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


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