Looking at the “Top 3″ search index driving traffic to our blog, its obvious that ESXi and FreeNAS are getting a lot of attention.
Search Term #1: esxi network drivers
White box and DIY lab explorers are trying to push the envelope on network cards. Except for supported-but-PCI-id-does-not-match exceptions, it is not worthwhile to hack-in a “cheap” NIC for your hypervisor. Since NAS/SAN and application data traverses your “hacked NIC,” do you really want to risk it? For the exception, see the next search term.
Search Term #2: nvidia mcp55 sata controller esxi install
The number of MCP55-based motherboards out there is understandably large. However, not all MCP55 systems are “install” compatible. That’s where USB flash install makes your ESXi installation an easy – albeit two step – process. There are blog entries out there that will help you on your way to MCP55/ESX/ESXi nirvana.
The basic problem is your controller has a different revision – and PCI id – then the driver expects. Since this “compatible id list” was cooked into the ISO image, it is likely stale and your “version” of the hardware “may” work. This is common to MCP and ICH SATA controllers. If so, modifying the list of supported PCI ids and making the correct driver associations is the trick to success.
Here’s a good blog outlining the hard way for ESX.
Hers another on creating your own roll-up for ESXi. It includes a downloadable oem.tgz replacement with support for ICH10, ICH8, e1000e, 3Ware, igb and Dvorak support. The discussion give additional insight.
Search Term #3: freenas usb
This is an easy one. We have decent how-to here, and there are numerous others on-line. SOLORI has not explored the nightly build (AMD64) variant – yet. If you want to explore the “wild side” of FreeNAS, go here, the FreeNAS community is vibrant and informative.