After installing, racking and cabling an NX-6035-G4 node in our DC, we found out when installing ESXi 5.5 through the IPMI interface that only the onboard 1 GbE ports were detected (the SuperMicro chassis integrates 2x 1 GbE – Intel 530 and one Management port). The Quad-Port 10 GbE Intel PCI adapter was not detected.
Since we weren’t aware of the driver issue, and being unable to get an access request to the DC in a timely fashion, my suggestion was to build a custom ESXi ISO image with Intel i40 network drivers. This post describes the way I proceeded.
- ensure the latest PowerCLI version is installed
- download the VMware ESXi 5.5 build you need (in my case I needed build # 2456374) – access to My VMware is required
- download the required drivers (in my case the VMware ESXi 5.5 i40e 1.2.48 NIC Driver for Intel Ethernet Controllers X710 and XL710)
- Place all the files in a folder of your choice for ease of work (in my case I created the C:\CustISO folder on my workstation)
Step 1 – Extract the Offline bundle from the drivers zip file and place it in the working directory (C:\CustISO). In the zip, this is the file I was looking for:
Step 2 – Launch PowerCLI, default to the C:\CustISO folder and import the ESXi build as well as the i40 driver as an offline source:
Add-EsxSoftwareDepot .\ESXi550-201502001.zip Add-EsxSoftwareDepot .\i40e-1.2.48-1331820-offline_bundle-2670313.zip
Step 3 – Verify that the image profile was installed and create a new image profile:
You will obtain the name of the image that you can then use for creating a new image profile:
New-EsxImageProfile -CloneProfile ESXi-5.5.0-20150204001-standard -Name "CustomESXi" -Vendor "VMware, Inc."
This will create an image profile based on the image we had imported on step 2.
Step 4 – Obtain the name of the network driver package:
You will obtain a list of packages, the one you need is identified in the list below:
The net-i40e is the one we are looking for. We will use it in the next command to add it to the custom image.
Step 5 – Add the driver to the custom image:
Add-EsxSoftwarePackage -ImageProfile CustomESXi -SoftwarePackage net-i40e
Our driver was added and we are now ready to export the ISO file.
Step 6 – Export the customized ISO by using the following command:
Export-EsxImageProfile –ImageProfile CustomESXi –ExportToISO –FilePath C:\CustISO\ESXi-5.5.0-Build2456374-Intel-i40-netdriver.iso
This command will not generate any output. Check however for the file that will show up in the folder. The ISO is now ready for use.
Thanks to this custom-built ISO we saved ourselves some time and made sure we now are able to build the next nodes without the hassle of doing it all over again.