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Installing async drivers on VMware ESXi 5.x and ESXi 6.0.x (2005205)

Purpose

This article provides the different methods for installing asynchronous driver releases on multiple versions of VMware ESXi 5.x and 6.0.x. For more information about installing a specific async driver release, see the /doc/README.txt file within the async driver release zip file.

Async drivers are developed by third-party vendors and are subjected to the VMware certification process. They are released in a ESXi software package called a vSphere Installation Bundle (VIB). To download async drivers signed by VMware, see VMware Downloads.

Note: This article is for vSphere 5.x and 6.0.x. For more information about installing async drivers in vSphere 4, see Installing async drivers on ESX/ESXi 4.x (1032936).

Resolution

There are several methods available for installing async drivers on ESXi 5.x and 6.x:

Prior to a new ESXi installation


An ESXi 5.x fresh installation using a CD or ISO does not provide any option to inject an async driver. Instead, you must use Image Builder to inject the async driver into a new CD or ISO image. For more information, see the Using vSphere ESXi Image Builder CLI section in the vSphere Installation and Setup Guide.

Note: These steps are necessary if the async driver is required for the ESXi server to have network connectivity.

To add async drivers to the ESXi installation ISO:
  1. Launch the vSphere 5.x PowerCLI command line.
  2. Download a copy of the ESXi offline bundle depot and async driver zip file.
  3. Extract the contents of the async driver zip file and identify the offline-bundle.zip files(s).
  4. 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

    Example for ESXi 5.0:

    Add-EsxSoftwareDepot C:\path\to\new-async-driver-offline-bundle.zip, C:\path\to\VMware-ESXi-5.0.0-469512-depot.zip

    Example for ESXi 5.0 Update 1:

    Add-EsxSoftwareDepot C:\path\to\new-async-driver-offline-bundle.zip, C:\path\to\update-from-esxi5.0-5.0_update01.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


  5. 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


  6. Clone an existing image profile:

    1. 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

    2. 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


  7. 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


  8. 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

  9. 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.

Existing ESXi installation using esxcli and offline bundle async driver zip file


 

You can install async drivers on an existing ESXi host from a specific VIB file, from a depot URL, from an offline bundle, or using an image profile. For more information, see the Upgrading and Migrating Your Hosts - Performing the Upgrade or Migration section in the vSphere Upgrade Guide.

The offline bundle zip file is copied to the ESXi host using the datastore browser, and is installed using the esxcli utility in the ESXi shell.

Note: This requires remote ESXi network connectivity using the vSphere Client.

To install the async drivers:

  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 an ESXi hosts datastore.
  5. Enter the host into maintenance mode.
  6. Log in as root to the ESXi console through SSH or iLO/DRAC.
  7. Copy the offline-bundle.zip to /var/log/vmware folder by running this command:

    cp offline-bundle.zip /var/log/vmware

  8. Run this command to install drivers using the offline bundle (this requires an absolute path):

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

    For example:

    esxcli software vib install –d /var/log/vmware/offline-bundle.zip

    Note: If this command fails, unzip the file and try running the same command. Use localcli instead of esxcli if the hostd is not responding.

    For example:

    localcli software vib install –d /var/log/vmware/offline-bundle.zip

  9. Restart the ESXi host.
  10. You can run this command to confirm that the VIB is installed successfully or not:

    esxcli software vib list | grep -i <vib_name>

  11. Exit maintenance mode.
Note: An ESX host can be updated remotely using the esxcli utility, which is part of the vSphere CLI. For more details on using esxcli, see the vSphere Command-Line Interface Documentation.

Existing ESXi installation using esxcli and async driver VIB file






You can install async drivers on an existing ESXi host from an async driver VIB file. The VIB file is copied to the ESXi host using the datastore browser, and installed using esxcli in the ESXi shell.

Note: This requires remote ESXi network connectivity using the vSphere Client.

To install the async drivers:
  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 the 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 (this requires an absolute path):

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

    For example:

    esxcli software vib install –v /vmfs/volumes/datastore/async-driver.vib

    Note: Use localcli instead of esxcli if the hostd is not responding.

    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 software vib list | grep -i vib_name

  12. Exit maintenance mode.
Note: An ESX host can be updated remotely using the esxcli utility, which is part of the vSphere CLI. For more information on using esxcli, see the vSphere Command-Line Interface Documentation.

Existing ESXi installation using VMware Update Manager



You can install async drivers on an existing ESXi host using VMware vCenter Update Manager. For more information, see the Using vSphere ESXi Image Builder CLI section in the vSphere Installation and Setup Guide.

Notes

  • Async drivers are developed by third-party vendors and are subjected to VMware certification. Third-party vendors provide recommendations/suggestions to upgrade their drivers/firmware for specific versions of ESXi/ESX. Therefore, VMware does not include these async drivers automatically in Update Manager.
  • Device firmware is supplied directly by the hardware vendor. To acquire firmware upgrade software, best practices and any other guidance related to device firmware, contact your hardware vendor.

To install the async drivers:

  1. Extract the contents of the async driver zip file.
  2. Identify the offline-bundle.zip file(s).
  3. From 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.

    Note: The Update Manager automatically restarts the ESXi host after the remediation is complete.

Note: To revert to an inbox driver after updating to an async driver, using esxcli software vib install -v /path/to/vib is the only way to do this. In this case, the -n option does not work as the inbox driver does not associate to a depot.

Additional Information

See Also

Update History

01/29/2013 - Added the esxcli command to use when the drivers require signature verification 07/03/2013 - Added link to Japanese translation (2014941) 09/25/2013 - Added ESXi 5.5 to Products. 03/12/2015 - Added ESXi 6.0 to Products.

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