Download and install async drivers in VMware ESXi
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Download and install async drivers in VMware ESXi

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Article ID: 343324

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Updated On:

Products

VMware vSphere ESXi VMware vSphere ESXi 5.0 VMware vSphere ESXi 6.0 VMware vSphere ESXi 7.0

Issue/Introduction

This article provides steps to download and install async drivers in ESXi.

Environment

  • VMware vSphere ESXi 7.0.0
  • VMware vSphere ESXi 5.5
  • VMware vSphere ESXi 6.0
  • VMware vSphere ESXi 6.5
  • VMware vSphere ESXi 5.0
  • VMware vSphere ESXi 6.7

Resolution

VMware certifies async drivers that are developed by third-party vendors. They are released in the ESXi software package called a vSphere Installation Bundle (VIB).

Download an async driver signed by VMware

  1. Navigate to the VMware Compatibility Guide > IO Devices section.
  2. Apply filters to locate the IO device for which you want to upgrade the driver and open the device page. For more information, see Determining Network/Storage firmware and driver version in ESXi (1027206).
  3. Look through the list for the version of ESXi you are running. VMware recommends installing the latest certified driver whenever possible.
  4. Click the plus beside the version and click the link under footnotes to open the driver download page.
    Download the driver bundle to your local system.

Installing the async driver

Use one of these methods:

Note: For more information about installing a specific async driver release, see the /doc/README.txt file within the async driver release zip file.

Installing async drivers in ESXi using esxcli and offline bundle

  1. Extract the contents of the async driver zip file.
  2. Identify the offline-bundle.zip file(s).
  3. Log in to the ESXi host using the vSphere Client with administrator privileges, such as root.
  4. Using the Datastore Browser, upload the offline-bundle.zip file(s) to a datastore in the ESXi host.
  5. Enter the host into maintenance mode.
  6. Log in as the ESXi console root to by using SSH or iLO/DRAC.
  7. Run this command to install the drivers using the offline bundle:

    esxcli software vib install -d /path/offline-bundle.zip

    Note. This command requires an absolute path. For example: esxcli software vib install -d /vmfs/volumes/datastore_name/offline-bundle.zip. If this command fails, unzip the file and try running the same command. If hostd does not respond, try using localcli instead of esxcli. For example:

    localcli software vib install -d /vmfs/volumes/datastore_name/offline-bundle.zip
     
  8. Restart the ESXi host.
  9. To confirm if the VIB is installed successfully, run this command:

    esxcli network nic get -n vmnicX

    Note: Replace vmnicX with the vmnic# that should be using the new driver. If the new driver is not listed, there may be a need to run an additional command to enable or disable the driver. For more information, see Enabling and Disabling Native Drivers in ESXi (2147565).
     
  10. Exit Maintenance Mode.

Installing async drivers using esxcli and async driver VIB file

  1. Extract the contents of the async driver zip file.
  2. Identify the offline-bundle.zip file(s).
  3. Extract the contents of the offline-bundle.zip file(s).
  4. Identify the async-driver.vib file(s).
  5. Log in to the ESXi host using the vSphere Client with administrator privileges, such as root.
  6. Using Datastore Browser, upload the async-driver.vib file(s) to an ESXi host’s datastore.
  7. Enter the host into Maintenance Mode.
  8. Log in as root to the ESXi console through SSH or iLO/DRAC.
  9. Run this command to install drivers from the VIB file:

    esxcli software vib install –v /path/async-driver.vib

    Note: This command requires an absolute path. For example: esxcli software vib install –v /vmfs/volumes/datastore/async-driver.vib. If hostd is not responding, try using localcli instead of esxcli. For example: localcli software vib install –v /vmfs/volumes/datastore/async-driver.vib.
     
  10. Restart the ESXi host.
  11. To confirm if the VIB is installed successfully, run this command:

    esxcli network nic get -n vmnicX

    Note: Replace vmnicX with the vmnic# that should be using the new driver. If the new driver is not listed, there may be a need to run an additional command to enable or disable the driver. For more information, see Enabling and Disabling Native Drivers in ESXi (2147565).
     
  12. Exit Maintenance Mode.

Installing async drivers in ESXi using VMware Update Manager

  1. Extract the contents of the async driver zip file.
  2. Identify the offline-bundle.zip file(s).
  3. From the vCenter Server, go to Home > Update Manager.
  4. Click the Patch Repository tab.
  5. Click the Import Patches link at the top right of the screen.
  6. Click Finish. The async driver is added to the patch repository.
  7. Create a Host Extension baseline and remediate the ESXi host. For more information, see the Installing and Administering VMware vSphere Update Manager Guide.

    Notes
    The VMware vSphere Update Manager automatically restarts the ESXi host after the remediation is complete.
    Using the esxcli software vib install -v /path/to/vib command is the only way revert to an inbox driver after updating to an async driver. In this case, the -n option does not work as the inbox driver does not associate to a depot.

Adding the async driver to the ESXi installation ISO bundle in ESXi

  1. Launch the VMware vSphere PowerCLI command line.
  2. Extract the contents of the async driver zip file and identify the offline-bundle.zip files(s).
  3. Use the Add-ESXSoftwareDepot commandlet to add both the ESXi offline bundle and async offline bundle as depots. 

    For example:

    Add-EsxSoftwareDepot C:\path\to\new-async-driver-offline-bundle.zip, C:\path\to\esxi-offline-bundle.zip

    You see output similar to:

    Depot Url
    ---------
    zip:C:\path\to\new-async-driver-offline-bundle.zip?index.xml
    zip:C:\VMware-ESXi-5.0.0-469512-depot.zip?index.xml

     
  4. Verify that the async driver is now available as a software package. 

    For example:

    Get-EsxSoftwarePackage

    You see output similar to:

    Name Version Vendor Release Date
    ------------------- ------- ---------- ------------
    driver-package-name 1.2.3.4 vendorname mm/dd/yyyy

     
  5. Clone an existing image profile:
     
    Use the Get-EsxImageProfile commandlet to list available image profiles. 

    For example:

    Get-EsxImageProfile

    You see output similar to:

    Name Vendor Last Modified Acceptance
    -------------------------- ------ ------------- ---------------
    ESXi-5.0.0-456551-standard VMware mm/dd/yyyy PartnerSupported
    ESXi-5.0.0-456551-no-tools VMware mm/dd/yyyy PartnerSupported


    Clone an existing available image profile by specifying a new name for the profile. 

    For example:

    New-EsxImageProfile -CloneProfile ESXi-5.0.0-456551-standard -name NewAsyncProfile -Vendor MyCorp

    You see output similar to:

    Name Vendor Last Modified Acceptance Level
    --------------- ------ ------------- ----------------
    NewAsyncProfile MyCorp mm/dd/yyyy PartnerSupported

     
  6. Use the Add-EsxSoftwarePackage commandlet to add the async driver to the new image profile, specifying the package name from step 5. 

    For example:

    Add-EsxSoftwarePackage -ImageProfile NewAsyncProfile -SoftwarePackage driver-package-name

    You see output similar to:

    Name Vendor Last Modified Acceptance Level
    --------------- ------ ------------- ----------------
    NewAsyncProfile VMware today PartnerSupported

     
  7. Export the new image profile. Run the Export-EsxImageProfile command to export the image profile as an ISO. 

    For example:

    Export-EsxImageProfile -ImageProfile NewAsyncProfile -ExportToISO -filepath C:\NewAsyncProfile.iso
     
  8. If necessary, burn the ISO to a new CD. Use the CD or ISO to boot the server and install ESXi. Follow the normal installation procedures.

    For additional information, see the Customizing Installations with vSphere ESXi Image Builder section of the VMware ESXi Installation and Setup Guide.

Additional Information