Since I launched the V-Front Online Depot about a year ago it has developed into a place where you do not only find the ESXi software packages that I created on my own, but also quite a few applications and drivers that others have contributed.
In 2014 Raphaël Schitz (he runs the excellent french hypervisor.fr blog) e.g. created and contributed the Intel Infiniband Subnet Manager (ib-opensm) package and the iperf v2 tool for ESXi, but this time I want to highlight two community developed driver packages that will help people running ESXi on white boxes with unsupported NICs.
A lot of the drivers that VMware ships with ESXi are outdated and some have even been removed in the latest vSphere releases, so more and more people that try to install ESXi on a whitebox will run into the issue that the onboard NIC is not detected by the ESXi installation routine, because there is no suitable inbox driver available.
I recently published a guide on how to address this issue using the community developed drivers that are available in the V-Front Online Depot. Here are two of them that will help a lot of people:
The updated Intel e1000e driver
George L. Roman used the latest source code of the Linux e1000e driver (version 126.96.36.199) to create an up-to-date driver for Intel Gigabit Ethernet cards (I217/I218/82579LM/82574L and others). A lot of them are not covered by the older VMware provided e1000e driver. See the Wiki page of George's driver to find out for what devices it can be used.
The updated Realtek driver
The latest addition comes from Dmitry Nechaev, and he built an up-to-date Realtek r8168 driver (version 8.039). The net-r8168 driver that VMware provides with ESXi 5.1 (and that still works with ESXi 5.5) is older than that and does not work properly with a lot of newer Realtek cards, so you may want to try Dmitry's driver if you run into issues with the VMware inbox driver.
If you want to use one of the drivers from the V-Front Online Depot then please carefully read the "How to use ..." to learn about the various methods that are available.
Come have a look - come contribute!
Please feel free to browse the V-Front Online Depot to find out what is available there -, and if you have created an ESXi software package yourself or plan to do so then consider publishing it there.
Thanks and have fun!
This post first appeared on the VMware Front Experience Blog and was written by Andreas Peetz. Follow him on Twitter to keep up to date with what he posts.