How to add the missing ESXi 5.0 drivers to the ESXi 5.5 installation ISO

In my previous post I warned that VMware has removed some drivers for officially unsupported NICs (Realtek and Marvell) from ESXi 5.5 (compared to ESXi 5.1 and 5.0 that still included them).
These drivers still work with ESXi 5.5, and if you upgrade an ESXi 5.1 host to 5.5 then you can just keep and continue using them. But what if you want to install a new machine from scratch with ESXi 5.5 that needs one of these drivers?

Well, the awesome ImageBuilder snap-in for PowerCLI can help ...

How to update your standalone host to ESXi 5.5 - beware of missing drivers and do NOT upgrade virtual hardware!

After announcing it at VMworld 2013 in San Francisco VMware has released vSphere 5.5 (and other related product updates) yesterday - surprisingly on a Sunday, so the news is not yet out on *all* virtualization related blogs, but this will surely change during this day. Duncan Epping has posted a list of all download links on his blog.

In this post I will provide a quick way to update your standalone ESXi host to ESXi 5.5 and an important heads-up for the early adopters.

VM snapshots and AD domain membership

The trust relationship between this workstation and the primary domain failed.
Virtual machines are very popular in the areas of software development, packaging or testing, because the snapshot feature allows it to keep certain known states of a VM (e.g. a fresh and clean OS install) and return to these very easily. But there are some issues associated to using snapshots that you should be aware of, e.g. this one: If you need to join your Windows test VMs to an Active Directory (AD) domain and send them back in time regularly (by reverting them to a snapshot that you created several days or weeks ago) then you are probably familiar with the annoying effect that the machines eventually "drop off the domain".

In this blog post I will provide a way to
  a) initially prevent this, and
  b) fix it in an automated way if it cannot be avoided.

[Update] ESXi5 Community Packaging Tools 2.2

I have published updated versions of my ESXi5 Community Packaging Tools. Community developers who create drivers and applications for ESXi 5.x can use these tools to package their software into the official distribution formats VIB and ZIP (Offline bundle). Easy-to-use GUIs help them to enter the package's metadata without the need to manually edit text files.

What's new in this release:

What's in ESXi 5.5 for free license and white box users?

With the upcoming release of VMware vSphere 5.5 the free version of ESXi (called vSphere Hypervisor) will also be updated. A lot of users deploy this version at home or in small businesses to learn about virtualization or run non-critical workloads on it - even on hardware that is not officially supported by VMware. What will (not) change for them?