Watch out if you used the ESXi 5.0 Driver Rollup ISO 1 or 2 to install your hosts!

If you have installed your hosts with the VMware ESXi 5.0 Driver Rollup ISO (version 1 or 2) then you may run into the following issue sooner or later:
The Rollup ISOs contain newer versions of the QLogic ima-qla4xxx driver package and they include some superfluous files that will be stored in a directory called /VIB once the installed system is booted. The presence of these files does not harm the functionality of ESXi 5.0, but it prevents the successful installation of certain other software packages (that also include a /VIB directory). The problem is known to occur with the vShield App 5.0 agent package for ESXi 5.0, but may potentially occur with other packages as well.

You can consider this a bug in both the ima-qla4xxx driver and the vShield App package, because the use of the /VIB directory (for storing pre- and post-installation scripts) is deprecated in ESXi 5.0. Obviously for a good reason ...

The following versions of the ima-qla4xxx driver packages do have this issue:
  • ima-qla4xxx version 500.2.01.20-1vmw.0.0.081609 (included in the Rollup 2 ISO, and separately available here)
  • ima-qla4xxx version 500.2.01.29-1vmw.0.0.112306 (available here)
  • ima-qla4xxx version 500.2.01.16-1vmw.0.0.051901 (was included in the Rollup 1 ISO which is not available for download anymore)
The original VMware ESXi 5.0 GA ISO includes the version 2.01.07-1vmw.500.0.0.469512 of ima-qla4xxx  which does not have this issue.

Workaround / Solution:
If you do not need the ima-qla4xxx package for your host's hardware then just remove it by running the following command in an ESXi shell:
  esxcli software vib remove -n ima-qla4xxx

If you have a device in your host that needs this driver to work properly then you need to wait for an updated and fixed version of this driver and/or the vShield App agent package.

If you are unsure whether you are affected by this issue then check your ESXi host's file system in an ESXi shell for the presence of the directory /VIB:
  ls /VIB
If the command returns a file listing (of the files postinst, postrm, preinst and prerm) then you are affected by this issue.

And now the fun part of the story: How was this issue discovered?
Recently I was contacted by a VMware Escalation Engineer who told me that a VMware customer ran into the issue described above with the vShield App agent package. This customer had installed his hosts with an ESXi 5.0 Driver Rollup ISO that he customized with my ESXi-Customizer script (to inject some newer Brocade CNA drivers into it). This is why the Engineer believed that the issue was caused by ESXi-Customizer and contacted me.
Well, we both did some tests and could finally prove that the issue was not caused by ESXi-Customizer, but solely by the ima-qla4xxx package.

Anyway, I want to take this incident as an opportunity to remind all users of my ESXi-Customizer script of an important and obvious fact: My tool is not supported by VMware, and VMware will never endorse using it (although I learnt that there are quite a few VMware employees using it at home ;-).
On the other hand it is good to know that
a) I am not aware of a single case where my tool caused an issue, and
b) VMware Support will come to your rescue even if you used it and run into a problem afterwards.


  1. How do i use the VIB folder to run pre\post install scripts?

    1. Hi Assaf,

      I don't know, but you really shouldn't do this, because this is a deprecated feature.
      That means it may no longer work in current or later ESXi versions.



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