ESXi – Driver VIB update using ESXCLI

Nothing groundbreaking here folks, but this is a quick and easy way to upgrade the drivers (in this case Network Intel & Broadcom) on your host(s)

I’ve done this many times for various reasons: Misbehaving drivers after upgrades, Version control, “’cause I wanna'”. etc

Login to your host with the ssh client of choice (putty of course!) and put it into Maintenance Mode (evacuate guests as necessary) & then determine the required drivers and current version;

esxcfg-nics -l will list all the installed NIC’s and their details. Here we are using a quad port Broadcom BCM5720 and a Dual Port Intel I350

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ethtool -i vmnic# will show you the driver/fw details in use per vmnic# you request (we’ll do one for each type)

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From this query, we can determine that the Broadcom BCM5720 is using driver “tg3” @ Version 3.133d.v55.1 & the Intel I350 is using the “IGB” driver @ Version

Download the VIB (VMware Information Bundle” from  Search fpr the drivers (I search fro IGB and Netxtreme) in the Drivers & Tools catalog. Download and save them locally.

From each package, extract the ZIp file and save to a transport folder.  ( in this case, c:\Source\Out ).

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Copy them up to your host using WINSCP (or your tool of choice) and save to the folder you want (\TMP) for me.

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..and you’re ready to roll. Upgrade 1st set of drivers then second (and any subsequent) before doing the requested reboot.

hint- after typing in the first few chars of the filename, hit tab to autocomplete……

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As long as the install was successful, reboot the host adding an appropriate reason, wait the grace period and await the reboot.

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Check versions against original with the same ethtool -l commands as earlier, and they look to have incremented nicely.

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Original IGB, New version 5.2.7

Original tg3 3.133d.v55.1, New version 3.136e.v55.1


Job done, exit Maintenance Mode;

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Run DRS or otherwise move your guests back onto the host.

Have a Coffee, you’ve earned it. 🙂





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