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Fixing ESXi 6.5 On HPE G7 Servers

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Get fucked HP. #

So there I was, moving VMs off of my main host (DL380 G7, 2x x5690’s, 192GB RDIMM), getting ready to replace the 8x 300GB RAID10 array I’ve been using for a while now with some 1TB disks and SSDs, awesome, right?

So the host was powered down, ready for an upgrade, and being the logical guy I am I decided to do some software upgrades.

I used the latest SPP and ran that through, for some reason I was using a BIOS from 2010? Once that was done I had updated firmware, so I moved onto ESXi. I’ve been running 6.0.0U2 for the longest time and thought this would be the ideal time to upgrade.

I got the HPE official ISO, ran through the upgrade, waited for it to boot annnddd….


After some digging, it would appear this is actually a known issue with most G7 servers (unsure about G6).

The issue #

It would appear that one driver is causing this in the 6.5 image,  hpe-smx-provider (650. Installing the standard ESXI 6.5 ISO does allow the server to boot, but is missing a lot of drivers and does not give the pretty all-inclusive system stats that the HPE ISO does.

So what now? I didn’t want to settle for the standard image, so I did the following to bundle the U2¬†hpe-smx-provider into the 6.5 image.

For the lazy: There is a link at the end of this post with a download to the compiled ISO.

Using PowerCLI Image Builder. #

The first thing you want to do is download PowerCLI for Windows.

Once that is all installed, grab both of the following files and put it somewhere easy, I just shoved them in C:\HPE.\\

I also renamed them to make it easier for myself, “ESXIHP65” “ESXIHP6U2”.

Once that is done, fire up PowerCLI, and do the following commands:

  1. Add the 6.5 image bundle:
Add-EsxSoftwareDepot -DepotUrl C:\\HPE\\\

  1. Check the profile was added:

  1. Clone the profile so we can work on the clone:
New-EsxImageProfile -CloneProfile HPE-ESXi-6.5.0-OS-Release-6\* -Name "ESXICUST"\

Set Vendor to whatever, I used Custom.

  1. Check the profile was added:

  1. Remove the driver from the clone:
Remove-EsxSoftwarePackage ESXICUST hpe-smx-provider\

  1. Add the 6.0U2 image bundle:
Add-EsxSoftwareDepot -DepotUrl C:\\HPE\\\

  1. Check the profile was added:

  1. Now we can see both driver versions from the bundles:
Get-EsxSoftwarePackage | findstr smx\

  1. Add the good driver into the custom image:
add-esxsoftwarepackage -imageprofile ESXICUST -softwarepackage "hpe-smx-provider 600."\

  1. Export your custom bundle to ISO:
Export-EsxImageProfile -ImageProfile ESXICUST -ExportToIso -filepath "c:\\HPE\\ESXI65CUST.iso"\
You should now have `ESXI65CUST.iso` in your working folder.

Result. #

So, once that’s all done mount the ISO however you like, I use iLO and go through the install as per normal, continue through the warning about CPUs of this socket being depreciated. And, eventually….


Post edit: You must do a clean install for this to work, upgrading will not work as the offending driver will not be overwritten. #

If you’re lazy and trust me enough then here is a link to the compiled ISO, ready to be installed. #

I no longer host the ISOs.

I hope this helped some of you out, best of luck! MM~~