NJKwork
Enthusiast
Enthusiast

Which NIC for Windows 2008? E1000 or VMXNET 3?

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In ESXi 4, Windows 2008 VMs seem to want to default to the E1000 model NIC when creating a new one. However, after reading the KB on this (), is seems the new VMXNET 3 is supported for Windows 2008 (and Windows 2003 for that matter).

So which is the best to use? It seems the VMXNET it the best choice because it has all the latest bells and whistles - but sometimes that is a bad thing too. The KB really does not say WHAT to use, but rather what options are available...unless I overlooked it.

Any advice?

SB

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RenaudL
Hot Shot
Hot Shot

Disclaimer: I directly worked on Vmxnet3, so I'm probably biased.

I would recommend using Vmxnet3. More than just having the latest bells and whistles, its overhead is also smaller than e1000 (and therefore its performance is better) and is future-proof as new virtualization enhancements will continuously be implemented on top of it. The device has been intensively tested for months and the drivers we provide are of the highest quality.

I understand the reluctance to use a whole new device, but you won't be disappointed if you give it a try.

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krishnaprasad
Hot Shot
Hot Shot

Hello,

It's always better to use the default one for VMs. in this case e1000. VMXNET can be used if you need to have the below features available in the VM.

VMXNET Generation 3 — VMXNET3 is the third generation paravirtualized NIC

from VMware. VMXNET3 includes these new features not found in Enhanced

VMXNET:

  • MSI/MSI-X support (subject to guest operating system kernel support)

  • Receive Side Scaling (supported in Windows 2008 when explicitly enabled
    through the device's Advanced configuration tab)

  • IPv6 checksum and TCP Segmentation Offloading (TSO) over IPv6

  • VLAN off-loading

  • Large TX/RX ring sizes (configured from within the virtual machine)

So my understanding is always go for the default one if you are not looking for specific features listed as above which are supported by vmxnet

Thanks,

Krishnaprasad

aharden
Enthusiast
Enthusiast

The E1000 is probably configured by the wizard as a conservative measure, since the Windows Server 2008 install media contains a driver for it. The driver for VMXNET3 is most likely not included with WS2008 and needs to be installed via VMware Tools.

RenaudL
Hot Shot
Hot Shot

Disclaimer: I directly worked on Vmxnet3, so I'm probably biased.

I would recommend using Vmxnet3. More than just having the latest bells and whistles, its overhead is also smaller than e1000 (and therefore its performance is better) and is future-proof as new virtualization enhancements will continuously be implemented on top of it. The device has been intensively tested for months and the drivers we provide are of the highest quality.

I understand the reluctance to use a whole new device, but you won't be disappointed if you give it a try.

View solution in original post

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NJKwork
Enthusiast
Enthusiast

Thanks everyone. That is the information I was looking for.

SB

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krishnaprasad
Hot Shot
Hot Shot

Thanks RenaudL. you gave us confidence to go for vmxnet3. thanks for the info Smiley Happy

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Rumple
Virtuoso
Virtuoso

If you use a typical install it picks the E1000 driver. After installing the vmware tools, I've been shutting down the VM, removing the E1000 nic, adding the VMXNET3 nic and then using the show hidden devices command to remove the hidden vnic that stays in the operating system prior to configuring the IP on the new nic.

Cleans up the O/S and avoids the error about the ip being assigned to a nic thats not present in the system.

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LucasAlbers
Expert
Expert

We have a win 2008 trend av server running as a vm. Microsoft operations manager was showing a large number of interrupts.

Switching the system from the flexible network adapter to the vmxnet adapter, and enabling hardware mmu, drastically reduced the level of interrupts generated, so we no longer receive the operations manager nag emails.

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Ritmo2k
Enthusiast
Enthusiast

Hate to say it Renaud, the vmxnet3 driver in Windows Server 2008x64 has issues.

I have tried many vm's and it forces the guest to think they only have local access although connectivity exists.

Something is wrong and I don't know what...

If you would like to get the bottom of this with me, I would take the time to perform whatever diags you need.

Thanks!

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Rumple
Virtuoso
Virtuoso

I haven't had this problem with my Windows 2008 32 bit servers with the new driver.

Of course I wish I could say the same about my Windows 7 based laptop 🐵 POS always thinks it has no network connectivity until I ping the internet

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LucasAlbers
Expert
Expert

i have only used vmxnet enhanced on windows 2003|2008 systems, I hae not used vmxnet 3, yet.

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RenaudL
Hot Shot
Hot Shot

Hmmm, it sounds more like a general configuration issue than an issue with the device itself.

Did you check all the settings inside and outside the guests?

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Ritmo2k
Enthusiast
Enthusiast

Yup, this Host has had W2008x64/86 guests running for over a year. Everything works fine with a E1000 nic, but the vmxnet3 driver causes all sorts of connectivity issues.

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Scissor
Virtuoso
Virtuoso

I switched some of my Win2008 x64 Guests over to the Vmxnet3 driver. Network connectivity inside the Guests seems fine.

However, I then noticed that if I view the ESX4i Performance tab for any of these Guests and select the "Network" chart, the chart doesn't show any network activity.

If I switch my Guest's network adapter back to e1000 or Vmxnet2, then the Network chart does show traffic.

I tried uninstalling/reinstalling VMware Tools, but that didn't seem to make a difference.

Can anyone else reproduce this behavior?

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mauricev
Enthusiast
Enthusiast

I was getting poor peformance in OpenSolaris with e1000 and couldn't figure out why. So I surmised it might be because of the VMWare supplied e1000. Because vmxnet3 doesn't yet work in OpenSolaris, I used to regular Solaris to test the e1000 against vmnxet3. As it turned out, Vmxnet3 is about 30% faster!

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Scissor
Virtuoso
Virtuoso

I was getting poor peformance in OpenSolaris with e1000 and couldn't figure out why.

I think the current version of OpenSolaris has a bug in the e1000 driver (I was getting strange network performance running OpenSolaris on a physical box with an e1000 NIC). Hopefully it will be fixed in the next release of OpenSolaris.

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tbsky
Contributor
Contributor

hi:

just install vmxnet3 in the windows 2003 R2. i found the nic show as an "removeable" icon at the corner. can i prevent it as a "removeable" nic?

thanks for help!!

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microkid
Hot Shot
Hot Shot

I'm running W2K8 as a file server here. With the E1000, network speeds were approx 40MB/sec. Since I swapped the E1000 for the VMXNet3, network speeds increased to approx 60MB/sec. I use a Intel Pro 1000/PT. So for every new machine, I use the VMXNet3 now Smiley Happy

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FireDog7881
Contributor
Contributor

This has been a great read and answered my exact question about with NIC to use. I am however concerned that you don't get any network statistics when using the VMXNET3 nic.

Can this be confirmed that it is a known problem? Can this be confirmed that it will be fixed?

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Scissor
Virtuoso
Virtuoso

Can this be confirmed that it is a known problem? Can this be confirmed that it will be fixed?

Yes, see here: http://communities.vmware.com/message/1285806

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