How to download and install the Intel Xeon D-1540 10GbE X552/X557 driver/VIB for VMware ESXi 6 on Supermicro 5028D-TN4T/X10SDV-TLN4F

Posted by Paul Braren on Nov 2 2015 (updated on Jun 22 2016) in
  • Virtualization
  • ESXi
  • Network
  • HowTo
  • HomeLab
  • HomeServer
  • Jun 18 2016 Update - It's gotten very easy to install this VIB, jump below for details.

    It's here, at last! The long wait since June for this 10GbE VIB ended when JBBERLIN77777 replied to my reports of a VMware X552/X557 driver download site with invalid links. He announced his finding of the download link, over in the huge VMware Communities thread:

    Were's still not sure how he found that URL, but we're all glad it works! Can you tell I'm happy, especially now that I'll have 2 SuperServers directly connected over 10GbE using Cat6a cabling, and each will have a Samsung 950 PRO M.2 NVMe 512GB drive, on November 3rd. In other words, a way to actually push the speeds of that wire. Woo hoo, what timing, this is a great week! No, I don't own a 10GbE switch, and this second SuperServer 5028D-TN4T system is just a loaner from a very gracious Wiredzone customer. I only have it for another few weeks.


    Here's the driver family download page:

    Here's the actual driver download, the page you get the VIB:
    - VMware ESXi 5.5 ixgbe NIC Driver for Intel(R) 82599, X540 and X552/X557-AT 10 Gigabit Ethernet Controllers family

    May 06 2016 Update - new VIB 4.4.1 is released. Here's the release notes and the actual driver download page for the new VIB:

    This VIB works fine with 6.0, as we are reassured that's OK at the Download VMware vSphere site:

    > Important Note for Certified I/O drivers
    > ESXi 6.0 supports I/O drivers built and certified on ESXi 5.5. The VMware Compatibility Guide lists both ESXi 5.5-based and ESXi 6.0-based drivers as supported with ESXi 6.0. See Knowledge Base article 2111492.

    I do not know how that URL was found, and there seems to be no 6.0 version of that download site, but if one does show up, it's pretty likely to turn out to be the same exact VIB file inside.

    Nov 03 2015 9:00pm EST Update - Yep, they're all the same VIB. VMware has now fixed the URLs on the existing download site, and they use the same link for all the 5.5 and 6.0 versions.

    Here's my installation instructions, based on the included README.txt.

    Installation Instructions

    X552/X557 ESXi 5.5 VIB on ESXi 6.0 instructions. Shorter expert version below)

    1. Open an SSH session (PuTTY) to your ESXi 6.0 (or ESXi 6.0 Update 1) server
      (if you forgot to enable SSH, here's how)
    2. Put your system into maintenance mode, or, shut down all your VMs now and ensure you've set your ESXi host to automatically gracefully shutdown all VMs upon host reboot.
    3. Unzip the downloaded file, the VIB you want is named net-ixgbe_4.4.1-1OEM.600.0.0.2159203.vib and is found at the top level of the unzipped folder.
    4. Upload net-ixgbe_4.4.1-1OEM.600.0.0.2159203.vib to one of your datastores using vSphere Web Client Datastore browser.
    5. Open an SSH session (PuTTY) to your ESXi 6.x host/server, my example below is at ESXi 6.0 Update 1a
      (if you forgot to enable SSH, here's how).
    6. Paste the following commands into your PuTTY session
      (you will need to specify the full path to where you put your VIB, it will differ from what is seen as Intel_750_NVMe_400GB in my example, but using tab autocomplete, it's pretty easy to construct this command in your environment, on the fly).
      esxcli software vib install -v /vmfs/volumes/Intel_750_NVMe_400GB/net-ixgbe_4.4.1-1OEM.600.0.0.2159203.vib
    7. Delete the VIB from the datastore.
    8. Type "reboot" and hit return.

    That's it!

    This is my successful install screenshot, click twice to zoom in fully.
    Now that's how it's supposed to look!

    Expert Short Instructions

    For non-production test labs.

    Fast, easy, and effective 10GbE VIB installation method (unsupported)

    Same commands works for upgrades too!

    I've developed an even easier method to download and install the VIB in one step. Warning, this is an unaltered copy of the Intel VIB, temporarily put here only for your convenience. There is no warranty implied, and there is no support given, for anybody who finds they encounters issues. If you are at all worried about it, use the fully VMware supported method above, which requires authentication from "My VMware" to get the VIB.

    Here you go, shutdown all your VMs, then login to your ESXi SSH shell and issue the following commands by pasting them one line at a time:

    esxcli network firewall ruleset set -e true -r httpClient
    esxcli software vib install -v --no-sig-check
    esxcli network firewall ruleset set -e false -r httpClient

    That's it!

    Super fast download-and-install technique, takes under a minute, partly because the VIB is only 195KB! This particular screenshot actually shows how it's the same command for an upgrade. Your 'Removed:' section may differ.

    Nov 11 2015 Update

    Turns out SR-IOV likely won't be enabled after all, on this X552 in the Xeon D-1540, but likely will in the Xeon D-1541, details at TinkerTry here.

    See also this great question in this TinkerTry commenter Kent Winsor:

    Hi Paul, can the 10 GB NICS on the Supermicro SuperServer also operate at 1 GB speed under ESXi 6.0? Thank you.

    Yep, no problem at all, auto speed negotiation on by default. So in a sense you have 4 1GbE ports, and one 1GbE dedicated to management.

    All 4 ports handle auto-crossover as well, should you use direct attachment to another system, without a network switch in the middle. Just use normal CAT5e for the 1GbE ports, and normal CAT6a or CAT7 cables for those 10GbE ports, no cross-over cabling required.


    Mar 10 2016 Update

    SR-IOV is alive! (for Xeon D-1541 with BIOS 1.0c)

    May 18 2016 Update

    New driver version! Intel's network product page has since been updated to include the very new ixgbe version 4.4.1 driver. I have updated the instructions above accordingly. It is reported to work fine with a D-Link DXS-1210-TC 10GbE switch, and with ESXi 6.0 Update 2.

    See also