Enable the Intel I217-V network card in VMware ESXi

The motherboard of my Haswell whitebox contains an Intel I217-V network card. See my “Haswell low power whitebox for ESXi and Hyper-V” post for more information. The Intel I217-V  network card is not recognized by VMware ESXi 5.x by default. On the VMware community I found a post with the  Intel I217-V ESXi driver attached.  To enable the Intel I217-V  network card you have two options:

  • Inject the driver in the ESXi ISO using for example the “ESXi-Customizer” tool. See my blogpost  “VMware ESXi 5 whitebox NIC support” for more information.
  • Install the driver when ESXI is already installed. You need a supported network card to be able to install ESXi!

Here is a quick overview how to install the driver when ESXI is already installed:

  • Download the driver
  • Upload the VIB to a datastore by using the vSphere Client
  • Start the SSH service on the ESXI server and make a SSH connection to the ESXi server
  • Put the ESXi server in maintenance mode, command: esxcli  system maintenanceMode set -e true
  • Change the ESXi host acceptance level to Community Supported, command: esxcli software acceptance set –level=CommunitySupported
  • Install the VIB, command:  esxcli software vib install -v /vmfs/volumes/datastore1/net-e1000e-2.3.2.x86_64.vib
  • Reboot the system after the following message “Message: The update completed successfully, but the system needs to be reboot“,command: reboot
  • When the ESXi host is up make a SSH connection and exit maintenance mode. Command: esxcli  system maintenanceMode set -e false

Check if the Intel I217-V network adapter is visible is the vSphere Client or vSphere Web client


12 thoughts on “Enable the Intel I217-V network card in VMware ESXi”

  1. Your post was very helpful. I need a hint. Where you downloaded the driver for the interface I217-V? Thank you.

  2. hello !
    Change the ESXi host acceptance level to Community Supported, command: esxcli software acceptance set -level=CommunitySupported (the command its ok but whit –level=…)

  3. Wow, I have tried mutliple versions


    They all install via ssh successfully, but no I217-V in network adapters after reboot.

    The funny thing is that I CAN see and assign the I217-V via direct path PCI to a Windows server Client (SBS2011).

    Just going to buy 2 intel NICS that work flawlessly (Intel EXPI9301CTBLK from newegg.com only $30)

  4. Verified. The net-e1000e-2.3.2.x86_64.vib driver supports the Intel onboard NIC on a ASRock Z87 Pro4 on ESXi5.5U1.

    Many thanks to mapd07 ;o)

  5. Thank you very much for this solution. Verified on my new Lenovo TS140 Haswell system!


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