Running ESXi4.1 on an HP machine, with only remote access to the host ssh shell and the vmware console (no iLO), is there a way to gather a hardware report from the server? I am specifically interested in finding out whether the disks are SAS or SATA, and whether the p410i controller is equipped with NVRAM and a battery.

Obviously, this being a VM host, rebooting is the last resort (especially since I'm remote to the machine).

I'd also appreciate a pointer to a LiveCD I could use with this machine (in case I do have to restart it) which I could pass on to the person local to the host, so they can boot the system with the CD, gather a report, and send it over to me.


UPD: here's a screenshot of what things look like atm:

I guess this means this ESXi has no HP-specific packages, and I need to look for another way? Or am I looking in the wrong place?

  • Take a look at Configuration -> Health Status -> Storage. – ewwhite Sep 21 '11 at 16:08

It's an HP server, so there should be some information about the hardware available in the vSphere client. I'm not clear if you're saying you have access to the client or not, based on your question. If you do have access, you can go to Configuration -> Health Status -> Storage to see the array setup. This only applies if you're using a version of ESXi with HP's agents/sensors built in. If the server isn't the HP-specific build, the storage array information may be missing.

enter image description here

Do you know the model of the HP server? That can help narrow things down, as many of the recent units with Smart Array P410 controllers have flash-backed or battery-backed write cache (BBWC) installed.

But with the host's ssh shell, you can pull the server's product name and HP part number. At the shell prompt, type:

smbiosDump | egrep '(Product|Serial)'

On one of my ESXi servers, that produces the following output:

~ # smbiosDump | egrep '(Product|Serial:)'
      Serial Services supported
    Product: "ProLiant DL370 G6"
    Serial: "MXQxxx0DHP"
    Serial: "MXQxxx0DHP"
    Product ID: 519577-005

Googling the "Product ID" pulls up the HP Quick Specs for that model, showing the presence of a Smart Array P410i controller with 512MB BBWC.

As for the disks and disk types comprising the array, the normal approach is to use the HP Insight Agents and use hpacucli when using a full OS, or one of the methods listed here. That's not an option under ESXi, though. You can definitely get that info from the BIOS setup utility (press F8 at the prompt) on the server during POST.

You don't need a generic live CD to obtain full hardware specifications. The servers come with them. Use the included HP SmartStart CD (or download it). Running that will provide full insight into the hardware specs and RAID configuration.

  • That's good, but you need to look under "Health Status" in the upper-left of your screenshot. Either way, the server model number information will help with determining if the system was sold with a BBWC unit. – ewwhite Sep 21 '11 at 14:35
  • Thanks, I'll VPN in there later on today and have a look – dyasny Sep 21 '11 at 14:43
  • Did you find what you needed? – ewwhite Sep 23 '11 at 20:13
  • yeah, thanks. ended up finding the original invoice with the specs, whoever set this machine up wasn't aware of the HP specific ESXi builds I suppose... – dyasny Sep 23 '11 at 20:43
  • Which means that the standard VMWare build doesn't show any of the HP RAID details, correct? – ewwhite Sep 23 '11 at 21:27

lspci on the command line should list your controller cards. eg

~ # ~ # lspci | grep storage
000:000:17.0 Mass storage controller: ATI Technologies Inc SB700 SATA Controller [IDE Mode] [vmhba0]
000:000:20.1 Mass storage controller: ATI Technologies Inc SB700/SB800 IDE Controller [vmhba1]
000:003:05.0 Mass storage controller: Silicon Image, Inc. SiI 3512 SATARaid Controller [vmhba3]

I'm sure there is a more elegant way, but to find out what kind of disks you have you can do an fdisk -l on the command line, and it tells you the model number and serial number of the disk:


~ # fdisk -l
Disk /dev/disk /t10.ATA_____SAMSUNG_HD204UI_________________________S2HG**********37______
:2000.3 GB, 2000398934016 bytes 255 heads, 63 sectors/track, 243201 cylinders
Units = cylinders of 16065 * 512 = 8225280 bytes
  • I already found that the drives are SATA (this is what happens when people buy hw for virtualization without consultation), but lspci will not provide information about BBU's and NVRAM, adn as for the controller itself - I already know it's a p410i – dyasny Sep 21 '11 at 14:10

You may be able to get all of this information from within vCenter using the Hardware Status Page. The screenshot is of a Dell server, but these may show up for HP server - YMMV. enter image description here


Try to use esxcfg-info with -w key over ssh or console. It command returns a lot of info, some of it is unique

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