Tuesday, February 8, 2011

ESX 4.1 install error on BL460c G7 - NIC driver fails to load

The HP BL460c G7 is on the VMware HCL list for ESX 4.1. However, when trying to install ESX 4.1 there's an error during install - it fails to load drivers for the network adapter ("No network adapters were detected"). It doesn't help to update all firmware to latest version (even though this should be done in any case...) (Update 2011.02.18: This problem persists on ESX 4.1 U1)

This is a known error and there's a fix for it. However, it seems strange that the G7 blade has made it to the HCL list...

The problem is that the Integrated NC553i Dual Port FlexFabric 10Gb NIC driver is not included in VMware's installation ISO for ESX 4.1. There are two ways to solve the issue. One is to load a custom set of drivers for the NIC and the other is to use an HP VMware install image. If you're using ESXi or scripted installation of ESX classic, then you have to use the HP image.
(Update 2011.07.19: Custom HBA driver should also be loaded during installation - simply load both ISOs)

Custom NIC driver from VMware can be downloaded here.
Custom HBA driver from VMware can be downloaded here.

(Update 2011.02.18: Apparently, the NIC drivers are updated quite frequently at the moment. Go to this main link and then 'plus out' Driver CDs to find the most recent one.)

HP image for ESX(i) can be downloaded from here.

The custom driver, when downloaded, is in an ISO format. To load it during installation, do the following:

  • Upload the ISO file to where you have the ESX installation image
  • On the Custom Drivers page in the wizard, choose Yes and click on Add. It will tell you to load the driver CD (see picture below)
  • Unmount the ESX installation CD and mount the driver ISO in stead. This can be done without interrupting the installation. You will be prompted to verify the custom driver package, click OK (see picture below)
  • That's it. at a later stage in the wizard, you will be prompted to reinsert the installation ISO. Do that when prompted.


  1. You'll want the latest (2.102.554.0) Emulex driver here.


    Older ones cause PSOD in ESX(i) and NMI issues (on both IBM and HP using the 10GB Serverengine/Bladeengine cards

  2. Actually, there's an even more recent one: http://downloads.vmware.com/d/details/esxi4x_emulex_be10gb_dt/ZHcqYnRkKmpiZCpldw==

  3. But thanks for pointing it out. I've updated the post...


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