For the past year and a half I’ve been using the Intel i5 3rd Gen NUC’s in my ESXi home lab with great success. In this time several people have asked if I recommend anything newer, and while Intel had a few 4th gen models I wasn’t really sold on them as most CPU benchmarks put them the same as my 3rd gen or lower and only added support for a 2.5″ drive which at the time I didn’t need but then Intel released news about several Intel NUC 5th generation models!
A component found in the VMware Tools called vShield drivers, which is used to accommodate agent-less antivirus solutions such as McAfee MOVE has been renamed from “vShield drivers” to “Guest Introspection driver”.
Long ago VMware offered a program called VMware Technology Network (VMTN) which was very similar to Microsoft’s TechNet, which allowed you to download and run various VMware software within your home lab for a small yearly fee. Just like the Microsoft TechNet, the VMware VMTN program was eventually closed. From the time the VMTN program closed many people have begged and pleaded with VMware to bring the program back, there is even a long forum thread asking VMware to bring VMTN back. Though it never did… until now.
If you use the VMware ESXi 5 ISO image and try to install it on an Intel NUC you’ll receive the following error during the install.
No Network Adapters
No network adapters were detected. Either no network adapters are physically connected to the system, or a suitable driver could not be located. A third party driver my be required.
Ensure that there is at least one network adapter physically connected to the system before attempting installation. If the problem persists, consult the VMware Knowledge Base.
The “No Network Adapters” on the Intel NUC error message during the ESXi install is because VMware removed a number of drivers (non-enterprise drivers) from their ESXi 5.x image and in order to use the Intel NUC as an ESXi host you need to create a customized ESXi image with the NIC drivers added to the image.
Over the past weekend I was working on a whitebox ESXi host and wanted to upgrade it to ESXi 5.5 Update 2 from an older version of ESXi 5.1 using a realtek R8168 network card. While I could have performed an in place upgrade, such as via command line, a clean install was preferred. However, VMware has removed a number of NIC drivers from ESXi 5.x and trying to install with the base ESXi image would result in a “No Network Adapters” error during install.
In order to do a clean install you have to re-add the Realtek R8168 NIC drivers back into the ESXi 5.5 image, otherwise a NIC will not be found and thus ESXi will not install. These are the steps to easily re-add the Realtek R8168 drivers into ESXi 5.5 ISO by making a custom ESXi 5.5 image.
VMware vCenter Server and ESXi 5.5 Update 2 has just been released today with a number of fixes and additional features such as vCenter Server database support for Oracle 12c, Microsoft SQL Server 2012 Service Pack 1, and Microsoft SQL Server 2014 in vCenter Server and support for ESXi hosts with 6TB of RAM in the ESXi 5.5 update 2 release!