I am creating a lab environment to run VSphere 6.5. The very first issue I ran into while installing esxi 6.5 is "No network adapter were detected. etc......"
I'm trying to install this on a Dell Alienware Aurora R4 (service tag: 3KY9J02). It has an integrated Realtek RTL8111E Ethernet Controller Driver
I know this is not your typical install but I have nothing else to work with and I don't want to run esxi 6.5 in a virtual. I want a physical host.
I have been reading about injecting drivers into an esxi 6.5 iso, I can not find a .vib version of the driver. All I find is .exe file.
How can I get this drive issue resolved?
Thank you so much,
for any device you need the appropriate driver to get that detected inside the OS, I checked in vmware hardware compatibility guide and could not find this model RTL8111E, unfortunately, without vib (driver) you will not be able to use the network card inside the ESXi host.
Here are some unsupported drivers which may work (or not):
ESXi Customizer PS can be used to build an ESXi ISO image that includes drivers from that depot.
Couldn't I just buy a compatible/supported NIC? One that has a supported driver. I don't mind spending a little money.
It would have to use PCI express x1. That is the only slot I have left.
I think I'm missing something here.
Wouldn't you need the physical NIC first before downloading the driver?
I guess what I was looking for was a site they said "here are esxi NICs you can purchase for your host". Then after I had the correct nic I wouldn't need to inject a driver into the esxi .iso image. Right?
ESXi comes with drivers for a lot of NICs; for most supported NICs you usually don't need to add a driver.
Some server manufacturers install hardware where the driver isn't included in the VMware standard ESXi image but usually they provide their owen modified image which includes these drivers.
Building your own ESXi installation image isn't that difficult; it can be done using PowerCLI commands. ESXi customizer PS can automate that process for the drivers on v-front and I think there is one that MAY work with your Realtek NIC. Build that modified image and do a fresh ESXi install.
For example here https://blog.monstermuffin.org/fixing-esxi-6-5-hpe-g7-servers/ is described how to build an ESXi 6.5 image that runs on HPE ProLiant G7 servers (ESXi 6.5 is unsupported on HPE G7 servers and the HPE ESXi 6.5 image crashes because a certain module isn't compatible).
To add a driver to a already installed ESXi host you'd need a working NIC to upload it or a shared datastore (i.e. SAN) which can be accessed from another host.
No it is not, but i kind of figured that since this not a typical install.
I had an Alienware Aurora R4 laying around. I decided to try and turn it into a esxi host. I kind of knew I was going to have some issues.
Dell Alienware Aurora R4 does not support esxi 6.5 . go though below link for dell Compatible Systems for esxi 6.5.
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How do I link the driver version to the actual nic buy.
I'm seeing all kinds of nic driver versions but when I copy & paste I don't get linked to an actual nic.
Could someone just give me a link to a NIC to buy that will work with esxi 6.5?
Your second screenshot there shows the driver it requires. There are tons of NICs from which to choose. It's probably easier for you to go down to your local electronics store and see what they have and compare against the HCL.
The Aurora R4 has two PCIe x16 slots and two PCIe x1 slots.
So you should not be limited to PCIe x1 network cards assuming that one or more of the PCIe x16 slot is open/free to use. You may want to consider getting a dual port or quad port NIC card; usually multi-port NIC cards will be PCIe x4 or PCIe x8 cards which you should be able to install into a PCIe x16 slot.
You could search a site such as Amazon or NewEgg using a search term such as Intel dual port NIC or Broadcom NetXtreme or Broadcom NIC. You could then search the VMware compatibility guide to see whether the network chip is supported or not. As most dual port/quad port NICs are used in servers, the chances are high that they are supported in ESXi.
Beware though that there are counterfeit NIC cards. I have encountered one VMware community post where the person bought an Intel quad port NIC that was in the ESXi Compatibility Guide (for a low price that was too good to be true), but ended up not being recognised by ESXi.
The virtual e1000e adapter in VMs appears as an Intel 82574L on ESXi/Workstation/Fusion Windows VMs.
I can't say whether it is real or counterfeit. A high or normal price does not automatically guarantee that it is real/genuine; so it can be a hit or miss with the seller. There used to be an Intel webpage that you can enter markings/stickers from the NIC to determine whether it is a genuine Intel or not; but now I can't find that webpage. Note that these counterfeit NICs still work but I can only guess these were made from chips that failed quality control tests so it may not work with all OSs and/or has less tolerance for heat/prolonged use.
Also note that Intel has not released a Windows Server 2016 and Windows 10 driver for this (although the virtual e1000e works with a Windows 10 VM); and expected discontinuance is in just over a year from now (Q1 2019).
Anyway, it should be fine to try it out and if it doesn't work with ESXi it is only $25 and not a few hundred; and the seller posted a 30/60-day defect warranty.
EDIT: I found the genuine Intel NIC check page; which then leads to the Yottamark webpage. But it look like it covers only specific server-class NIC adapter models and does not cover a NIC with 82574L.
I ordered a 2nd nic just in case. he he he....
If all I have to spend is $30 to get a host running then so be it.
This one is genuine, so no BS here.
BTW, once I receive and install the new NIC would it be a good idea to disable the integrated on-board NIC in the BIOS?
The fourth picture in Newegg website of the 2nd NIC shows a Yottamark sticker at the back. Perhaps you can still check the authencity of it with the Yottamark website.
You don't have to disable the Realtek on-board NIC unless there is some conflict either in interrupts or using the same PCIe lane as the add-on Intel NIC card(s).
One reason to keep it enabled is to see whether you can make a passthrough of the Realtek onboard NIC to a VM in ESXi work. But of course, PCIe passthrough does have plenty of complications. Don't know whether the Realtek chip supports PCIe passthrough, and whether the Aurora R4 motherboard supports PCIe passthrough; or if it is sharing PCIe lanes with other devices.