As part of a larger Cisco Firepower project, I had to install the Firepower Management Console for a customer recently. I was using FMC version 6.2.3, and the customer was running ESXi 6.5. I’ve had issues deploying OVFs in ESXi 6.5 before, but this one required some new adjustments I’ve never had to make in order to get FMC to install.
I believe FMC version 6.2.3-83 is the first iteration supported in ESXi 6.5, so that was the version I had to use. I started by simply creating a new virtual machine with the GUI using the FMC 6.2.3-83 ovf and vmdk files downloaded from Cisco. This failed after a little while with an error:
INIT: Id "s1" respawning too fast: disabled for 5 minutes
After only a few minutes of online searching, this was resolved by editing the virtual machine (while powered off) and adding an unconnected physical serial port. You can see the specific doc that helped me here. The steps are very simple:
After powering on the VM, the installation got stuck yet again about 75% of the way through but with no explicit error to look up.
This is a screenshot of a normal installation, but in my case it stopped here every time I tried. After 30 minutes, I shut it down and spun up a couple more at the same time to try again. I wasn’t sure what to look for online, so my searching wasn’t very helpful.
At this point I tried using the VMware OVF Tool which I use frequently when deploying a Cisco ISE or Prime VM in ESXi 6.5. The script I used was pretty simple:
I still had to go back and add the serial port after this deployed the FMC VM; however, this didn’t work, either. I got stuck at the very same spot again.
After lunch and maybe eight or nine failed installations later, I asked the question on Twitter and got a helpful reply from Jay Franklin.
It didn’t even occur to me when I was troubelshooting that I wasn’t using all three files in the deployment. So this time I deployed the VM in vCenter and made sure to select all three files: the ovf, the vmdk, and the mf.
Alas, this didn’t work, so I sent an email to a co-worker who I know deployed FMC successfully in an ESXi 6.5 environment. He mentioned that he had to manually increase the CPUs to 8 (the default automatically assigned was 4) in order for it to fully install.
Using vCenter and not the GUI, I increased the CPUs to 8 and tried again. It seemed to get stuck at the same spot, but after a solid 15 minutes, it moved passed it and [finally] successfully installed. Actually, I didn’t personally have access to vCenter, so my customer did this while we sat together.
I’m not sure if it was one specific thing that fixed it or a combination of these things, but I’ll make sure to adjust me FMC installation workflow for the next project.
I hope this helps if you get stuck in a similar scenario.