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New Member

SD Cards not working in the B200 M3

We just bought and installed some B200 M3's.  We also purchased the SD Cards so that we could install ESXi on them.  We cannot see how to get the SD Cards to show up as a Local Disk option in the M3 servers...

Any help would be appreciated.

David

1 ACCEPTED SOLUTION

Accepted Solutions
Cisco Employee

Re: SD Cards not working in the B200 M3

Cisco Flexible Flash will be added in a future release of UCSM.

See the Features and Benefits section under Cisco Flexible Flash:

http://www.cisco.com/en/US/prod/collateral/ps10265/ps10280/ps12288/data_sheet_c78-700625.html

When this is added it should be mentioned in the release notes:

http://www.cisco.com/en/US/products/ps10281/prod_release_notes_list.html

23 REPLIES
Cisco Employee

Re: SD Cards not working in the B200 M3

Cisco Flexible Flash will be added in a future release of UCSM.

See the Features and Benefits section under Cisco Flexible Flash:

http://www.cisco.com/en/US/prod/collateral/ps10265/ps10280/ps12288/data_sheet_c78-700625.html

When this is added it should be mentioned in the release notes:

http://www.cisco.com/en/US/products/ps10281/prod_release_notes_list.html

New Member

SD Cards not working in the B200 M3

It's a little frustrating that Cisco has the USB and the SD Card slots, but no support... they are a little behind Dell and HP on this.

Thanks for answering my question

New Member

SD Cards not working in the B200 M3

What about the USB ports?  We can't see anything when we plug a USB drive into them either

Cisco Employee

Re: SD Cards not working in the B200 M3

For USB you will want to read over this:

http://kb.vmware.com/selfservice/microsites/search.do?language=en_US&cmd
=displayKC&externalId=1010574 

Basically VMware does not support booting from USB except when it is a configuration supported by the server vendor using purpouse built USB drives. Booting from a USB drive in the dongle is certainly not supported as the USB ports are meant for Keyboard/Mouse, and you would need a certified USB drive, since a normal USB drive will die due to getting worn out.

Even if you found a way to boot from USB, it would not be recommended for production.

You may want to look into iSCSI boot if you have the Broadcom or Cisco network adapters.

http://www.cisco.com/en/US/docs/unified_computing/ucs/sw/gui/config/guide/2.0/b_UCSM_GUI_Configuration_Guide_2_0_chapter_011101.html#concept_CFF6B18F18684915816935F89B62CCAC

VMware autodeploy might also get your servers booting without purchasing additional hardware:

http://blogs.vmware.com/vsphere/2012/01/understanding-the-auto-deploy-components.html

New Member

SD Cards not working in the B200 M3

Any ETA on when the SD/FlexFlash support will be added to UCS Manager?

New Member

SD Cards not working in the B200 M3

Booting from the usb DoK inside the B200 M3 works, I have deployed it at several customer sites.

This was confirmed to work with cisco TAC, the engineer I spoke to also said he will make sure the documantation is updated to reflect that it works.

Cisco Employee

SD Cards not working in the B200 M3

The documentation is still correct, and the bug that was filed for you was changed into an enhancement shortly after it was created since booting from FlexFlash is still not supported yet. You can track it here: CSCua56947

Also, looking through the bug you can already configure the server to boot from the FlexFlash by rebooting the server and pressing F2 when prompted, to enter the BIOS configuration menus.

Please take care when useing unsupported features as you may experience problems because it was never officially added as a feature. It might work with no problems but support options may be limited if you have difficulties.

If you are configureign this, please be careful that using this with a BIOS policy or boot order in the service profile could overwrite your boot order and require changing the boot order back manually. If you make some changes to the service profiles, it may be a good idea to verify that the servers will still reboot back into your OS so you do not have any avoidable surprises.

Cisco Employee

SD Cards not working in the B200 M3

Here are the part numbers for the USB drives:

UCS-USBFLSH-4GB=   (c260 only)

UCS-USBFLSH-S-4GB=

Also another issue you may run into is being unable to boot the server if you have any other USB drives installed anywhere in the server. For example if you had another USB flash drive inserted with the KVM dongle it might not boot.

New Member

SD Cards not working in the B200 M3

We ended up using the USB drives and we bought some from Best Buy down the road.  No reason to buy the Cisco ones, most any USB 2.0 device will work

Thanks for all your responses to this.

Cisco Employee

SD Cards not working in the B200 M3

Please be careful you don't buy USB drives that are too large to physically fit in the server. The location they are plugged in is rather small and not all USB drives will fit.

Please keep in mind that 3rd party USB drives are not supported by VMware unless the drives are approved by the server vendor. You may also find low quality USB drives quickly die due to wearing out the flash memory. Also, if you are building these for someone else, be extra careful that they don't believe they are getting Cisco parts so there isn't an unplesant surprise later if they try RMA them through Cisco, or learn they are not supported.

New Member

SD Cards not working in the B200 M3

Understood, we bought some small form factor USB that are ScanDisk, we knew not to buy the cheap stuff because this is running ESXi on their UCS servers that need to stay up until the SD cards are supported...  They fit perfectly and they work well.  The customer knows all of this and is okay with it.

Thanks,

David

New Member

SD Cards not working in the B200 M3

Any update on the SD support in 2.1? We have upgraded and cannot find this option in the boot policy, and ESX install cannot see the SD card.

New Member

SD Cards not working in the B200 M3

I just checked the release notes for 2.1, no mention of Flexible Flash yet.... not sure why they didn't support this in the 2.1 code, a little irritating, but nothing we can do I guess.

New Member

SD Cards not working in the B200 M3

So it is clear that Flash SD Card is not yet available/supported in b-200m3, but I still have not clear whether USB

UCS-USBFLSH-S-4GB is?? Can I boot ESXi from that USB? Can I buy it after the blade has already been purchased?

Thanks

Cisco Employee

SD Cards not working in the B200 M3

Internal USB support is there today - it's just not USCM configurable.  You're required to manage secondary boot devices from the BIOS at this stage. 

Not optimal I know, but it's coming in a future release - no ETA yet.

Robert

New Member

SD Cards not working in the B200 M3

Is there the possibility to at first instance Boot from SAN the ESXi and once the USB arrives on premises replicate the Boot LUN into the Cisco USB drive? Is it possible to do it without downtime?

Thanks,

Cisco Employee

SD Cards not working in the B200 M3

I am installing one blade to USB right now. When  I look in the boot order, it treats the USB key as a hard  disk, and it  automagically showed up under the  hard drive boot order  item so this  should just work with no special configuration needed.  Just be careful  that if something is not configured through UCSM, UCSM  won't have any  knoweldge of it and you will not be able to tell it is  booting from USB  instead of from hard disk in the GUI. Also I use those  tiny USB keys  that only stick out about 2 mm at home and they work  fine in rackmounts.  In blades the key has to be straight and no longer  than maybe 2-3  inches or it will be resting on components on the  motherboard.  Additionally if it is much wider than the usb connector in  any direction  it will not fit as there are parts of the blade that  would be in the  way.

Here is an example (with pictures) of the one  I use at home in  C240m3 rackmounts, but they are much cheaper if you  only get the 8 GB  or 16 GB versions. I got these since its a home server  and having a  failure even once a year due to a USB key dying is not a  problem for me  and I can also use these same USB keys in some other  servers for  installing Linux to USB since it has plenty of space:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=9SIA12K0F13305

Also,   I believe theres some improvements in ESXi 5.1 for APD scenarios on  the  boot LUN which might help if your USB key dies after a few years  since  the keys you buy from Computer stores down the street are usually  just a  normal MLC, or maybe even TLC USB key with no redundancy and  will  eventually die. It might be a good idea to keep spare USB keys  around,  or even swap the USB key every year or two to avoid having it  die at an  inconvienant time. In ESXi 4.1 the host would usually work  for a few  weeks at least without the boot LUN, but without HA it  eventually would  get into a pretty bad state where all your VM's were  still locked by the  dead Host, while the Host was unreachable from  vCenter or even a direct  connection with vSphere client and the only  way to fix it was to power  off the host and then manually re-import all  the VMs other hosts through  vCenter or wait for that host to finish  rebooting.

If  you want a more relaible USB key, you would need to make sure  it is  based on SLC flash, not MLC or even worse TLC since SLC flash  will last  ~10x as long, but also cost a few times more. This can be  worked around  if the flash drive had wear leveling technology, but most  do not.

This  is the first SLC USB key I could find in a  quick Google search, and it  is not that much cheaper than the Cisco USB  key, but maybe you can find a  smaller one somewhere else for cheaper:

http://www.mydigitaldiscount.com/mx-technology-16gb-usb-3.0-mx-es-series-slc-flash-drive-mxub3ses-16g/

If you find a cheap one somewhere, please let me know so I can buy some.

Here is one place you can just buy the Cisco USB key to add to the server:

http://www.cdwg.com/shop/search/Data-Storage-Products/Flash-Memory/USB-Thumb-Drives/Cisco-Systems/Cisco-Unified-Computing-D/result.aspx?w=TC2&b=CIS.CS5&SortBy=TopSellers

The description on that site says its just for rackmounts, but the part number is for all M3 servers, just make sure it has the -S- in the part number to indicate its the short version.

New Member

SD Cards not working in the B200 M3

Sorry, I put the question up in the thread...

Is there the possibility to at  first instance Boot from SAN the ESXi and once the USB arrives on  premises replicate the Boot LUN into the Cisco USB drive? Is it possible  to do it without downtime?

Thanks,

Cisco Employee

SD Cards not working in the B200 M3

Are you asking if you can replicate a SAN boot LUN to a USB drive without downtime?

If that's what you're asking  - no.  At least not with any UCSM only script.  You might find a way to use disk utilities, and a booted OS on the blade to replicate a LUN but it wouldn't be easy.

What's the reason for wanting to do this? 

Robert

New Member

SD Cards not working in the B200 M3

Assuming there's gonna be a downtime, how easy/complex is to replicate this boot LUN to the USB drive?

Thanks,

Cisco Employee

SD Cards not working in the B200 M3

Likely very complex.  It would require OS-installed software and would depend if your target array even supported it. 

I'm only guessing that its even possible. 

TBH it would much simpler & faster to just re-install the OS.

New Member

SD Cards not working in the B200 M3

Got it.

Thanks Robert

New Member

SD Cards not working in the B200 M3

For anyone still following this thread, "FlexFlash (SD Card) Enablement Support" was finally released in 2.1(2a) that came out on July 12th of this year.

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