Custom ESXi 6 image for Adaptec 6805 RAID controller

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Some time ago, we changed the hardware of our VM server. We replaced the RAID controller with an Adaptec 6805 because the old controller had some problems. The server run with ESXi 5.1.

The problem with our Adaptec controller was that ESXi didn't support it out-of-the-box. It was supported in general but the driver was not included. We thought that the new ESXi 6 could contain the driver, but it didn't. So we had to create our own ESXi image with the Adaptec driver.

We thought it shouldn't be a problem because there was much documentation about custom images:
(DE) https://www.thomas-

Some problems:

  • We tried to create an image for version 6
  • We used the free version of ESXi with all its limitations

A problem was that the documentation references an "offline software depot". You can download the offline depot for the paid version but it's not available for the free version - not as simple download. No offline deplot means no custom image - right? Not right, because it's also possible to use an online depot.

The problem was that the documentation didn't contain a full description. We found some hints in different blogs but no complete description.

Here are the steps how we created our custom ESXi 6 image with Adaptec 6805 driver:


Useful PowerCLI Documentation:

Image creation

  • Install PowerCLI 6 (and all required dependencies)
  • Unzip the Adaptec driver to e.g. C:\temp\VMServer6\
  • Run PowerCLI as Administrator (sometimes, first launch of PowerCLI isn't working - simply close/run again)
  • Execute following commands
    # Preconfigure
    Set-ExecutionPolicy RemoteSigned
    cd c:\temp\VMServer6\

    # Use online depot
    # Add offline bundle for adaptec driver

    # Check added depots

    # Lists all ESXi-6.* profiles
    Get-EsxImageProfile -Name "ESXi-6.*"

    # Sets the base profile
    New-EsxImageProfile -CloneProfile "ESXi-6.0.0-20160104001-standard" -name "ESXi-6.0.0-20160104001-standard-Adaptec" -Vendor "rjahn@SIB" -AcceptanceLevel "CommunitySupported"

    # Lists all included drivers
    Get-EsxSoftwarePackage -Name "*aacraid*"

    # Adds adaptec driver from offline bundle
    Add-EsxSoftwarePackage -ImageProfile "ESXi-6.0.0-20160104001-standard-Adaptec" -SoftwarePackage scsi-aacraid

    # Creates boot image
    Export-ESXImageProfile -ImageProfile "ESXi-6.0.0-20160104001-standard-Adaptec" -ExportToISO -filepath C:\temp\VMServer6\build\ESXi-6.0.0-20160104001-standard-Adaptec.iso

    # Creates Bundle
    Export-ESXImageProfile -ImageProfile "ESXi-6.0.0-20160104001-standard-Adaptec" -ExportToBundle -filepath C:\temp\VMServer6\build\

Version numbers may be different, but the procedure should work for you as well. The online depot:

was the most important thing. All other steps can be found in the standard documentation.