Comedy of Errors: Mac gpu dies, no boot screen, Unifi Controller on unselectable MacOS disk

I’m not sure how all these issues occurred at the same time (or at least close enough together to cause issues), but here’s the story:

My Unifi network Controller app is on my 2008 Mac Pro. It has 2 GPUs, the original ATI Radeon HD 2600 XT that supports the Mac boot screen, and a Nvidia 750ti that is a PC card and so doesn’t support the boot screen. The 750ti is my normal gpu, the 2600XT is connected to a smaller monitor that I only use to access the Mac boot screen to switch between Windows 10 and MacOS.

At some point the 2600 XT just stopped working, it doesn’t have any video output from either of the monitor connectors. I’ve pulled it out and reseated it, but it’s just dead. While I was booted in MacOS a couple of days ago I changed the default boot disk to Windows 10 (mistake #1) to access some files from Windows. At that point I started to realize I’d lost a way of getting back into MacOS without a way to get to the boot screen.

Fast forward a few days, I started up my DL380 rack server which I use on a different IP range to the IP range for the rest of the house. I can get to the HP ILO on, but I can’t access ESXi which is normally on I can’t get to the Unifi Controller (because it’s on the MacOS disk that I can’t boot) to see what IP that port on the hub has, and running arp -a or using Angry IP scanner is not showing any new IPs getting allocated via DHCP.

My stack of network hubs is under my desk, so getting underneath my desk I realized I’d plugged the DL380 in to the PoE input port and not a network port. While adding another PC to the hub a few weeks back I had moved that port from my 10.x.x.x network back to 192.168.1.x. So now plugging the DL380 network into any other free port on another hub means ESXI still thinks it’s on, but I can’t reach it as there’s no route via the port it’s now plugged into.

I need to switch back one of the ports on my Unifi switch back to the 10.x.x.x network, but:

  • I can’t boot my Mac Pro to MacOS because it’s stuck in Windows 10
  • I need to get a replacement Mac GPU that supports the boot screen
  • I can’t switch a port on the Unifi switch back to 10.x.x.x because I can’t access the Unifi controller app
  • I don’t have remote access enabled to my Unifi network
  • I don’t even know what id/pwd I can use to ssh into the Unifi switch

Next steps:

  • Cheap replacement Nvidia GT 120 ordered on ebay for $30.

Where’s my ESXi Console (or, booting from a DVD by mistake)

I had a need to install and setup a Windows 8 VM. I have an original install DVD, so attached a USB DVD to my HP DL380 server and was planning on setting up a VM installed from the DVD. Some time later waiting for the ESXi console to be available, it was not responding and wondered what was going on. Started up the Remote Console option from iLO and found that the server had booted from the DVD. Yeah, that’s not gonna work 🙂

Resetting HP Proliant server ILO network settings from power on System Settings

As part of reorganizing of my home network and homelab setup, I’m moving everything running on my DL380 G7 server from addresses to it’s own network under

I thought I knew what new ip and gateway settings I needed in ILO on my server, so I changed them through the web interface, only to find out the gateway was incorrect and now I could no longer access ILO remotely on my network.

Luckily from the power on System settings, you can access the ILO config if you connect a monitor and keyboard and press F8 when prompted (see detailed step by step and timings of each option here). The F8 to access ILO settings is only on the screen for about 2 seconds, so if you miss it you’ll get the System Settings menu like this:

If you get into this Setup Utility menu then you need to exit and try again.

The F8 prompt you’re looking for appears only for about 2 seconds before the HP RAID array info appear – if you see this then you’ve already missed it and you’ll need to reboot and try again:

This is the ILO menu you should see after pressing F8 when prompted:

I had previously changed the gateway so a router on my network that was unreachable from there. Changed, now we’re ready to reboot:

Success, ILO is now accessible on!

Adding a New Storage Datastore to ESXI 6.5 (on an HP DL380 G7), and fixing the “Failed to create VMFS datastore – Cannot change the host configuration” error

This is part 3 of 3 in a series on adding new drives and storage to my HP DL380 G7 server and ESXi. The previous 2 parts are here, part 1 – adding new drives, and part 2 – configuring a new RAID array.

After the previous two steps were complete, the new disks are in, the new RAID array configured, the next step is to add the storage in ESXi to be available to new VMs. Here’s my starting point, almost out of space:

Right now I have 1 Datastore configured in ESXi:

To add a new Datastore in ESXi:

At this point I ran into the error ‘Failed to create VMFS datastore’:

This post with steps to fix the partition table on the newly added drives. First step was to enable the sshd service to ssh into the server:

First, use this command to find the disk id of the newly added disk. Here I can see my new disk array as it’s the one closest to 1TB, the size of the new disks:

ls -lha /vmfs/devices/disks/

This command shows the issue with the partition table on the new disk array:

 partedUtil getptbl /vmfs/devices/disks/(disk ID)

Next, use this command to reset the partition table to msdos type for the new disk array:

partedUtil setptbl /vmfs/devices/disks/(disk ID) msdos

Repeating the previous steps to add the new datastore now works, new store added:

New storage space now looks good!

Checking in iLO on the newly added disks, looks good:

Also, taking a look at fan speeds after 30mins or so, fan speeds all look good!