Enabling Intel NIC (82579LM) on Intel S1200BT under ESXi 5.1

In my home lab I recently bought Intel S1200BTS motherboard with Intel Xeon E3-1220V2 processor. The board processor work perfectly with vSphere 5.1, however there is a small problem with the default install on vSphere. The board comes with 2 on board NICs. One is 82574L and the second one is 82579LM. The 82574L is correctly detected by ESXi but the 82579LM is not hence this NIC cannot be used out of the box in vSphere 5.1.

Here is a quick way to enable Intel NIC 82579LM on vSphere 5.1. To enable this you will need to download a new custom compiled driver with support for this card. Now I could have compiled the driver myself but I thought why not google if someone has already compiled it for this board ;-) and lo I found such a driver for vSphere 5.1.

Important: the following steps replace the default VMware driver for Intel NICs. If you don’t want to do that, stop here. Again this should not be used for production ESXi servers, useful only for homelab environments.

Here are the steps to enable the Intel NIC 82579LM:

  1. Download the alternate driver for Intel NIC e1000 (82579LM) here. (http://shell.peach.ne.jp/~aoyama/wordpress/download/net-e1000e-2.1.4.x86_64.vib)
  2. Connect to your ESXi box using the vSphere client.
  3. Using the datastore browser on your vSphere client, upload the alternate Intel NIC Driver to your datastore.
  4. Enable SSH on your ESXi box.
  5. Connect to your ESXi box using a SSH client (putty)
  6. Move the custom Intel driver package to /tmp directory:
    cd /tmp
    mv /vmfs/volumes/my-datastore/net-e1000e-2.1.4.x86_64.vib /tmp
    
  7. For installing the vib package put the ESXi in maintenance mode:
    esxcli system maintenanceMode set -e true -t 0
    
  8. Set the host acceptance level to CommunitySupported:
    esxcli software acceptance set --level=CommunitySupported
    
  9. Install the vib package:
    esxcli software vib install -v /tmp/net-e1000e-2.1.4.x86_64.vib
    
  10. Exit the ESXi from maintenance mode.
    esxcli system maintenanceMode set -e false -t 0
    
  11. Thats all, after reboot, just verify if your NIC card was detected.

PS: I would like to mention that, the real hardwork of compiling a new NIC driver for ESXi was done by Daisuke Aoyama.

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72 thoughts on “Enabling Intel NIC (82579LM) on Intel S1200BT under ESXi 5.1

  1. I have a Problem with this hack, after I installed the driver ESXi does not start, the last messag is “cnic_register loaded successfully”. I use the same Mainboard with the same CPU.

    • Probably the hack is breaking the ESXi. The only solution in this case is to reinstall the ESXi since the new vib replaces the original intel drivers included by VMware.

      That said, on my motherboard its working perfectly fine. So I would guess that the problem could be a corrupt ESXi install. BTW I have also disabled the iSCSI & NIC roms in BIOS. You can try disabling the same.

      • Thanx, it work also for me. I change two things at once, so your modification was not the problem :-). Thanx!

  2. I installed this driver on a bunch of Supermicro X9SCL-F motherboards (exact same two NIC’s as S1200BT) and it worked flawlessly.

  3. NICE!!! Thanks for sharing. I also have the Intel S1200btl MB and it works great except the Intel 82579LM Nic. I bought the board because it was on the VMware HCL. I was surprised after loading ESX the NIC did not work even though the board is on the HCL. For the the life of me I don’t understand why Intel does not install the same NIC on the MB – 82574L. I’m sure it’s $$.
    Tom

  4. Can someone suggest how to use this driver (or alternate) while installing ESXi 5.1 for the first time? I am trying to install it on an HP LT and install is not recognizing the NIC.
    Thank you and regards,

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  6. Great thanks, done this on HP Compaq 8200 Elite SFF machine with same Intel 82579LM NIC and it worked like charm. And yes with same VIB, ESX Customizer can make custom ISO for new installs to support Intel LM NIC.

  7. Did you experienced any issues on performance? now on a Intel S1200BTS with 82574L (up) and 82579LM (down) is double slow on the up nic… using esxi 5.1 with an iomega NAS. (with 4.1 worked ok, fresh install)

  8. Warning… I used the last ESXi 5.1 and patched using this post instructions but I experienced a BIG performance loss in network, i lost more than 12 hour trying to figure out why and the only reason was this driver causes some incompatibility with ESXi last version, I used this instructions to make a new installed ISO disk and now its working ok, even with NIC Teaming.

    http://blog.secaserver.com/2012/11/enable-intel-82579lm-nic-vmware-esxi-5-0/

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  10. Brilliant!
    Followed the guide in VMWare forum and got lost – your guide and link to the driver download excellent. Many thanks. Both NICs working !! How cool it that!

  11. Working just fine on my ESXi 5.1 system with SuperMicro X9SCM motherboard.

    Not having any performance issues as mentioned by other users.

  12. You, my friend, are a genius, thank you for your simple to follow page – My Dell Precision T7600 now has 2 x NICs in place….That was driving me nuts :)

  13. Hi,

    For some reason i still have a problem during the install. The NIC is not seen as vmnic prior to the install (using lspci -v).

    After i install these drivers, it shows the 82579V as vmnic1 which appears to be fine.

    esxcfg-nics -l still only shows the 82574L nic as the only vmnic.

    Anyone else got this issue?

  14. Hi,

    I have same kind of issue with Intel 82599EB 10Gig dual port NIC installed on Dell R620 server running ESXi5.1. The issue is, the ESXi host server is not recognizing this NIC but the same NIC is working fine on Hyper-v server 2012.
    initially the error was showing “ixgbe 0000:08:00.1: failed to load because an unsupported SFP+ module type was detected.” but i could see NIC info on host. then i upgraded the NIC drivers with ixgbe version 3.11.32-870840. now, the host is not showing this dual NIC at all.
    I tried different transceivers (cisco SFP-10G-SR Transceiver Module 10-2415-03 21CFR COUIA8NCAA and Dell’s FTLX8571D3BCL) but no success.

    Does anyone come across this issue?

      • you sir, are a legend. pointed me in the right direction. doing a ‘cat /var/log/vmkernel.log | grep ixgbe’ showed this is exactly the problem – entries indicating “failed to load because an unsupported SFP+ module type was detected”. cheers!

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  18. Hello,
    nice blow.
    NIC-vib is working well.
    I am using a HP8200 for my lab-environment. In my Hardware-status in Vcenter there is no sensor for “storage”.
    Do i need an extra .vib for monitoring local storage ?
    If so, which Vib do i need?

    Thx

    • Hi,

      AFAIK, storage monitoring is not available with the free version of ESXi. That’s (Storage Monitoring Plugin) available only via vCenter.

      Regards / Shekhar

      • Hi Cjoshi,
        i have a full version of esxi. Do i need to install the storage plugin to have storage in the hardware-status tab?

        Thx

  19. Hello! Is there anyway to back this custom driver out?

    Please forgive me as I am a linux and esxi noob. I built an ESX homelab (the baby dragon linked at bottom of page) using a supermicro mainboard with these two intel NIC. Using the instructions provided, I was able to enable the second NIC without error. In the past year since then, I’ve also upgdated my esx5 to esx5.1 – I had no issues with the onboard NIC during this.

    The problem I have run into, however, is adding new intel based NIC cards via expansion slots. First I tried some intel single port NICs (which were on the HCL), and now I am trying an intel quad port NIC I just purchased (also on the HCL). My ESXi instance refuses to recognize them. By way of troubleshooting, I was hoping that perhaps removing this driver customization might fix the issue for my quad port pci-E NIC. But I am unsure how :o

    Any assistance would be much appreciated!
    Below is some output from the walk-through I used to guide me through the installing/updating of my intel quad port nic (82580).
    ======================================
    ~ # esxcfg-nics -l
    Name PCI Driver Link Speed Duplex MAC Address MTU Description
    vmnic3 0000:00:19.00 e1000e Up 100Mbps Full 00:25:90:75:cf:53 1500 Intel Corporation 82579LM Gigabit Network Connection
    vmnic7 0000:03:00.00 e1000e Up 100Mbps Full 00:25:90:75:cf:52 1500 Intel Corporation 82574L Gigabit Network Connection
    ======================================
    ~ # lspci -v
    00:00:19.0 Ethernet controller Network controller: Intel Corporation 82579LM Gigabit Network Connection [vmnic3]
    Class 0200: 8086:1502

    00:01:00.0 Ethernet controller Network controller: Intel Corporation 82580 Gigabit Network Connection [vmnic1]
    Class 0200: 8086:150e

    00:01:00.1 Ethernet controller Network controller: Intel Corporation 82580 Gigabit Network Connection [vmnic4]
    Class 0200: 8086:150e

    00:01:00.2 Ethernet controller Network controller: Intel Corporation 82580 Gigabit Network Connection [vmnic5]
    Class 0200: 8086:150e

    00:01:00.3 Ethernet controller Network controller: Intel Corporation 82580 Gigabit Network Connection [vmnic6]
    Class 0200: 8086:150e

    00:03:00.0 Ethernet controller Network controller: Intel Corporation 82574L Gigabit Network Connection [vmnic7]
    Class 0200: 8086:10d3
    ========================================

    • Hi Dusty,

      I have never tried this, but probably you won’t be able able to get back your original driver after uninstalling this modified driver vib. However trying doing a “Factory Reset” from the DCUI, and see if it gets back your original driver. Otherwise the only option you have is reinstall ESXi.

      Regards / Shekhar

  20. Hello! Great work ! Just to report that it worked for my Intel DQ67OW mobo home lab setup – ssh to box, wget from your link, install, reboot, all good.
    Many thanks !

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  22. This driver got my ‘LM’ NIC up and running on my supermicro board working with ESXi 5.1 U1. However, I also utilize HP NC360T NICs in my hosts, which are re-branded Intel NICs and are based on the Intel 82571EB controller.

    Since the HP NICs utilize the same e1000e driver as the ‘LM’ NIC, they were very adversely affected by the driver replacement detailed in this blog post. Long story short, the HP NICs still worked, but only with an MTU of 1500; any attempt to use jumbo frames of any kind resulted in fragmentation (brought iSCSI on my Synology to it’s knees). I ended up reinstalling ESXi and verified that the driver was the issue.

    Not a big deal, since I have plenty of ports. But a word of caution to other folks heading down this road.

    Thanks for the great post, otherwise.

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  24. Hi,

    Would appreciate a little help over here :)

    ~ # esxcli software vib install -v /net-e1000e-2.1.4.x86_64.vib
    Installation Result
    Message: Host is not changed.
    Reboot Required: false
    VIBs Installed:
    VIBs Removed:
    VIBs Skipped: daoyama_bootbank_net-e1000e_2.1.4
    ~ #
    :|

    Thanks a lot.

  25. I also just ran this on my JUST updated SuperMicro X9SCM-F motherboard in ESXi 5.5 (final release). Worked without issue, thanks again.

  26. I just tried this on my SuperMicro server with an X9SCM-F motherboard, running ESXi 5.5. The NIC is now recognized.

    Thank you for the very clear, easy-to-follow instructions!

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  29. Hi,
    I am new to VMware ESXi server, I try to install VMware-VMvisor-Installer-5.5.0.update01-1623387.x86_64 in intel DZ75ML-45k, Intel(R) 82579V Gigabit Network Connection, Every time it show the error “Physically Network Adapter Not Connected……’ and i try ESXi-Customizer too with many variant of .vib file, .tgz and offline_bundle But i can’t install the ESXi server, Pl anyone help me.. Thanks in advance…..

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