During the beta fase of vSphere 6 I was looking for a couple of workarounds for problems during installation process in my homelab. One of those problems is that (as with vSphere 5.5) certain not supported hardware are the onboard realtek NICs on the cheaper “homelab” motherboards. During this search I came across this workaround (login needed) by Andreas Peetz explaining a method to install the drivers onto the vSphere host(s) in your environment. Thanks Andreas, it worked well for me!!

here is a workaround for you … I have created a package that includes the original VMware net-r8168, net-r8169, net-sky2 and net-s2io drivers and uses the name (net51-drivers), and published it on my V-Front Online Depot.

If your host is already installed and has a direct Internet connection then you can install it from an ESXi shell by running the following commands:

esxcli software acceptance set –level=CommunitySupported

Slide01

esxcli network firewall ruleset set -e true -r httpClient

Slide02

esxcli software vib install -n net51-drivers -d http://vibsdepot.v-front.de

Slide03

As you can see I had to add the –no-sig-check to install the vib. It might be this is not needed in your situation, though.

reboot

If you need the VIB file for injecting into an installation ISO or offline installation then you can download it from

http://vibsdepot.v-front.de/depot/vft/net51-drivers-1.0/net51-drivers-1.0.0-1vft.510.0.0.799733.x86_64.vib

(right-click the above link and save as …)

I have not yet tested this myself, and of course this is completely unsupported by VMware! Use at your own risk, but – honestly – I expect it to just work …

Andreas

As Andreas points out this is totally unsupported by VMware! But hey, it’s your homelab so probably most of it is unsupported ;-P

The other thing to notice is the awesomeness of the VMware community! Always helping one another and making sure people are able to get hands on experience with the little resources they have at home.