VMware ESXi installation media: driver rollup ISO?

  • 7 May 2014
  • 9 replies

Userlevel 2
Badge +11
What's is the official stance on using the Driver Rollup ISOs VMware has been releasing? Can they be used if the ESXi version is in accordance with the Nutanix-approved version compatibility list?

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9 replies

Userlevel 4
Badge +19
Updates in 30 days, major releases 90 days. If you need a driver update I would log a ticket. In reality I would never touch them unless there is direction from Support. All performance metrics are controlled thru the releases.
Userlevel 1
Badge +9

Currently Nutanix does not support using the Driver Rollup ISO as the hypervisor installation media.

The current Nutanix supported versions of installation media for ESXi are as follows.
Please contact your account team for any additional questions regarding the initial setup of a Nutanix Cluster.

ESXi 5.0U2
ESXi 5.0U3
ESXi 5.1U1
ESXi 5.5GA

Note: Please update ESXi patches and drivers after installation.

The VMware Driver Rollup ISO can only be used as installation media. VMware's release notes state that they do not support using this media to attempt an upgrade of an ESXi host.


"Installation Notes for This Release
Important: The ESXi 5.5.0 Driver Rollup 1 is designed for fresh installations of ESXi hosts. VMware does not support using the ESXi 5.5.0 Driver Rollup 1 to upgrade an existing ESXi installation."

Arthur Perkins
Nutanix SRE
Userlevel 2
Badge +11
Hi Arthur,

Thanks for your reply.

I feel however that your reply is ambigious:
1. You say the Driver Rollup ISO is not supported
2. You also say 'update ESXi with patches and drivers after installation'

Wouldn't no. 2 result in (more or less) the same situation as no. 1 where I have an ESXi-host installed with the most recent drivers patches?

As a side note, I understand the install vs. upgrade argument with the Driver Rollup ISO, but an upgrade is not what I'm talking about; it's a fresh cluster install.
Userlevel 1
Badge +9
My intent was not be ambigious.

The Driver Rollup ISO is currently not supported by Nutanix.

Even if the Driver Rollup ISO was supported, it would still be recommended to update patches and drivers as they become available. I.E. ESXi HeartBleed patch.
Userlevel 2
Badge +11
It's still not clear to me :-)

So it's not supported to use the Driver Rollup ISO (which contains, say, driver A, B and C), but it is supported to use the vanilla install ISO (which doesn't contain driver A, B and C) and install driver A, B and C manually?

Again, the end result would be identical, I believe.
Userlevel 4
Badge +20
As Nutanix add VIBs to the installation media, using the Nutanix supported installation media (and only this one) then patching when everything works makes perfect sense to me.

A Nutanix node is not "a vSphere hypervisor on top of which you install a VM" it's a full bundle of hypervisor + CVM + all the bits and pieces needed for this to work.

What I'm trying to say is that you should not try to install the hypervisor yourself then attempt to install the Nutanix CVM on top. Just use Nutanix installation procedure that will install all the needed pieces (Hypervisor, drivers, pyNFS & other VIBs) in one fell swoop, then upgrade with VMware patchs if they are supported.

As there is no supported hardware other than what Nutanix offers, I belive Nutanix will provide new hardware drivers as they become available & have been tested by their QA team.

Userlevel 2
Badge +11
I get that you need to follow the exact install procedure with Phoenix or Foundation which adds all the specific Nutanix-features (such as ESXi configuration, multiple VIBs, additional drivers, etc.), but in my view, the ESXi installation media is just that, a vanilla install ISO.
From a Q&A perspective, I get that Nutanix will only support specific tested and tried installation media.

The addition Sylvain makes is that Nutanix won't need or won't test against all the (unneeded) drivers in the Driver Rollup ISO, and that any required additional drivers will be tested, supported and released by Nutanix.
With that perspective, the driver set in the Rollup ISO and the driver set released by Nutanix will actually differ, which is why the Driver Rollup ISO is not supported: the end result of installing with a vanilla installation ISO and update with the Nutanix-supported and Nutanix-released driver set will differ materially from installing with the Driver Rollup ISO.
Userlevel 2
Badge +11
Since I'm not running production yet, I've decided to reinstall all nodes with the vanilla installation ISO using Phoenix. In addition to the 'clean install hypervisor' option, do I need to choose the 'repair SVM (existing data preserved' option, too?
Userlevel 4
Badge +20
I don't think so.As far as I can tell by looking as the scripts this option launch, this is more used to recreate the partitions on the first SSD and re-creating the CVM internal structure/data.If your CVMs were fine before you started re-installing everything, chances are they still are.I think this option is targeted for the cases where you lost the first SSD of a node or otherwise messed with a CVM to the point where it is not usable.Again, this is my opinion based on what I can see/read of the scripts. When in doubt and in need of an official answer, ask Nutanix in a case :)Sylvain.