With vSphere comes the ability for third parties to add hardware to the HCL without having to wait for an update to ESX for their drivers to be included. An excellent move on VMware’s part as this opened up the door hugely for 3rd parties to supply certified & updated drivers as well as provide the ability to add hardware to the HCL between updates.
So when does one install these drivers? Well you have several opportunities, the first being during installation. The second, can be done post install using esxupdate.
First you will want to verify your hardware is indeed on the HCL by searching at http://www.vmware.com/go/hcl. Once verified, proceed to the downloads page for your edition of ESX, select “Drivers & Tools”, and then drill down for your specific drivers:
Now that you’ve downloaded the drivers, you will need to extract it and place the “offline-bundle” directory somewhere remotely accessible (http, ftp, nfs, or local):
user$ ls -al
drwxr-xr-x 4 user staff 136 Jun 6 18:23 .
drwxr-xr-x 9 user staff 306 Jun 6 18:23 ..
-rwxr-xr-x@ 1 user staff 70842 Aug 17 2009 INT-intel-lad-ddk-igb-188.8.131.52.1-offline_bundle-185976.zip
-rwxr-xr-x@ 1 user staff 271 Aug 17 2009 TRANS.TBL
There it is… now let’s install it. First, put the host into maintenance mode. Then fire up esxupdate to get it going:
[root@dbcfnhc1-vm ~]# esxupdate –bundle=http://vbrownbag.comm/util/1000ET\ drivers/offline-bundle/INT-intel-lad-ddk-igb-184.108.40.206.1-offline_bundle-185976.zip update
This should have you covered for installing 3rd party drivers both during installation and after the fact (so long as it’s on the HCL). If you have any questions or comments, drop a line either in the comments or @cody_bunch on Twitter