Recently I added some new NIC drivers to the V-Front Online Depot. Well, they are not really new, but were created back in 2011/12 by a Japanese guy who goes by the nickname ichi. He was actively participating in Dave Mishchenko's vm-help.com forums and posted the drivers there.
Although I was aware of them since then I did not add them to the Depot before - I thought that no one would really need them these days, because the NIC models that they support are pretty old and rarely used today. I was wrong, at least in one case, because I needed one of these drivers myself to install ESXi on a brand new HP Pavilion 17 notebook that I just purchased ...
Here is a complete list of newly added packages:
- net-r8101: Realtek RTL8101E/RTL8102E driver (This one I needed for the HP Pavilion 17)
- net-r8139too: Realtek RTL-8100/8101L/8139 PCI Fast Ethernet Adapter Driver
- net-atl1: Attansic/Atheros L1 Gigabit Ethernet driver
- net-atl1e: Atheros(R) AR8121/AR8113/AR8114/AR8131/AR8132/AR8152 PCI-E Ethernet NICs driver
- net-skge: Marvell Yukon chipset and SysKonnect Gigabit Ethernet Adapters driver
- net-forcedeth-1: Adds the PCI IDs of various Nvidia nForce NICs to the existing net-forcedeth driver
An example: To create the custom ESXi 6.0 installation ISO for my HP Pavilion 17 notebook I used my ESXi-Customizer-PS script like this:
.\ESXi-Customizer-PS-v2.4.ps1 -v60 -vft -load net-r8101
Please keep in mind this general disclaimer when using the V-Front Online Depot: All of the ESXi software packages that are available here are neither endorsed nor supported by VMware! Use them at your own risk and never on production systems!
Anyway, the drivers that are available here have already helped a lot of people to get ESXi up and running on some random hardware, just to play around with it and get a first impression, without investing tons of money in new systems that are on the VMware HCL. They are also used by vExperts and other VMware professionals to run their labs on whitebox hardware that is - although powerful - not officially supported by VMware. And of course I haven't bought my notebook to run ESXi on it, but it was fun to get it installed and running there!
So a special thanks goes to ichi and all the other people that invest(ed) their time in building these drivers for the community - you rock!
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.