How to Troubleshoot ESX 2.5.x by loading vmkernel manually

# chkconfig vmware off This will let you boot into ESX without starting the VMkernel. Reboot the server and allow it to boot into the standard “ESX” mode. You will notice that on the next reboot that although ESX was selected, the typical VMware services will be skipped. This provides you with a clean slate to manually step through the process of loading the VMkernel to narrow down the root cause of your boot issues. 1. Load the vminx module:
# /sbin/insmod -s -f vmnixmod You will get a message about tainted drivers, which can be ignored.
2. Load the VMKernel itself:
# /usr/sbin/vmkloader /usr/lib/vmware/vmkernel 3. Allow the VMkernel to run Linux drivers:
# /usr/sbin/vmkload_mod -e /usr/lib/vmware/vmkmod/vmklinux linux As we understand it, this is the step in which the final transformations are occurring to load the management console as a virtual machine.
4. Make sure all devices are enumerated:
# /usr/sbin/vmkchdev -n The next steps would be system specific based on the hardware installed in the system. This is typically where we see a majority of the issues while loading the VMkernel. If the system freezes while loading a specific module, you have narrowed down your issue to a very specific portion of the boot process and further investigation may be performed with VMware support or other methods. To review which modules need to be loaded, check the contents of your vmkmodule.conf file:
# cat /etc/vmware/vmkmodule.conf We will utilize one of our servers as an example configuration. vmklinux linux
nfshaper.o nfshaper
bcm5700.o vmnic
e1000.o vmnic
aic79xx.o aic79xx We are now going to load the drivers one by one using vmkload_mod. Since the vmklinux module was previously loaded in step 3 above, it is not necessary here. If a module is commented out, it is not required in this step.
Load the packet shaper driver (This is disabled by default) # /usr/sbin/vmkload_mod /usr/lib/vmware/vmkmod/nfshaper.o shaper Load an Intel e1000 network adapter
# vmkload_mod /usr/lib/vmware/vmkmod/e1000.o vmnic Load a Broadcom BCM5700 network adapter
# vmkload_mod /usr/lib/vmware/vmkmod/bcm5700.o vmnic Load a SCSI adapter
# vmkload_mod /usr/lib/vmware/vmkmod/aic79xx.o aic79xx If any one module hangs the system, you have found your culprit. A complete list of steps followed should be documented in the event a support call needs to be opened with VMware. The above steps will help narrow problems to a specific area. If the system starts as expected without error in the above process VMware support should be consulted to help further analyze why a particular system may hang during its boot process.
When all is said and done, do not forget to re-enable the VMkernel services on startup with the following command:
# chkconfig vmware on]]>

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