VMware introduces support for Intel i219 (Jacksonville) NICs in ESXi

In this year's summer Intel introduced their new Skylake platform. These motherboards are based on the Z170 chipset and often include onboard Intel i219(-V or -LM) Gigabit Ethernet adapters. VMware ESXi did not properly support the Skylake chipset from the beginning, but it looks like this changed with the release of ESXi 6.0 Update 1 and 5.5 Update 3. I do not own such a system myself, but I have heard reports of users who were able to successfully install ESXi 6.0 U1 on such a system.

However, ESXi 6.0 Update 1 does not (yet) include a driver that supports the i219 NICs. But ESXi 5.5 Update 3 (that was published only few days later) comes with an updated e1000e driver (version that supports these NICs. Here is how you can make best use of it, even if you are already using ESXi 6.0.

The great VMware Tools dilemma

Recently VMware made VMware Tools version 10.0.0 available as a standalone download. This version is now an official downloadable component of vSphere 6.0 with its own Release Notes document and a download page in MyVMware.

In the announcement blog post VMware's Brian Graf writes:
Good news. We have decided that there isn’t any specific reason that VMware Tools builds should be tied to vSphere releases/ESXi builds. Rather, when our engineering teams are ready with key features/updates, we should have the ability to get those benefits out to our customers as quickly as possible.
This release was announced and perceived as a great achievement, but - except for this good news that Brian shared with us - I cannot follow any of the other excited statements that were made about it. It's time to debunk some myths, and it's time to admit that the whole VMware Tools story is still a great mess!