I have a Supermicro X9SCM board with a Atheros AR5008 PCI Express card (D-LINK DWA-556, Device=0024&Vendor=168C). The card can successfully be marked for PCI passthrough in ESXi (I tried versions 4.1 and 5.0) though each time I start a VM with the Wifi card associated - the entire host freezes and requires a hard reset.
There is a good chance this card is just not compatible for some reason - though there seems to be at least one report I could find of it "working", or at least the guest being able to boot. I would really like to understand why it is failing though. I have tried digging into some log files and other resources to see if I can glean any knowledge on how to best troubleshoot this, though I am far from an expert with VMWare tools.
Here is what I have looked at so far:
- BIOS, tried latest version (1.1a) and one older version (1.0c).
- The BIOS has a log that reports "PCI ERR" or "PCI ERR - Asserted" whenever this freeze event happens.
- I grabbed the various logs from /var/log on the ESXi host, though I haven't really been able to see anything too useful from them just yet. Maybe I don't know where to look.
- I tried adding the PCI card to the passthru.map file to see if I could perhaps hint to ESXi how it should behave with no luck. (Note: I haven't tried all combinations of reset method / fpt shareable yet)
- I have read there may be a difference with "Active" PCI Express cards. I believe this might be referring to Active State Power Management though I am not sure how to even check this.
- I have contacted Supermicro support to see if there is a known issue with the BIOS / hardware though I haven't heard back. I also tried to get on the VMWare communities and post on their forums though I haven't been able to activate my account for some strange reason.
Again, my real question is: How do I go about understanding why this device is causing the hypervisor to lockup when it is assigned to a guest?