Intel Xeon D-1540 SoC 10GbE X552/X557-AT 10GBASE-T VIB for ESXi 6.0 support!

Posted by Paul Braren on Jun 30 2015 (updated on Nov 3 2015) in
  • Virtualization
  • ESXi
  • Network
  • Oct 16 2015 - Breaking news - An Intel source has told me the drivers are currently undergoing certification, and should be available on the VMware HCL site in roughly 2-3 weeks! Updates added below this original article:

    Nov 02 2015 6:15pm eastern time - 5.5 driver available, update below! Should work fine with ESXi 6.0 too, see also tweets here.

    10GbE interfaces circled

    I don't yet know if or when X552/X557 10GbE NIC support will arrive, but I did contact Supermicro recently, as did others apparently (see below). Yesterday, they promised me they'd update the site quickly and today, I confirmed they did exactly that. Their compatibility table now indicates that they don't yet have full ESXi 6.0 support with the X10SDV-TLN4F (10GbE equipped) version of the motherboard that they use for the chassis bundle called the Supermicro SuperServer 5028D-TN4T.

    The VMware Compatibility Guide doesn't yet list a matching driver either.

    That said, all other components are identical to the non-10GbE board called the X10SDV-F.

    So I don't feel like there's any big cause for concern about buying tis SuperServer for ESXi 6.0 for a home lab, and you still get Supermicro 24-Hour SuperServer Hardware Support, not something I'm used to having any of. You wouldn't expect anything but hardware support from Supermicro anyway. As long as you're OK with those 2 extra ports not being functional under ESXi 6.0 at the moment, I still recommend this server, see TinkerTry articles below. Wonderful for a powerful and efficient home virtualization lab. While good use-case for these 10GbE ports might be a 2-way FVP cluster or a 3-way vSAN cluster someday, in a home lab, it's frankly more likely to simply be used at 1GbE speeds as 2 extra 1GbE ports, for iSCSI or vMotion, for example.

    Let's face it, this system was built for virtualization, able to handle up to 128GB of memory. It'd be pretty silly of Intel and/or VMware to neglect to provide support for ESXi, especially since Supermicro isn't likely to be the only OEM using this nifty, tiny, versatile motherboard design for long (here's a similar offering).

    The folks who are likely pretty upset would be those who ordered in bulk for a datacenter/colo, assuming 10GbE was there already, based on what could have been an honest mistake made by Supermicro.

    Take roberthenderson, who expresses this frustration over in the VMware community forums here:

    So frustratingly I'm in the same boat...I put my name on a long term pre-order based on SuperMicro's stated ESXi6.0 support for this board. Whilst there was a statement on the SATA controller requirements for support the 10GbE SoC NICs weren't mentioned.

    I've corresponded with SuperMicro support in the Netherlands who advise no driver exists and that although they have no doubt someone will create one they can't give me a schedule. They've accepted that the OS compatibility matrix is wrong (and is based on the quad 1GbE model) and assure me they will update the website to clarify the issue.

    Now l guess I have to talk to the reseller about my return/discount options.... :-(

    and other folks discussing this issue here.

    I have no idea how long it will take for VMware and/or Intel to create drivers (VIBs) to support these new-energy sipping 10GbE X552/X5517-AT 10GBASE-T NICs that are embedded in this otherwise pretty amazing new Intel Xeon-D 1500 chipset (Broadwell-DE). But I do know which booths I'll be paying a polite visit to at VMworld 2015 San Francisco this August, just in case this issue isn't fixed by then ;-)

    I have created edited versions of the long tables from their site, with just the relevant portions of the table shown, for legibility.

    JUN 29 2015
    JUN 30 2015

    PDF archives of the same URL, un-edited, un-altered

    These screenshots are from this URL:

    Below, you'll find more compelling confirmation of the changes to the content.


    June 29 2015
    June 30 2015

    Sep 11 2015 Update

    I did speak to several kind folks at Intel's booth at VMworld 2015 last week, and they did express interest in helping me find out what is going on here. I'll share whatever I learn, whenever I learn it, right here. See also my short video clip from my discussions about Intel SSDs and vSAN. Nice that VMware vSAN 6.1 has now arrived, just as I have access to 3 Supermicro SuperServer SYS-5028D-TN4T systems, with 2 Intel SSDs in each!

    Important to note that unfortunately, yesterday's release of vSphere 6.0 Update 1 with ESXi 6.0 U1 did NOT resolve the issue, the 10GbE interface is still not seen by the hypervisor, as pictured below.


    Oct 09 2015 Update

    If you've been following this issue, here's my attempt at learning more info on Twitter, with a screenshot below (read from the bottom up):

    Read from the bottom up.

    Oct 16 2015 Update

    Breaking news - An Intel source has told me the drivers are currently undergoing certification, and should be available on the VMware HCL site in roughly 2-3 weeks!

    It's been a bit of an embarrassment for Supermicro, Wiredzone, and TinkerTry, to have sales of the beloved SYS-5028D-TN4T (with the X10SDV-TLN4F motherboard) held back by folks wondering aloud if and when Intel would be releasing 10GbE a VMware driver VIB. Heck, I even had a 3 host home vSAN going last month on some loaner gear and M.2, but couldn't really exercise it without 10GbE.

    This well designed, powerful, efficient, and brand new SoC (System on Chip) Xeon D-1540 is clearly was meant for virtualization. The default BIOS settings are all ready to go, as-is, including all virtualization options. First trickling into the market in mid June 2015, chatter about this one glaring shortcoming leading to this rather popular post:

    The weeks of waiting became months, and polite folks dropped inquiries right under various related articles here at TinkerTry, here's an example.

    Well, my visit to the Intel booth at VMworld 2015 paid off today. Turns out I had met the right people there.

    VIB Search

    It appears our wait for the VIB is very nearly over. Yeah, I know, believe it when you see it. Anything can happen during testing, of course.

    I've created a:

    that brings you right to the VMware Hardware Compatibility Guide listing for all Intel 10GbE drivers for ESXi 6.0 U1. You can't RSS subscribe to this search, but you could fire up good old! Then again, that's just once a day, where's the fun in that?

    If you find the VIB first, please drop a comment below, and hit me with a Tweet @paulbraren. Thank you!

    PS: If you're shopping for a SuperServer Workstation and/or located in Europe, stay tuned for an exciting announcement this weekend about a new simplified/less costly bundle that's also based on the SYS-5028D-TN4T.

    Oct 30 2015 Update

    I've created a revised search today:

    So we're getting closer! The thing is, the download URL it suggests we use for all such VIBs
    is apparently having issues right now, timing out. Not the only My VMware issue right now, I reported others here. Trying over and over might eventually get you this message:

    You do not have access to an Account. Check with your Super User, Procurement Contact or Administrator.

    I've reached VMware Support, and they're saying that unless I have an account associated with a full license (not EVALExperience), I cannot download any VIBs. I'm tring to reach VMware now to confirm, because many VIBs are still out there that anybody with a My VMware account can access, such as this LSI VIB.

    Click the image to head right to the VMware download site.

    Nov 02 2015 Update

    It appears JBBERLIN77777 has located the 5.5 version now, which may work for 6.0, this is good news!
    Here's the download link to the file:
    and here's the filename:
    with complete download and install instructions are now available here at TinkerTry:

    Click image to see specs or shop at Wiredzone


    Supermicro SuperServer 5028D-TN4T
    at Wiredzone

    Not available on Amazon or Newegg, I got my system (CPU/mobo/power/mini-tower pre-assembled) at Wiredzone for the reasons outlined here. If you appreciate the information and videos you've found here at TinkerTry, and you decide to buy, please consider using the above link.

    See also at TinkerTry

    See also


    With four port Ethernet (two 10Gbase-T and two 1Gbase-T), solid storage m.2 PCIe x4 and 6x SATA III, a fast and low power CPU (Intel Xeon D-1540) and 128GB of RAM, the Supermicro X10SDV-TLN4F is a must get platform. For those still using Intel Xeon L5520 or L5620 generation processors, one can get more performance in less than half of the power and space footprint which is astounding. For those that always wanted more than the Xeon E3 line could offer in terms of their limited RAM capacity (practical 32GB limit) and core count (4C/ 8T max), this is the answer.