May 01

The company I work for, SonicWALL, have been hard on developing the next level of networking products for the virtual business. With more and more businesses going green and virtualizing their infrastructure this is the next logical step. As a support engineer (and geek at heart) I had to setup my own virtual environment to “play” with the virtual appliances and move my live servers for Active Directory and testing to a central VM Infrastructure.

I started out building a white box ESXi server using spare parts I had laying around. Unfortunately I did have to splurge on a NIC card to get me started but once I was installed I was able to add support for the integrated Realtek 8111C NIC on the motherboard. The list of components for the server are:

  • CPU: AMD Phenom II X4 965
  • Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-MA785GMT-UD2H
  • Memory: 8GB DDR3 1333MHz (4 x 2GB modules)
  • Hard Drive: 2TB Western Digital Green Drive
  • NIC: Intel Pro 1000GT PCI, Onboard Realtek 8111C

With the base system installed I needed to alter the ESXi install for the Realtek card. I followed the instructions here but for simple sake I am mirroring the files and steps below:

  1. Download oem.tgz and put it on a USB stick.
  2. Download slax iso image from here and burn a CD.
  3. Boot slax CD in ESXi machine – HDD will auto mount, USB will automount.
  4. Copy (drag and drop) oem.tgz from USB stick into Hypervisor1 partition on HDD.
  5. Shutdown slax and reboot ESXi from HDD – it will automatically load the r8169.

Now I have two fully functioning NIC cards. Currently they are set for teaming/failover but if needed I can take the Intel NIC out to install in another ESXi server if needed :)

With everything configured I am off to test the VM Appliances and my new virtual Domain Controller :)


written by Alan J. Matson

4 Responses to “VMWare ESXi installation success and addition of Realtek 8111 Onboard NIC Support.”

  1. 1. Raihan Says:

    I am trying your method on ESXi5.0 with no success.
    May be stupid question but I dont see Hypervisor1 partion after booting using the slax. can you please explain whichone is hypervison1 partition.

    I can do copy and paste usign winscp


  2. 2. Martin Says:

    I got the same CPU, but a different mainboard (78LMT-S2P) which also has the Realtek 8111 chip. but the installation of ESXi 5.1 does not find a NIC. I tried to install it with a additional NIC installed but no success. Do you have any suggestions? How did you manage to make the base installation?

  3. 3. Martin Says:

    Hello again.
    I solved my problem by adding a Intel Pro/1000 PT to the system. This NIC is supported and ESXi 5.1 will install without problems.

  4. 4. Pino Says:

    It works with the realtek card but like yours it’s running max. 100 Mbit instead of Gig.

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