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GA-970A-UD3:10 minute delay booting esxi 5.0

IsNull

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GA-970A-UD3:10 minute delay booting esxi 5.0
« on: November 05, 2011, 03:51:20 pm »
System:
GA-970A-UD3
Phenon II X4 955 Black 3.2GHz (default speed and voltage)
2X 4GB Mushkin silverline DDR3 1600 1.5v 9-9-9-24 (SPD timings)
NVidia MX4000 PCI Video
Connected to SB950 in AHCI mode:
 Seagate 7200.7 80GB (SATA 0)
 WD Caviar Blue 1TB (SATA 5)
 WD Caviar Black 1TB (SATA 6)


Problem:
I have installed esxi/vsphere 5.0 to the Seagate hard drive, and there is a very lengthy delay after POST before the OS will load. Specifically, just after the drive controller initiallizes but before what I believe is a motherboard generated "Loading Operating System ..." message appears, the screen is black with a blinking cursor for 10 minutes. For the first 2.5 minutes of this 10 minute delay, the hard drive activity light is constantly lit. Once this delay is over, the "Loading Operating System..." message finally flashes and then ESXI loads and everything functions completely normally.

If I disconnect the Seagate drive where esxi is installed, and then connect a thumb drive and install esxi there instead, everything boots normally without delay. Whenever the Seagate drive with esxi is connected there is a delay, even if the boot priority is set to the thumb drive with esxi. Another side note, once I reconnect the Seagate and attempt to boot with the thumb drive, then remove the thumb drive and go back to booting from the Seagate, it will no longer boot, is hangs on the blinking cursor for over 30 minutes. I have to disconnect the Seagate and let it attempt to boot with no OS drive once before I can successfully boot from esxi on the Seagate again.

I initially thought this might be an issue with the seagate drive, but I found reference to another person with the same problem using a 990 series board:
http://communities.vmware.com/message/1857608#1857608

Any help would be greatly appreciated.

absic

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Re: GA-970A-UD3:10 minute delay booting esxi 5.0
« Reply #1 on: November 05, 2011, 04:23:58 pm »
Hi there,

I don't know enough about esxi/vsphere but the fact that it works OK from a USB Pendrive but struggles from a standard HDD could indicate a problem with BIOS and the way it is reading the information.

I would recommend that you contact Gigabyte Technical Support about this issue as they may be able to offer an explanation for the problem you are facing.
Remember, when all else fails a cup of tea and a good swear will often help! It won't solve the problem but it will make you feel better.

teknology9

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Re: GA-970A-UD3:10 minute delay booting esxi 5.0
« Reply #2 on: November 05, 2011, 04:30:54 pm »
Hi,

Have you visited the vmware virtulisation software site? Well I had look and found this article which may help:

http://kb.vmware.com/selfservice/microsites/search.do?language=en_US&cmd=displayKC&externalId=2005099

There is also a compatibility guide which may be of help also:

http://www.vmware.com/resources/compatibility/search.php

The issue may be with your processor as vmware state "You have a 64-bit processor. VMware ESXi 5.0 only installs and runs on servers with 64-bit x86 CPUs. It also only supports LAHF and SAHF CPU instructions. These are known 64-bit processors: ◦All AMD Opteron processors"

It also may be  a good idea to email vmware and ask them the same question, please post back as it might be useful for others in the future.

I hope this helps

Teknology9
« Last Edit: November 05, 2011, 04:39:54 pm by teknology9 »
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IsNull

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Re: GA-970A-UD3:10 minute delay booting esxi 5.0
« Reply #3 on: November 06, 2011, 01:39:28 am »
I would recommend that you contact Gigabyte Technical Support about this issue as they may be able to offer an explanation for the problem you are facing.

Thanks for the input, support ticket submitted. If I get a resolution I'll be sure to post back.

IsNull

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Re: GA-970A-UD3:10 minute delay booting esxi 5.0
« Reply #4 on: November 06, 2011, 02:04:06 am »
It also may be  a good idea to email vmware and ask them the same question, please post back as it might be useful for others in the future.

I hope this helps

Teknology9

You obviously invested some time in trying to help me, and I am more than grateful.

 I am definitely trying to run vsphere on unsupported consumer grade hardware, and accept that I will face some challenges and disappointments. I am working from community based compatibility lists, and so far this appears to be the only snag I've hit. If I can't get resolution on this issue, then so be it: I'll just install to a thumb drive and he quite content with that minor compromise.

Again, thanks for the help.


IsNull

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Re: GA-970A-UD3:10 minute delay booting esxi 5.0
« Reply #5 on: November 09, 2011, 08:23:13 pm »
Quote
Dear customer,

Issue not replicate on our testing lab. If Win7 and Server 2008 R2 boots normal it shouldn't be mother board or bios issue. Please contact ESXI OS tech support for advice.

Best regards,

Gigabyte technical support team.

Well, how do you argue with a motherboard manufacturer that says the problem is with the OS? Like this: the delay occurs before the OS even starts to load. The delay occurs before the motherboard can figure out which OS to load, and that is definitely a motherboard or BIOS issue.

I would have preferred a more direct response, such as: "Gigabyte makes no assertion that this board, or the other members of this board's family, will support esxi. Gigabyte is under no obligation to investigate or resolve the issue either. So there. Perhaps you should move along."

Well, perhaps I better had.

Conclusion - The following Gigabyte motherboards will most likely not boot esxi/vsphere 5.0 from a hard drive without a 10+ minute delay:
GA-990FXA-UD3
GA-990FXA-UD5
GA-990FXA-UD7
GA-990XA-UD3
GA-970A-U3
GA-970A-UD3

Re: GA-970A-UD3:10 minute delay booting esxi 5.0
« Reply #6 on: November 15, 2011, 10:45:52 pm »
Having exactly the same issue on Intel based PH67-DS3-B3 i took some time testing this and think this has to be a motherboard hardware/bios problem (Hybrid EFI maybe?).

The system will not boot any disk/usb/cdrom without the 10 minutes delay if ESXi-system-HD is attached at any sata port. Also there was an ESXi system patch released for a seemingly related issue with long boot time, but applying it did nothing for my boot time.

Suspecting the partition scheme, as ESXi uses GPT, I put the disk in another computer and removed all partitions except the first EFI-partition which I mounted to delete all boot files (all done with diskpart). So now my disk is all but empty except an (also) empty 4MB EFI-partition at the beginning of the disk – still no go.

However if I change the EFI-partition type to a basic partition the system will boot in seconds (not just off the GPT disk as it needs the EFI-partition, obviously). Nevertheless the ESXi will install and boot just fine from an usb with the same partition scheme.

Hopefully there will be a bios update resolving this - someday.
Cheers Mauritsius

Re: GA-970A-UD3:10 minute delay booting esxi 5.0
« Reply #7 on: November 16, 2011, 09:30:13 pm »
Some more rantings…

Did one final test with a disk that never been near ESXi, made it GPT with one EFI partition at the beginning = no boot.

However I was wrong about the disk needing an EFI partition to boot. Seems like diskpart was corrupting the partition when changing type. Instead I used GParted live and gdisk in terminal to change the disk type to basic (Microsoft Basic Data) and now ESXi boots of the disk without a hiccup. In fact you can actually use the GParted app and remove the boot flag (which just change the type to basic).

Cheers Mauritsius

Gloup_Gloup

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Re: GA-970A-UD3:10 minute delay booting esxi 5.0
« Reply #8 on: November 17, 2011, 02:57:59 am »
Hi Friends,

I do not have a solution for you, because i have a same questions about this topic, in Intel section.
http://forum.giga-byte.co.uk/index.php/topic,7371.msg58695.html#msg58695
 
Have you time for help me, is not emergency, but appreciate your infos about this.

Gloup_Gloup
« Last Edit: November 17, 2011, 03:02:52 am by Gloup_Gloup »

Re: GA-970A-UD3:10 minute delay booting esxi 5.0
« Reply #9 on: April 25, 2012, 10:47:04 am »
The only Solution I found for many Gigabyte boards, which works wonderfully, is to install ESXI 5 on a USB Pen Drive and set the system to boot from that.  No delay what so ever.  I have tried this with two different Gigabyte mobo's including the GA-970A-UD3 and it works like a charm.

Re: GA-970A-UD3:10 minute delay booting esxi 5.0
« Reply #10 on: October 14, 2012, 08:23:02 am »
No bleep from Bios. No Boot. No stand off posts shorting. Everything disconnected. Removed Ram & VGA card & still no bleeps from Bios. M/B system fan connecter not used as three system fans fed from new Cosair 600W PSU via Molex connecter in Gigabyte Aurora case

G

Re: GA-970A-UD3:10 minute delay booting esxi 5.0
« Reply #11 on: August 13, 2013, 03:48:39 am »
I know it's been a couple of years since the OP posted, but I think this is a fairly googled thread so here goes.

Mauritsius's solution works!

The "Loading Operating System" delay is due to the Gigabyte motherboard (a bunch of 'em are affected, by the way) not being able to properly use the EFI partition to boot ESXi (other OSes can have this problem, too, if they use GPT partition schemes). Instead it stays stuck like a retard until it decides to engage legacy boot mode with BIOS (mauritsius, if you're still around, correct me if I'm wrong).
So because the BIOS doesn't use the EFI partition at all to boot ESXi, you can just make it "invisible" or irrelevant to it, by changing the EFI partition's type code from EFI (EF00) to Microsoft Basic (0700).

This is easily achieved with GParted. Supposing your HDD is labeled /dev/sda, follow the instructions below:
  • Get the live image and make it a bootable USB
  • Boot it up, and look up your disk with the GParted GUI, check for that 4MiB partition that starts on sector 64, and has the boot flag - that's the EFI partition that's causing the problem.
  • Launch a terminal and open gdisk for your device with the following command: sudo gdisk /dev/sda. It should tell you that the drive contains an MBR partition scheme in "protected" mode (that's the legacy part of a GPT scheme) and a GPT partition scheme.
  • When it asks for a command, type p to print the partition table and make sure you have the right drive
  • When it asks again, type t to change a partition type code, and select partition number 1
  • Change the code from EF00 to 0700 (EFI to Microsoft Basic)
  • Exit the terminal, go to GParted GUI, right-click on the first partition of /dev/sda and click 'Manage Flags'
  • Untick the 'boot' flag

BAM, done, done and done. Now that the EFI is no longer visible, it won't get stuck trying to understand it at boot time.
Yes, mauritsius is that awesome.

Cheers all