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.

If you have already installed ESXi 5.5 on your system (and don't want to upgrade) then you just need to update to the latest patch level which is Update 3a (this also fixes a nasty bug with VM snapshot consolidations that was introduced in Update 3). On my ESXiPatches site you can find a general guideline for updating ESXi to the latest patch level. Here is a very short version of it: In an ESXi shell run
esxcli network firewall ruleset set -e true -r httpClient
esxcli software profile update -d https://hostupdate.vmware.com/software/VUM/PRODUCTION/main/vmw-depot-index.xml -p ESXi-5.5.0-20151004001-standard
and reboot. After that you will use the new e1000e driver that supports the i219 NIC.

If you have ESXi 6.0 already installed then you should also update to the latest patch level Update 1a (although this is not necessary for getting the i219 adapter to work):
esxcli network firewall ruleset set -e true -r httpClient
esxcli software profile update -d https://hostupdate.vmware.com/software/VUM/PRODUCTION/main/vmw-depot-index.xml -p ESXi-6.0.0-20151004001-standard
Reboot, and then run
esxcli software vib update -n net-e1000e -d https://hostupdate.vmware.com/software/VUM/PRODUCTION/main/vmw-depot-index.xml
This will install the updated e1000e driver of ESXi 5.5 on your ESXi 6.0 system. After another reboot your i219 NIC should be working!

If you want to have an ESXi 6.0 installation image available with the latest patch level and the updated e1000e driver then you can create that with my ESXi-Customizer-PS script like this:
.\ESXi-Customizer-PS-v2.4.ps1 -v60 -load net-e1000e
Please note: Some people falsely believe that it's GLRoman's e1000e driver from my VIBSDepot that adds the support for the i219 adapter. This is not true! Even if you add the -vft switch to the command above the script will add the net-e1000e package from the VMware Online Depot, because this is a newer version than the one in the V-Front Online Depot ( vs.

And another final note: With the methods above you add a driver that was built for ESXi 5.5 to an ESXi 6.0 system. This works well, because ESXi 6.0 is still compatible with 5.x drivers. However, if you want to be fully supported with your system then you should wait for an official ESXi 6.0 version of the updated driver. I can imagine that this will be part of the next ESXi 6.0 patch bundle.

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.


  1. Hi, I'm running ESXi 5.5 u3 on a Dell desktop. Originally, 5.5 was installed using a customized community-developed NIC driver. Now that the system has been updated to u3, both the community driver as well as the official VMware driver appear in the VIB list. However, it seems that the NIC is still running the much older community driver. How can I force the system to use the certified driver instead? Do I simply remove the community driver?


    1. Hi Chris,

      in which "VIB list" do they appear both? In "esxcli software vib list"? So what community-developed driver where you using, GLRoman's net-e1000e?


    2. Hi Andreas,

      Correct, they appear in "esxcli software vib list". The community driver appears to be the "Chilly" one referenced here: https://communities.vmware.com/thread/402814.


    3. Okay, Chilly's drive is named net-e1001e, right. If yes then you can just remove it using

      esxcli software vib remove -n net-e1001e

  2. Hi, I built a new ESXi Host using an ASUS Z170M-Plus Motherboard & Skylake i7 6700 3.4Ghz CPU. I had to try 3 different ways to get a working ESXi 6.0U1a host;

    1) Installed ESXi 6.0U1a onto USB Flash using the ISO to boot a VMware Workstation VM with the USB drive connected. Didnt work. ESXi boots but cannot find the NIC. So it seems ESXi 6.0U1a doesnt yet support the i219 NIC.

    2) Then tried creating a custom ESXi 6.0U1a ISO using ESXi-Customizer-PS-v2.4.ps1 -v60 -load net-e1000e -izip
    Got this warning: "Load additional VIBs from Online depots ...
    Add VIB net-e1000e 2.5.4-6vmw.600.0.0.2494585 [IGNORED, already added]"

    3) Installed ESXi 5.5U3a onto USB Flash using the ESXi 5.5U3a ISO to boot a VMware Workstation VM with the USB drive connected. That booted fine and found the i219 NIC without any other customization required.
    Then used this process http://www.vladan.fr/easily-upgrade-esxi-5-x-to-the-latest-esxi-5-5-update-1-via-cli/ to upgrade from 5.5 > 6.0U1a and it retained the nic driver. So I now have fully functioning ESXi 6.0U1a with a Skylake Motherboard & CPU & i219 NIC. Very Happy!


  3. Great that it worked, I am purchasing currently the same MB and CPU to set up as well a whitebox.

  4. Thank you. I've been messing with an ASRock H170M-ITX/AC and neither of the onboard NIC were working, fortunately I had another card to get me going but wanted the onboard i219v working as well (not bother about the realtek). You're instructions worked perfectly for ESXi 6 on this board.



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