IBM’s customized ESXi 5.0 FAQ’s

Since the release of IBM’s customized ESXi 5.0, there’s been a number of queries on what it contains and how you use it to upgrade to vSphere 5.0.    One of my colleagues, Wayne Wigley in the US has compiled this useful FAQ, which I’ve published below:

Q)  When will vSphere 5 ESXi be available on an IBM USB Key?

A)  The IBM USB key pre-installed with ESXi 5.0 IBM customized image was made available on the 26th January, 2012.

Q)  When will the OEM custom hypervisor image for IBM systems be available on the VMware (IBM) portal?

A)   IBM has not negotiated to put the image on VMware’s website.  The code was posted on the IBM site ( on December 16, 2011

Q)  What will be the upgrade path for existing IBM 4.x ESXi USB key installations?

A)  A customer can download the new image from for free and apply to the existing key.

Q) How do you upgrade the IBM USB customised image to the IBM ESXi 5 image?

A) You can upgrade any IBM USB customized image release 4.1U1 and higher to the IBM ESXi 5 customized version using 2 methods.  The first method is using the ISO image.

While upgrading the image you will see the following screens.  Choose the Force Migrate option.

After selecting to Force Migrate you will be presented with the following screen

Press Enter to continue. Then you will be presented with the screen below

Choose (F11) to continue with the upgrade.

You can also use VMware Update Manager (VUM) as I previously documented here.

Q)  What will be the upgrade path for existing IBM 4.x ESXi USB key installations (key replacement or install new hypervisor code)?

A)  If a customer needs to replace a USB part they will get the same FRU part number back.  For example,  they will get 4.x for 4.x.  The ESXi software can be downloaded, so a customer can upgrade to the next level, but they will have to apply all patches again.


Q) What is the IBM roadmap for ESXi releases ?

A)  IBM is continues to refresh our roadmap with the latest VMware releases and the time to market for new code releases and patches to better align with VMware’s release dates.

Q) What are the CIM providers and drivers that are included in the IBM ESXi 5 customized Image that are not in the VMware image?

A)  These are:

IMM provider, version is 500-2ACE08AUS. Including concretejob, filetrans,fwupdate, immpassthru  (new)

CBB provider. version is 500-ESXI01ACN. Including hwckvm, smbios,pciinfo.

FUPB provider, version is  1.23-7.100

Emulex provider version is .

  • drivers: net-be2net-4.0.355.1-1OEM.500.0.0.406165
  • scsi-be2iscsi-4.0.317.1-1OEM.500.0.0.406165
  • scsi-lpfc820-
  • ima-be2iscsi-4.0.317.1-1OEM.500.0.0.406165

Brocade provider version is

  • drivers:  net-bna-
  • scsi-bfa-

Qlogic provider version is 1.3.8-381646:

  • driver:scsi-qla4xxx-624.01.32-1vmw.500.0.0.406165
  • ima-qla4xxx-500.2.01.16
  • net-qlge-

LSI provider version is 500.04.V0.24-261033

  •    LSI facade provider version is 500-1.00.20111020
  •    driver: scsi-megaraid-sas-5.34-1vmw.500.0.0.406165

IBM OEM vib version is 2.0-2

* * *

If you have any other queries on IBM’s customized ESXi 5.0,  please let me know and I’ll try to get them answered for you.



Little boxes made of ticky tacky

What’s with all these new shiney boxes in our data centres ?   Trendy coloured appliances big and small…   Look you can even have different coloured doors !

Well, it never hurt to have pretty flashing lights. I remember someone telling me a story of people getting a tour of a datacentre and wanting to see the purchase of their big new system (a midrange system at the time).  They were impressed with the big new system, it’s flashing lights, it’s hum as it crunched through thousands of transactions per minute. Techhhnnnooolllooogggyy !!  Well, after they were suitably impressed and had left the room,  the tech guys looked at each other with bemusement.  “Why were they looking at the new airconditioner unit?”    Their new midrange system was less than 1/2 a rack in size on the other side of the room.

Seriously, there seems to be a renewed acceptance of pre-packaged appliances in the data centre. Both physical and virtual. For example:

Virtual Appliances
So many applications are being increasingly offered as virtual appliances – simply install them from OVF, start then up set an IP address and away you go.  In many cases the application configuration via a web browser can be done without reading a manual (is that bad?).  Applications like VMware vCenter, VirtualBox, IBM Service Delivery Manager (ISDM), Antivirus VMs, VMware VASA… the list goes on.  If they are not already available as a virtual appliance, you can rest assured that most application roadmaps will have some consideration for virtual applicance packaging.   This is occuring not only for small one or two VM appliances.  Some of these applications listed above aren’t exactly  ‘light’ resource applications!

1-2 RU (rack unit) physical appliances
These small form factor appliances are now common place in the datacentre.  Workload tuned for specific needs – such as Citrix NetScaler, IBM WebSphere DataPower SOA Appliances and even for VDI solutions from companies such as Nutanix.   These more complex appliances again take away the need to care about the OS, the server, the storage and focus on the application.

Enterprise Application Appliances
Increasing numbers of enterprise application appliances such as SAP HANA.    Large Intel appliances for running “in memory” components of SAP.

Big Iron appliances
Such as IBM Nettezza (oh, those coloured doors) are increasingly being wheeled into datacenters, so that within days (I’m realistic that most datacenters don’t like too much change – grin) and not weeks, they can be up and running.  Or as marketed, reducing the time to value for organisations.

I don’t expect these shiny appliances to change the tradtional core server/storage/tape back-up architecture in the near term.   In time, what might this mean for IT components we use today?

I care less about the operating system
If I have my application I don’t really care about the operating system (OS) inside of the appliance.  So in most cases given the licensing implications,  I expect that OS is probably Linux.  Although I’m sure Microsoft will continue to also provide their own appliances with Windows OS’s as well.   They’ll be more Linux in organisations, however they’ll be less objections from organisations that new OS’s are deployed since they won’t have to manage them anyhow.

Intel Intel Intel
In most cases these appliances will be powered by Intel systems, given their low cost and relatively high performance.

It’s web browser delivered
Most appliances are accessed via a traditional web browser.  So it provides rapid delivery to workstations, tablets and phones.  So I don’t need to package client applications and deliver them to users workstations via traditional deployment technologies.

In time, I’ll probably ‘rent’ this capability when I need it
Organisations will rent some application services over the web (Software as a Service (SaaS)).  Which from a client perspective, is really the ultimate appliance of sorts.   Oh, check out pictures of one of Google’s containerized data center.   Do they take out the award for the largest appliances using shipping containers ? 🙂

What are your thoughts on the future of appliances?  What other appliances are you seeing in your organisation?