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

image

Haswell low power whitebox for ESXi and Hyper-V

I was searching for a new whitebox for my home lab.  I had the following requirements for the new whitebox:

  • Low power consumption for 24×7 running
  • >16 GB memory
  • Expansion slots for PCI(-E) cards
  • Good performance
  • Low noise

A couple of weeks ago Intel released the new 4th generation Haswell CPUs that consumes less power. Seems to be interesting option for building a low power consumption whitebox. So I did some research and ordered the following hardware components:

CPU i5 4570S Boxed foto-7_thumb1
Motherboard Gigabyte GA-Z87-D3HP
Memory Corsair Vengeance 4 x 8 GB DDR3 PC3-12800 (DDR3-1600) 32GB
Power Supply Seasonic G-360 80 Plus Gold

The following components I reused:

  • The case
  • 2 Intel PCI-e NICS
  • A SSD drive

CPU

Haswell is the codename for the 4th generation Intel Core processors. One of the big improvements of the Haswell CPUs is the idle power consumption. The Intel S-version is also a low-power CPU.  It contains 4 cores and has a 65W TDP. The processor supports vPro, VT-x, VT-d, EPT etc.   A CPU cooler is in the box included. For the full specifications look here.

Motherboard

The Gigabyte GA-Z87-D3HP is a socket 1150 motherboard. The board has  4 memory sockets that support  DDR3 memory up to 32 GB.  It has onboard graphics , 6 x SATA 6 Gb/s connectors, a Intel WG-217v LAN adapter and the following expansion slots:

  • 1 x PCI Express x16 slot
  • 1 x PCI Express x16 slot, running at x4
  • 2 x PCI Express x1 slots
  • 2 x PCI slots

Memory

For the memory I choose the Corsair Vengeance CML32GX3M4A1600C10 4 x 8  PC3-12800 (DDR3-1600) CL10 kit. All the four memory sockets on the board are filled with a 8 GB module (total = 32 GB memory).

Power Supply

The Seasonic G-360 power supply has a 80 Plus Gold certification. This is a great power supply with high efficiency and low noise..

 

Hypervisor support

I tested VMware ESXi 5.1 Update 1 and vSphere 5.5 and Microsoft Windows Server 2012 with the Hyper-V role installed.

VMware ESXi

The onboard Intel I217-V NIC is not recognized  by ESXi 5.1 Update 1. To get the I217-V NIC working in ESXi5.x read the blog post found here. I reused 2  Intel PCI-e NICs, one for LAN and the other for iSCSI and NFS traffic. The onboard SATA controller  (Lynx Point AHCI) is recognized. I use an existing SSD for booting ESXi and running some important VMs. But is is possible to boot ESXi from USB stick. The other VMs are on NAS device. Passthrough is supported by the CPU and motherboard.

image image
image image

 

Microsoft Windows Server 2012 with the Hyper-V role

I tested Windows Server 2012 with the Hyper-V role enabled. The The onboard Intel I217-V NIC is not recognized by default. In the “Enable the Intel I217-V NIC in Windows Server 2012” blog post I explain how to enable the I217-V NIC Windows Server 2012.

 

image image
image image

Power consumption

The whitebox consumes a maximum between 40-50 W. When idle (and that is often) it consumes only 28 a 29 W!

foto (8)

The whitebox components cost about €615. and will be used for running VMs 24×7.  The whitebox meets all the requirements I had.

Control (remotely) the power of your Home Lab

I have a lab at home to test for example VMware vSphere and  Microsoft stuff. Running your home lab for 24/7 will result in a high electricity bill. For a couple of months I use the Internet Control Station ICS-1000  (ICS-1000) to power on my home lab when needed from anywhere.  The ICS-1000 controls (left picture) controls the receivers (right picture).  The ICS-1000 is connected to my router. In the receivers are the power cables plugged from the devices you manage.

foto (2) foto (1)

So when needing my lab environment I  open the App on my iPhone and power on the home lab  from everywhere. After a short time I can remotely access the home lab and connect for example to my:

  • NAS
  • VMware vSphere with ESXi servers environment
  • Microsoft Hyper-V environment

Using the web browser or the iPhone App for example you can program the timers to power on/off devices on specific times and dates.   

image image

I use different receivers through  the whole house and control it with the ICS-1000.  For example I control the light outside the house with timers I programmed in the the ICS-1000. The App has still some limitations and bugs.  For example it is not possible to edit timers.  To change the timers you need to delete and recreate them. Probably in March 2013 the App will be updated to solve some bugs and add new functionality.