vSAN and vSphere compatibility differences

vSAN and vSphere compatibility differences

In my work, I am often doing updates for customers that are not using VMware Cloud Foundation. And when doing these updates, it is very important to be aware of the differences in compatibility between vSphere and vSAN.

They both use the drivers that are installed by the update process, from Update Manager or Lifecycle Manager, but they maintain different Hardware Compatibility Lists.

When I did an update of vSphere for a customer, deploying the latest updates from vSphere, I got a vSAN warning, that the driver is not validated by vSAN.

This is not something that VMware manages, it is the hardware vendor that is responsible for validating the driver and firmware versions, but it is something that can be quiet cumbersome to come across.

This is the warning I got:

So the newest driver (smartpqi (70.4000.0.100-4vmw.701.0.0.17325551)) is installed by Update Manager, but not yet validated in the vSAN HCL, as we can see on the specific page for the device:

https://www.vmware.com/resources/compatibility/detail.php?deviceCategory=vsanio&productid=41773&deviceCategory=vsanio&details=1&vsan_type=vsanio&keyword=E208&page=1&display_interval=10&sortColumn=Partner&sortOrder=Asc

The version supported by vSAN is still the older one.

On the vSphere HCL the newer driver ís supported, but so this is the older driver:

https://www.vmware.com/resources/compatibility/detail.php?deviceCategory=io&productid=43726&deviceCategory=io&details=1&keyword=e208&page=1&display_interval=10&sortColumn=Partner&sortOrder=Asc:

So after all updates have been installed, the driver needs to be downgraded.

For this, you can download the installation bundle (the update) from the VMware site at:

https://my.vmware.com/group/vmware/patch#search

where (in this case) I found:

which contains the desired driver:

So we download this file, put it in a place that the host can access it (I put it on the vSAN Datastore, so every host can access it) and run the installer for the vib (and only for this specific vib):

esxcli software vib install -d /vmfs/volumes/vsanDatastore/tmp/VMware-ESXi-7.0U1-16850804-depot.zip -n=smartpqi

As you can see, the newer vib is removed and the older vib is installed. After this, a reboot is necessary and everything within vSAN is fine again:

Although the Update Manager compliance check is unfortunately not compliant:

It wants to install the driver. Either directly or through the rollup in which it is contained.

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