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Intel 82571 NICs intermittently lose connectivity with ESX 4.x (1010313)

Details

  • Intel 82571 based physical network interfaces using the Intel e1000e driver may lose connectivity on ESX or ESXi 4.x
  • Loss of connectivity may occur if you use this network interface:

    • To configure a VMkernel network to access an iSCSI storage or a NAS storage
    • To add a connection an iSCSI Target.
    • To add a connection to an NFS datastore.
    • To start an I/O operation to an iSCSI LUN or NFS Datastore.
    • As an uplink for a virtual switch.

  • The VMkernel log file /var/log/vmkernel may contain the warning:

    cpu8:4220)WARNING: LinNet: netdev_watchdog: NETDEV WATCHDOG: vmnic2: transmit timed out

Solution

This issue may occur if the Message Signaled Interrupt (MSI) mode is enabled for the e1000e driver and this mode is not supported in a server platform. This driver supports these three interrupt modes:
  1. Legacy
  2. MSI
  3. MSI-X

ESX 4.0 added support for Message Signaled Interrupts in network and storage drivers. The default interrupt mode for the e1000e driver under ESX 4.x is MSI (1).

To configure the e1000e driver to use Legacy (0) Interrupt mode:

Caution: Only perfrom these steps on the e1000e driver. If you perform these steps on other network drivers, network cards may not appear after a reboot. If a network card does not appear after making this change, revert it.
  1. Open a console to the ESX or ESXi host. For more information, see Unable to connect to an ESX host using Secure Shell (SSH) (1003807) or Using Tech Support Mode in ESXi 4.1 (1017910).
  2. To configure the e1000e module option IntMode and use Legacy (0) interrupts for a 4-port NIC, run the command:

    esxcfg-module -s IntMode=0,0,0,0 e1000e

    Note: A mode number must be specified for each NIC port. In case of 2 quad port NICs, specify the mode 0 for all 8 ports with the command:

    esxcfg-module -s IntMode=0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0 e1000e

  3. On ESX host, run this command to rebuild initrd:

    esxcfg-boot -b

    Note: This step is not applicable to ESXi hosts.

  4. Reboot the ESX/ESXi host for the changes to take effect.
  5. If network cards do not appear after making this change, revert it.
  6. If the issue persists, see ESX/ESXi hosts has intermittent or no network connectivity (1004109).

To revert the change:

  1. Open a console to the ESX or ESXi host. For more information, see Unable to connect to an ESX host using Secure Shell (SSH) (1003807) or Using Tech Support Mode in ESXi 4.1 (1017910).
  2. Run this command to remove the e1000e module options:

    esxcfg-module -s "" e1000e

  3. Run this command to rebuild inird:

    esxcfg-boot -b

  4. Reboot the ESX host for the changes to take effect.

Tags

accessing-network  configure-esx-networking  connect-network  network-connectivity-issues  network-failure  network-hardware  network-issues  network-loss  physical-network-adapter  virtual-network-uplink  vm-network  network-connection

Keywords

IBM x3850, Intel 82571

Update History

02/08/2011 - Clarified symptoms to be more specific to this issue. 07/13/2010 - Added the command for Quad port NICs. 01/15/2010 - Expanded solution and indicated that the resolution steps are for the e1000e driver. 03/06/2010 - Added steps to rebuild inird

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