So I finally got my card in from the Chinese eBay boat. Excitedly I popped it in my test server to try it out before taking down my main machine. So far it has just been plug and play... add a card, it shows up in ESXI. Well....not this time. After installing the card and booting ESXI it would show up in available devices but would not show up in physical NICs. I could even pass the damn thing through to a VM and even PFsense picked it up and would use it no problem...so I knew we had a driver issue... Well after bashing my head against the wall trying to find out how to get the stupid Intel 10Gb card to show up in ESXI I finally found a driver that will work. Anyone that is having a hell of a time getting an Intel X540 or (especially) the X550 10Gb card working properly in ESXI 6.5, I'm going to save you some time...
Driver found here...
File manager I used found here...
SSH client I used found here...
Here is how to install it...
- Extract the .zip file of the driver. You'll either install the .vib driver or update it using the zip offline bundle. (use the offline bundle if you're using an OEM version of ESXI)
- Open ESXI web interface or go to your server and enable SSH (on server it is found in troubleshooting)
Open WinSCP and log into your server by tying your server's address in host name (red), login user (root) and password (blue), then click login (black)
- Once inside WinSCP, copy the .vib file or the update offline bundle zip file in the tmp directory by just dragging from your downloads folder and dropping it into WinSCP.
- Now open Putty and type your server IP address in host name
- Inside Putty type the user (root), enter, then your password
- Verify the file is in the tmp directory by typing... ls /tmp
- Then install the driver by typing... esxcli software vib install -v /tmp/net-ixgbe_4.5.1-1OEM.600.0.0.2494585.vib
- Or install the update by typing... esxcli software vib update -d /tmp/ixgbe-4.5.1-2494585-offline_bundle-5197765.zip
- That's it, you're done! Now you just need to reboot the host and setup your card.
A bit of a disclaimer, I did NOT use the offline bundle so I can't vouch for if it works or not.
Was it the famed purple screen of death? I've been thinking of an effective backup plan...but without vSphere it is almost impossible to have an effective backup or redundancy solution. I take snapshots of my VMs I also export the config files for PFsense and FreeNAS so if I have to remake the VM for those it won't be a big deal. Unless the hypervisor crashes the snapshots should be sufficient to get going again.
I've been pretty happy with VMware, so far it is as stable as running the bare metal boxes. I don't screw around with the box that runs the house...I always test things on a different machine so I know what to do to implement it on the other server. Actually to me VMware was a lot easier to get working than Hyper-V server was when I was testing hypervisors... It does kind of make me nervous that the entire system is currently running off of a 2.5" WD black drive...but then I remembered back when I had a FreeNAS bare metal box it was running off a $5 flash drive...
The only PCI passthrough right now is the cross flashed LSI HBA. One of the reasons I didn't want to use PCI passthrough on this 10 Gb card with PFsense was mostly because it would add a lot of complication trying to bridge interfaces but also would add less flexibility if it came down to switching back over to my hardware router if something went wrong.