VMWare madness at Hetzner

Recently we decided to try out hosting at Hetzner (https://www.hetzner.co.za). We’re in need of a new Virtual machine and as we’re cutting down on expensive hosting in data centers their offering was very appealing. The server is cost effective, powerful and they provide a decent amount of Internet data.

The problem

I must clarify, the problems here are not of Hetzners making. Their service is excellent and response times to my queries were very good. The problem was a bit more subtle than that.

In order to install the server Hetzner was supplied with a link to the VMWare ESXi 5.5.0 ISO I needed to install. They downloaded, burned the ISO and inserted it into our new server. No problem so far. I set up the BIOS, installed VMWare and booted into VMWare. Also good.

Here is the issue. After configuring the management network the Intel 82574L network indicated that it was disconnected. No problem, quickly fire off a mail to Hetzner to check network cabling. It’s easy for a techy to make this mistake. However, after some time they contacted me and assured me it was connected.

A handy feature of their hosting is the ability to PXE boot a linux rescue image running Debian or Ubuntu. Very handy, and frustrating, as it meant that the network card is indeed connected and working as expected.

It turns out, the network card, Intel 82574L, is not supported by VMWare. So how does one load a network card driver without internet connectivity?

The solution

Recently we decided to try out hosting at Hetzner (https://www.hetzner.co.za). We’re in need of a new Virtual machine and as we’re cutting down on expensive hosting in data centers their offering was very appealing. The server is cost effective, powerful and they provide a decent amount of Internet data.

The problem

I must clarify, the problems here are not of Hetzners making. Their service is excellent and response times to my queries were very good. The problem was a bit more subtle than that.

In order to install the server Hetzner was supplied with a link to the VMWare ESXi 5.5.0 ISO I needed to install. They downloaded, burned the ISO and inserted it into our new server. No problem so far. I set up the BIOS, installed VMWare and booted into VMWare. Also good.

Here is the issue. After configuring the management network the Intel 82574L network indicated that it was disconnected. No problem, quickly fire off a mail to Hetzner to check network cabling. It’s easy for a techy to make this mistake. However, after some time they contacted me and assured me it was connected.

A handy feature of their hosting is the ability to PXE boot a linux rescue image running Debian or Ubuntu. Very handy, and frustrating, as it meant that the network card is indeed connected and working as expected.

It turns out, the network card, Intel 82574L, is not supported by VMWare. So how does one load a network card driver without internet connectivity?

The solution

Below I copy directly from my crude notes. Keep in mind that Linux does not mount VMFS read / write.

In order to install the driver for the 82575L Intel driver I followed the following steps:

1) Instal VMWare esxi 5.5.0
2) Boot into linux recovery image
3) Execute the following commands on the revovery image
# mount -t vfat  /dev/sda3 /mnt/
# cd /mnt
# wget http://shell.peach.ne.jp/~aoyama/wordpress/download/net-e1000e-2.3.2.x86_64.vib
# cd
# unmount /mnt
# reboot
4) Once VMWare esxi has finished booting switch to console with <ALT> – <F1>
5) Install the driver. It is located in one of the VMFS partitions already mounted. It is a 4 GB partition in my case.
# esxcli software acceptance set –level=CommunitySupported
# cd <directory containing driver>
# cp net-e1000e-2.3.2.x86_64.vib /var/log/vmware/
# esxcli software vib install -v net-e1000e-2.3.2.x86_64.vib
6) Reboot vmware esxi

/dev/sda3 it turns out is a fat32 / vfat partition that is mounted at boot on VMWare. I used the /download/ directory on that partition to store the driver.

Happy days…

 

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