Installing 3rd Party Drivers in ESX

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.

Obtaining Drivers

First you will want to verify your hardware is indeed on the HCL by searching at Once verified, proceed to the downloads page for your edition of ESX, select “Drivers & Tools”, and then drill down for your specific drivers:


Installing 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
total 168
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
-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=https://vbrownbag.comm/util/1000ET\ drivers/offline-bundle/ 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

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