Tuesday, September 5, 2023

Orange Pi 5 Plus ESXi on ARM Fling 1.14 update

 With VMware Fling 1.14 and the latest commits of the edk2-3588 firmware, the Orange Pi 5 Plus can now utilize some USB NICs, and make use of all USB ports within an ESXi environment.

I can hot add USB NICs as well. It seems to run into the same problems that I had on the ThinkCentre M75q Gen 2 and USB NICs, in that the vmnic needs to be assigned to the management vSwitch on boot. The requirement to comment the line out of the BIOS doesn't seem necessary, either; you can do so by entering system setup and disabling PCI-e 3.0 in the menu. My BOM now consists of:

Orange Pi 5 Plus
3D printed case
Noctua NF-A4x20 PWM
USB fan adapter (USB 2.0 port)
UGREEN USB hub + network adapter Model 60544 (Managment network + additional USB ports) 
Cable Matters USB NIC Model 202013 (dedicated VM traffic)
Sabrent USB to SATA adapter Model EC-SSHD
Crucial MX500 1TB SATA SSD

This leaves the option of adding additional USB 3.0 devices if needed, thanks to the UGREEN hub. The onboard Realtek 8125's are not of much use as there is no driver available, but getting dual gigabit NICs makes this much more useful to run some basic web servers. 

I was able to port my Jira instance off of my Raspberry Pi 4 onto a Ubuntu 22.04 VM successfully, which opens the door to back up not only at the application level, but full VM backup as well. The only remaining caveat is that the cores run at their minimum speed (800 Mhz), but that bodes well for me given that I want to keep power consumption as low as possible. It'll be worthwhile to have a virtual platform where the power sipping Orange Pi 5 Plus can remain on, without having to power on a rack to deliver some basic web applications. Other ideas would be to install Tautulli for my Plex server, or Wiki.js for lab documentation. 

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