I am experiencing a strange issue in ESXi 5. I just installed a new NIC (RTL8169, which is supported), but ESXi only recognizes it on the first reboot after the installation.

So in order:

  1. Shutdown the server,
  2. Install the NIC,
  3. ESXi boots, NIC being recognize,
  4. Reboot another time, NIC is not recognized anymore by ESXi.

To make it work again, I need to completely remove the card, reboot ESXi without the NIC, reboot it again, reinstall the card, and then it works for only one time (until I reboot/shutdown).

Does any of you has experienced this kind of issue ? It is really strange...

I have oredered a Intel Pro/1000 as a replacement, but I would really like to know what could cause this...

Update: The onboard NIC is a Realtek RTL8168 and it is working fine. I guess differences are really small between RTL8168/RTL8169, no ?

  • Realtek make chipsets, not complete network cards. So the implementation is up to the vendor. which can range from "works fine for me" downward. I have realtek NIC chips in an APU and it works great, but would I trust a budget realtek-based NIC in a server? No. Intel, broadcom, tigon, etc are all good and generally reliable implementations. – Criggie Nov 21 '17 at 3:11

Realtek is not exactly server grade hardware.. Have you checked vmware's HCL?

I would switch over to the Intel NIC without doubt.

  • Yes, I know this might not be the best solution... Actually, this is a test lab at home, nothing of this is in production. I have seen a couple of sucessful stories with this card online and I was wondering why mine would not work. Could it be something low-level related, a setting in the BIOS, for instance ? – Pierre-Olivier Apr 18 '12 at 18:40

My RTL8168 also fails from time to time with ESXi5. Even after a reboot it won't work. But a real powercycle (diesconnect power cable) solves this problem. It's nasty, but it works.

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