.

In addition to drivers you should install Qlogic FCoE CIM provider which is available at Qlogic.com site

You have two options to install these drivers

  1. During ESX installation using driver CD provided at links above
  2. Extract driver zip files from driver CDs and transfer them to installed ESX server Service Console, given that you have network access to Service Console

Driver CD usage instructions are as stated at vmware.com support

  1. Place the ESX installation DVD in the DVD drive of the host.
  2. Accept the terms of the license agreement.
  3. Select a keyboard type.
  4. When prompted for Custom Drivers, select Yes to install custom drivers.
  5. Click Add to eject the ESX installation DVD.
  6. Place the driver CD in the DVD drive of the ESX host.
  7. Select driver module to import drivers to the ESX host.
  8. Click Next to continue.
    A dialog box displays the following message: Load the system drivers.
  9. Click Yes. After loading the driver module, continue installing ESX. After the drivers are installed you are prompted to swap the driver CD with the ESX installation DVD.

If you have already deployed the ESX server and have network access to Service Console for example using legacy Ethernet, extract driver zip files from folder "offline-bundle" on driver CD and copy them to Service Console.

To install Qlogic FCoE CIM provider unzip qlogic_fchba_provider_vmware_esx40x-1.3.2.zip and copy extracted offline-bundle.zip to ESX Service Console.

Login to Service Console and install drivers and CIM provider with "esxupdate", commands show below

# esxupdate --bundle=qlg.831.k1.23vmw-offline_bundle-207277.zip update

qlg.831.k1.23vmw-offline_bundle-207277.zip      ############################### [100%]
Installing vmware-esx-drivers-scsi-qla2xxx      ############################### [100%]
Cleaning up vmware-esx-drivers-scsi-qla2xxx     ############################### [100%]

Running [/usr/sbin/vmkmod-install.sh]...
ok.
The update completed successfully, but the system needs to be rebooted for the
changes to be effective.

# esxupdate --bundle=qlgc-qlge-100.18-offline_bundle-230584.zip update

qlgc-qlge-100.18-offline_bundle-230584.zip      ############################### [100%]
Unpacking vmware-esx-drivers-net-qlge-400.1.0.0.3.. ########################### [100%]
Installing vmware-esx-drivers-net-qlge          ############################### [100%]

Running [/usr/sbin/vmkmod-install.sh]...
ok.
The update completed successfully, but the system needs to be rebooted for the
changes to be effective.

# esxupdate --bundle=offline-bundle.zip update --nosigcheck

Unpacking vmware-esx-provider-qlogic-fchba-provider.vib  ###################### [100%]
Installing qlogic-fchba-provider                ############################### [100%]
Cleaning up qlogic-fchba-provider               ############################### [100%]
Running [/usr/sbin/cim-install.sh]...
ok.
Running [/usr/sbin/vmkmod-install.sh]...
ok.
The update completed successfully, but the system needs to be rebooted for the
changes to be effective.

[[email protected] ~]# reboot

After successful driver installation you should see Qlogic10 Gigabit Ethernet adapter

Qlogic 10 Gigabit Ethernet adapter

and Qlogic 10GbE FCoE storage adapter

Qlogic 10 GbE FCoE storage adapter

There you have it, FCoE SAN and LAN adapters are ready for use. In this deployment I decided to use on-board legacy GbE ports for Service Console access and 10 GbE FCoE for virtual machine and VMotion traffic. We might end up using only FCoE on some later deployments, but not until ESX will ship with required drivers.

10 Replies to “Using Qlogic FCoE adapters with vSphere”

  1. Thanks for the post.

    The interop issue you mention with regard to CIM Providers is caused by the fact that the FCoE for 2nd Gen CNAs is not supported inbox by ESX and there is an interop issue with the older CIM Provider that ships inbox in ESX 4.0.x and the much newer FCoE driver for the 2nd Gen 8100 Series CNAs.

    Users deploying the 8100 Series CNA driver in ESX-ESXi 4.0.x MUST update/replace the ESX/ESXi Inbox FC CIM Provider with the QLogic FC-FCoE CIM Provider (v1.3.2 or later version). Users can obtain the updated provider in the API Libraries section of the VMware ESX-ESXi driver page for the appropriate 8100 Series CNAs, located at the website

    http://driverdownloads.qlogic.com/QLogicDriverDownloads_UI/SearchByProduct.aspx?ProductCategory=322&Product=1102&Os=167

    (check in the API Libraries section on above URL)

    Upgrading to the new CIM Provider will address the issue you mention with respect to CIM Provider interoperability issues.

    Hope this helps.

  2. Sam,

    Thank you for your insight, I will update post with this information.

    I have question for you, should optical version of 8100 CNA work with SFP+ twinax cables?

    We have some SFP+ twinaxial cables provided by Cisco as part of their Nexus 5000 shipment, when I tested twinax instead of fiber all I got working was LAN, I did not get SAN connectivity at all.

    1. Hi Thakala,

      did you finally get it working? I have exactly the same issue with last versions os CIM provider, CNA driver and twinax cables.

      REgards,

      Ruben

      1. For CIM yes, there is updated CIM provider available at QLogic site with installation instructions, http://bit.ly/aUUGcj. Twinax never worked and I didn’t receive any answer to my queries so I swapped it to fiber with optical modules.

  3. What Im not finding anywhere is how you would go about updating the drivers on a new esxi 4.0 host that is only using the FCOE connections. Any suggestions?

  4. Hi Tommi,

    I just configured Qlogic QLE 8242 Converged Network Adapter with VMware ESXI 4.0.
    As you mentioned in attached picture, i am able to see Qlogic 10 gig Ethernet Adapter & also Qlogic 10Gig FCOE storage adapter in the Vmware Vcenter.

    But After installing Vcenter Plugin & CIM Provider, i am not able to see the Qlogic Adapter tab on Vcenter which was used to go to Qlogic Management window to configure Qlogic Adapter Setting in GUI mode.

    I followed read me document for Vcenter & CMM Provider http://driverdownloads.qlogic.com/QLogicDriverDownloads_UI/SearchByProduct.aspx?ProductCategory=322&Product=1157&Os=167

    But the management tool is not visible in my Vcenter. Please let me know how to set this management tool with Vcenter Plugin & CIM provider

    Regards
    Selva

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