Custom ESXi 6.7 ISO ZIP with Intel NIC Drivers and Nimble NCM

Use the vCenter 6.7 GUI, create a ESXi 6.7 ISO (fresh install) and/or ZIP (VUM patching) that removing VMware’s NIC drivers and add’s Intel to match the HCL.

Why?  The hardware vendor does not have a custom ISO. As a bonus, add the Nimble Connection Manager.

Download the latest .zip of ESXi. Even with no entitlements, you can find it on the patch site. https://my.vmware.com/group/vmware/patch#search
ex. ESXi670-201912001.zip

Download the NIC and Nimble Drivers.

  • nimble-ncm-for-esx6.5-6.1.0-650002.zip
  • VMW-ESX-6.0.0-igbn-1.4.1-6627355.zip  (will use VMW-ESX-6.0.0-igbn-1.4.1-offline_bundle-6627355.zip inside the zip)
  • VMW-ESX-6.0.0-ixgben-1.7.15-13388415.zip  (will use VMW-ESX-6.0.0-ixgben-1.7.15-offline_bundle-13388415 inside the zip)

Login to the VCSA H5. I am using vCenter Appliance 6.7 Update 3 (6.7.0.40000)

Click Auto Deploy on the left hand side. Click Enable Image Builder.

Import all 4 .zip files. For the 6.7 zip, I named it “esxi-6.7-original”

On the right hand side, click New and call the Custom depot 6.7-new

  1. Software depot dropdown, choose “esxi-6.7-original”, choose ESXi-6.7.0-20191204001-standard and click Clone.
  2. You can name it ESXi-6.7.0-20191204001 with Intel NIC and NCM.
    Software Depot is 6.7-new
  3. Sort by Vendor and check off the INT and Nimble VIBS.
  4. Under Name, seach for igbn and un-check the VMW one. Ditto for ixgben. Finish.

 

Validate the work.

  1.  Software depot drop-down, choose “esxi-6.7-original”
  2.  Choose ESXi-6.7.0-20191204001-standard
  3.  Click Compare to.
  4. On the right hand side, click change and chose the 6.7-new depot and name.
  5.  Review the 2 Upgraded (intel nics) and Additional (Nimble) from the drop-down to show they are on the new image.

Software Depot – choose 6.7-new. Click Export on the right hand side.
Choose ISO for a new install of .zip if you are patching a host via VUM and do not want to have to deal with newer VMW nic drivers breaking the HCL.
Skip acceptance level checking is checked as the hash’s match up from the zips downloaded.

Goal

Use the vCenter 6.7 GUI, create a ESXi 6.7 ISO (fresh install) and/or ZIP (VUM patching) that removing VMware’s NIC drivers and add’s Intel to match the HCL.

Why?  The hardware vendor does not have a custom ISO. As a bonus, add the Nimble Connection Manager.

Downloads

Download the latest .zip of ESXi. Even with no entitlements, you can find it on the patch site. https://my.vmware.com/group/vmware/patch#search
ex. ESXi670-201912001.zip

Download the NIC and Nimble Drivers.

  • nimble-ncm-for-esx6.5-6.1.0-650002.zip
  • VMW-ESX-6.0.0-igbn-1.4.1-6627355.zip  (will use VMW-ESX-6.0.0-igbn-1.4.1-offline_bundle-6627355.zip inside the zip)
  • VMW-ESX-6.0.0-ixgben-1.7.15-13388415.zip  (will use VMW-ESX-6.0.0-ixgben-1.7.15-offline_bundle-13388415 inside the zip)
Image Builder

Login to the VCSA H5. I am using vCenter Appliance 6.7 Update 3 (6.7.0.40000)

Click Auto Deploy on the left hand side. Click Enable Image Builder.

Import Zips

Import all 4 .zip files. For the 6.7 zip, I named it “esxi-6.7-original”

Custom Depot

On the right hand side, click New and call the Custom depot 6.7-new

Clone
  1. Software depot dropdown, choose “esxi-6.7-original”, choose ESXi-6.7.0-20191204001-standard and click Clone.
  2. You can name it ESXi-6.7.0-20191204001 with Intel NIC and NCM.
    Software Depot is 6.7-new
  3. Sort by Vendor and check off the INT and Nimble VIBS.
  4. Under Name, seach for igbn and un-check the VMW one. Ditto for ixgben. Finish.

 

Validate

Validate the work.

  1.  Software depot drop-down, choose “esxi-6.7-original”
  2.  Choose ESXi-6.7.0-20191204001-standard
  3.  Click Compare to.
  4. On the right hand side, click change and chose the 6.7-new depot and name.
  5.  Review the 2 Upgraded (intel nics) and Additional (Nimble) from the drop-down to show they are on the new image.
Create ISO / ZIP

Software Depot – choose 6.7-new. Click Export on the right hand side.
Choose ISO for a new install of .zip if you are patching a host via VUM and do not want to have to deal with newer VMW nic drivers breaking the HCL.
Skip acceptance level checking is checked as the hash’s match up from the zips downloaded.

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