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Enabling and Disabling Native Drivers in ESXi 6.5 (2147565)

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ESXi 6.5 contains many new native drivers that replace the earlier vmklinux drivers. Most of the new native drivers are enabled by default after installation or upgrade.

Three of the new native drivers are disabled by default, because they do not fully support the functions of the corresponding vmklinux drivers:

  • qflge is a native driver that replaces the vmklinux net-bnx2 driver, but does not support HW iSCSI.

  • qfle3 is a native driver that replaces the vmklinux net-bnx2x driver, but does not support HW iSCSI and SW FcOE.

  • ixgben is a native driver that replaces the vmklinux net-ixgbe driver, but does not support SR-IOV and SW FcOE.

Solution

For new ESXi 6.5 installations, you can enable a native driver in the ESXi installer by using the vSphere Image Builder. With the vSphere Image Builder, you can remove the vmklinux driver that corresponds to the native driver from the ISO image. For example, to enable the qfle3 native driver, you can use Image Builder to remove the net-bnx2x VIB from the ISO image. For more information, see Customizing Installations with vSphere ESXi Image Builder.

If you have already installed ESXi 6.5 or upgraded to ESXi 6.5, the following procedures describe how to enable and disable the native drivers by using vCLI. For more information, see vSphere Command-Line Documentation.

Enable a Native Driver

  1. Place the ESXi host in maintenance mode by using the vSphere Web Client or VMware Host Client.

    Note: For stateless hosts, you must place the reference host in maintenance mode.

  2. Run the vCLI command to enable one of the native drivers.
    esxcli system module set --enabled=true --module=native_driver_name

    For example, to enable the qfle3 native driver, run the following vCLI command:
    esxcli system module set --enabled=true --module=qfle3

    Note: For stateless hosts, you must enable the native driver on the reference host and extract the new host profile.

  3. Restart the ESXi host.

    Stateless hosts exit maintenance mode automatically after reboot.

  4. If you enabled a native driver on a stateful host, exit the maintenance mode manually.


Disable a Native Driver

  1. Place the ESXi host in maintenance mode by using the vSphere Web Client or VMware Host Client.

    Note: For stateless hosts, you must place the reference host in maintenance mode.

  2. Run the vCLI command to disable one of the native drivers.
    esxcli system module set --enabled=false--module=native_driver_name

    For example, to disable the qflge native driver, run the following vCLI command:
    esxcli system module set --enabled=false --module=qflge

    Note: For stateless hosts, you must disable the native driver on the reference host and extract the new host profile.

  3. Restart the ESXi host.

    Stateless hosts exit maintenance mode automatically after reboot.

  4. If you disabled a native driver on a stateful host, exit the maintenance mode.

Get a Driver Version

Run the vCLI command to view the version of a driver:
esxcli software vib get -n native_driver_name


For example, to view the versions of the qfle3 native driver and its corresponding vmklinux driver:

  • To view the version of the qfle3 native driver, run the following vCLI command:
    esxcli software vib get -n qfle3

    You get an output similar to:
    VMW_bootbank_qfle3_1.0.2.7-1vmw.650.0.0.4240471
    Name: qfle3
    Version: 1.0.2.7-1vmw.650.0.0.4240471
    Type: bootbank
    Vendor: VMW
    Acceptance Level: VMwareCertified
    Summary: Network driver for QLogic E3 Controller
    Description: Native QLogic E3 network driver for VMware ESXi
    ReferenceURLs:
    Creation Date: 2016-08-11
    Depends: vmkapi_2_4_0_0
    Conflicts:
    Replaces:
    Provides:
    Maintenance Mode Required: True
    Hardware Platforms Required:
    Live Install Allowed: False
    Live Remove Allowed: False
    Stateless Ready: True
    Overlay: False
    Tags: PCIID 107716a1, PCIID 107716a4, PCIID 14e4163d, PCIID 14e4163e, PCIID 14e41662, PCIID 14e41663, PCIID 14e4168a, PCIID 14e4168a10281f67, PCIID 14e4168a10281f68, PCIID 14e4168a14e40200, PCIID 14e4168a1bcf805f, PCIID 14e4168e, PCIID 14e416a1, PCIID 14e416a2, PCIID 14e416a2103c22fa, PCIID 14e416a4, PCIID 14e416a5, PCIID 14e416ae, module, driver
    Payloads: qfle3

  • To view the version of the vmklinux driver that qfle3 replaces, run the following vCLI command:
    esxcli software vib get -n net-bnx2x

    You get an output similar to:
    VMW_bootbank_net-bnx2x_1.78.80.v60.12-1vmw.650.0.0.4240471
    Name: net-bnx2x
    Version: 1.78.80.v60.12-1vmw.650.0.0.4240471
    Type: bootbank
    Vendor: VMW
    Acceptance Level: VMwareCertified
    Summary: bnx2x: net driver for VMware ESX
    Description: QLogic NetXtreme II 10G/20G Ethernet Driver
    ReferenceURLs:
    Creation Date: 2016-08-11
    Depends: vmkapi_2_3_0_0, com.vmware.driverAPI-9.2.3.0, com.broadcom.cnic_register-9.2.3.0
    Conflicts:
    Replaces:
    Provides: com.broadcom.bnx2x-9.2.3.0
    Maintenance Mode Required: True
    Hardware Platforms Required:
    Live Install Allowed: False
    Live Remove Allowed: False
    Stateless Ready: True
    Overlay: False
    Tags: driver, module
    Payloads: net-bnx2

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