Install the NIC Driver on ESXi

For the best performance, use SR-IOV with Intel 10GB network interfaces which requires the ixgbe 4.4.1 driver to support multiple queues for each interface.
  1. Obtain a list of network interfaces on the ESXi host.
    1. Log in to the ESXi host CLI.
    2. Use the following command to return a list of network interfaces:
      $
      esxcli network nic list
  2. Determine the driver version for a particular interface.
    You can use either
    ethtool
    or
    esxcli
    to determine the currently-installed driver version. The following example uses vNIC4 and returns driver version 3.21.6.
    • ethtool—
      ethtool -l 
      <nic-name>
      $
      ethtool -I vNIC4
      driver: ixgbe version: 3.21.6iov firmware-version: 0x80000389 bus-info: 0000:04:00.0
    • esxcli—
      esxcli network nic get -n 
      <nic-name>
      $
      esxcli network nic get -n vNIC4
      Advertised Auto Negotiation: true Advertised Link Modes: Auto Negotiation: true Cable Type: Current Message Level: 7 Driver Info: Bus Info: 0000:04:00.0 Driver: ixgbe Firmware Version: 0x80000389 Version: 3.21.6iov Link Detected: false Link Status: Down Name: vNIC4 PHYAddress: 0 Pause Autonegotiate: true Pause RX: true Pause TX: true Supported Ports: FIBRE Supports Auto Negotiation: true Supports Pause: true Supports Wakeon: false Transceiver: external Wakeon: None
  3. Install the new driver.
    1. Download the ixgbe 4.4.1 driver from the VMware website. Extract the contents to a local directory and find the .zip or .vib files for your driver.
    2. Create a new folder in your ESXi host datastore.
    3. Copy the local .zip or .vib file you extracted to the new folder in your ESXi host datastore.
    4. Enable maintenance mode on the ESXi host.
    5. Use one of the following commands to install the new driver, using -d for .zip files, or -v for .vib files.
      • $
        esxcli software vib install -d 
        <path to driver .zip file>
      • $
        esxcli software vib install -v 
        <path to driver .vib file>
      You must specify the absolute path to the .zip or .vib file. For example:
      $ esxcli software vib install -d "/vmfs/volumes/Datastore/
      DirectoryName
      /
      DriverName
      .zip"
    6. Verify the VIB installation.
      $ esxcli software vib list
    7. Reboot the ESXi host.

Related Documentation