Intel XEON E5-2600-v3 and vSphere 5.0

I had an interesting issue recently with HP Proliant BL460c Gen 9 blades containing Intel XEON E5-2600-v3 processors and running ESXi 5.0.

All appeared to be working fine until I added the blades into an existing vSphere cluster with Gen 8 blades containing Intel XEON E5-2600 series processors. I assumed I would be able to vMotion between the blades as the cluster was configured for EVC in Intel Sandy Bridge Generation mode. However, I could vMotion from the Gen 8 blades to the Gen 9 blades but not back to the Gen 8 blades or between the Gen 9 blades. I was getting the following warning when attempting to vMotion from a Gen 9 blade to a Gen 8 blade or between two Gen 9 blades (with the same processors installed in them)

Host CPU is incompatible with the virtual machine’s requirements at CPUID level 0x1 register ‘ecx’.

Host bits: 0001:0110:1001:1000:0010:0010:0000:0011

Required: x111:x11x:11×1:1xx0:xx11:xx1x:xxxx:xx11

Mismatch detected for these features:

* General incompatibilities


I discovered that if I created a cluster of just the Gen 9 blades without EVC enabled then I could vMotion between them but as soon as I enabled EVC, whichever Intel Mode I selected, I could no longer vMotion between the blades even though they had EXACTLY the same processors in them. I couldn’t even perform a storage vMotion on a VM running on one of the Gen 9 blades if EVC was enabled even if it was staying on the same host and just changing datastore.

On checking the VMware Compatibility Guide the HP BL460c Gen9 blades with Intel XEON E5-2600-v3 processors are not supported on ESXi 5.0. The earliest version they are supported on is 5.1U2 (or 5.5U2). I guess this is because vSphere 5.0 and 5.1 and 5.5 prior to update 2 does not recognise the Intel XEON E5-2600-v3 processors. The compatibility guide lists the version of ESXi and not vCenter so I am not sure if you upgrade vCenter to 5.1U2 and leave the ESXi hosts on 5.0 would you then be able to vMotion using EVC or do you need to get the ESXi hosts upgraded as well. I have not had chance to test this but if I do I will update this article with the results.

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1 Response to Intel XEON E5-2600-v3 and vSphere 5.0

  1. darkfader says:

    What happens if you hide the CPU flag?

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