I spent a few days troubleshooting a disk corruption problem (http://communities.vmware.com/message/1091657#1091657), and after a million tests finally concluded my problem was caused by 3C996B-T adapters (BCM5701 chip), when iSCSI transfer is performed using them. Onboard 5751 works fine, any transfers over that one will go ok.
Name PCI Driver Link Speed Duplex MTU Description
vmnic0 01:00.00 tg3 Up 1000Mbps Full 1500 Broadcom Corporation NetXtreme BCM5751 Gigabit Ethernet
vmnic1 06:05.00 tg3 Down 0Mbps Half 1500 Broadcom Corporation 3C996B-T 1000Base-T
vmnic2 06:06.00 tg3 Up 1000Mbps Full 1500 Broadcom Corporation 3C996B-T 1000Base-T
I figured BCM5701 is not on the HCL (it reads " Do not use Broadcom 5700 Rev 14 or 5701 Rev 15 for heavy traffic, VMotion, or Service Console on ESX Server 2.x and 3.x. Update your BCM5700
firmware.), and I wanted to update firmware on these cards. However I have no idea how to tell what Rev they run. I've installed all management software packages and tried all firmware utilities I could find, but the best I can find is this:
ASIC Version BCM5702 A3
Firmware Version 2.4.
No Rev in sight. Regardless, newer firmware doesn't appear to exist, I tried both 3COM and Broadcom sites.
Can anyone confirm these cards can be used for iSCSI or VMotion, and under what config / changes (maybe there is firmware out there that fixes things?)
Those NIC's are presently discontinued, so they can't be supported by ESX. And since you had trouble with them, I question the logic of even asking if they are supported. If they caused an issue, I wouldn't even consider them. The onboard Broadcom would be much better, and use these cards (if you must) for VM switches.
I didn't ask if they are supported, but whether they work. We all know there is a pile of hardware that is not on HCL but community confirmed it works fine. There is also a smaller pile that doesn't work "out of the box" but can be made to work with some workarounds or changes.
If you want to question logic, then think about HCL listing BCM5701 and then saying "update your firmware". It appears with the latest firmware it still doesn't work. Also "do not use for heavy traffic, VMotion or Service Console". What else is there? What exactly is heavy traffic? 50 GB per day? Peaks over 234Mbps? If it doesn't work 100% of the time under all load conditions, I'd remove it from the list to avoid confusion.
OK, now I don't get it. Supported means they aren't designed for this product. Why use products that aren't designed? Then you said you had problems with the NIC's. So apparently they DON'T work do they?
So if you want someone to side with you just because it's the answer you want to hear, then the real issue is you just want to force the issue and use something that is discontinued and is supported, so good luck!
Heavy traffic is potential problems, don't use it. Period. If there isn't a firmware update, that's probably because it's been discontinued. It doesn't matter what "high traffic" could mean short term, at some point, like you already said, you will have issues, so these cards don't work. NIC's are a dime a dozen these days, I am SURE you can find a really cheap PCIx/PCIe NIC out there that is still supported, and has updated drivers, that works much better.. so why continue to use something that's outdated and old?
It works in ESXi 4.0U1/5.0U1 IIRR...
I agree those "supported" smartass are super annoying... either in the forum or at work........ Using "not supported" for excuse for everything is usually a sign of no-brainer....