Install the HP/ServerEngines/Emulex Corporation NC553i 10Gb 2-port FlexFabric Converged Network Adapter be2net driver for your BL460c G7 blade based ESXi host using the vMA

While trying to apply a host profile to a new HP BL460c G7 blade based ESXi 4.1 host, I noticed I was missing 2 vmnics 🙂

It seemed the NC553i CNA had no driver installed. No problem, I downloaded the driver CD here. However, this 4.0.306.0 driver is newer then the one installed on the other ESXi hosts. It seems there are 3 other versions, , 2.102.554.0 and 2.102.518.0 available for download and at the moment our ESXi hosts run the oldest version.

We decided to install the newest driver and use this as a test case. We don’t expect any problems because this driver is 6 months old now and it has gone through rigorous testing before recieving the ‘VMware certified’ stamp.

Normally I would copy the to a local datastore and install it. This server, however doesn’t have persistent storage because it boots from a flash disk. So we’re gonna use the vMA to do it. It will be a usefull step towards using the vMA for everything =]

First, extract the downloaded .iso file and copy the to your vMA using SCP.

Login to the vMA and use the command

vihostupdate –server <server name> –username root –password <root password> –install –bundle

to install the driver.

When the installation is finished, reboot the host.

I used the vSphere client for convenience.

After the host is up again, you can see if your hardware is working by checking the network adapters page

Success! By logging into the ESXi host and running the command

esxcfg-nics -l

you can see all your network adapters. Running the command

ethtool -i vmnic<number>

you can see what driver is being used. You can clearly see the difference in driver version and even firmware version in the screenshots below.

Old driver and firmware:

New driver and firmware:

We’ll continue to test these newer versions until we’re statisfied we can update all hosts. Before we do this, however, both versions and the combination of the two, should be available in the VMware HCL. ATM they are not.

Please note this and this if you’re using VMware ESXi 5.0!


About Yuri de Jager
Technology Addict

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