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 Formerly ESX supported 3Com Fiber NIC 
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Joined: Thu Mar 10, 2011 6:15 am
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Post Formerly ESX supported 3Com Fiber NIC
I have an older server that has 4 NICs, two of which are ESXi compatible but as they are ether I cannot use them in my network. The other two are 3Com 3C990B cards that according to an older vmware-devices.map were once supported by had that support dropped:

device,0x10b7,0x9904,nic,3C990B-TX-M/3C990BSVR \[Typhoon2],3c990.o

The devices are present in lspci listed as referenced above, but are not recognised beyond the lspci statement and the 3c990.o driver does not appear to be present in ESX 3.5.0.1.

What would be the best way to go about enabling these devices? Would it be possible to load the older driver, either directly or via a modified oem.gz? Is the module still hiding somewhere on my install CD? If not there, where could I acquire it?

Any assistance would be appreciated.


Thu Mar 10, 2011 8:07 am
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Post Re: Formerly ESX supported 3Com Fiber NIC
Would you know which version of ESX last supported the NIC?

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Dave Mishchenko
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Thu Mar 10, 2011 12:17 pm
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Post Re: Formerly ESX supported 3Com Fiber NIC
It looks as though it was as early as ESX Server 2.1 and as late as ESX Server ESX 3.0.x, although I'm sorry I couldn't tell you specifically which build.

Interestingly enough, the docs say "The hardware requirements for ESX 3.5 are the same as listed in the ESX 3.0.x section with the following additions."


Thu Mar 10, 2011 2:40 pm
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Post Re: Formerly ESX supported 3Com Fiber NIC
Would you know the driver name? I'm looking at ESX 3.0.2 and can find 3c90x but not 3x99*.

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Thu Mar 10, 2011 2:56 pm
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Post Re: Formerly ESX supported 3Com Fiber NIC
Here's a older .pdf that references the driver (3c990.o) being used as far back a 1.5: http://sysdoc.doors.ch/VMWARE/esx_io_devices_15.pdf

Here's another that's much more recent referencing the same driver:

http://www.vmware.com/pdf/vi3_35/esx_3/ ... _guide.pdf

I'm starting to wonder if there's some vast conspiracy to attempt to remove all records of the exisitence of this driver :roll:


Thu Mar 10, 2011 3:23 pm
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Post Re: Formerly ESX supported 3Com Fiber NIC
I took a look at the IO guide for 3.0 and 3.5 and it's not listed there either. I'm going to go with the conspiracy theory. Time to get my tin foil helmet so that they can't control my mind.

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Thu Mar 10, 2011 4:12 pm
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Post Re: Formerly ESX supported 3Com Fiber NIC
As tempting a theory as reptilian overlords whose only weakness is the specific frequency of radiation emitted by the 3Com 3C990B is, I'm fairly certain the driver in question is referenced on page 22 of the ESX Server 3.5 Instalation Guide, albeit implicity:

"NOTE The 3Com 3c990 driver does not support all revisions of the 3c990.
For example, 3CR990B is incompatible."

Could it be that it was published with ESX and not ESXi? If that is that case, could such a legendary driver be imported?


Thu Mar 10, 2011 11:36 pm
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Post Re: Formerly ESX supported 3Com Fiber NIC
I was looking at ESX 3.0.2 and 3.5. But if it was in either it could be import (well the 3.5 driver at least) into ESXi.

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Dave Mishchenko
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Fri Mar 11, 2011 12:22 am
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Post Re: Formerly ESX supported 3Com Fiber NIC
Would the import be a straight copy paste or an import via oem.gz? Furthermore, I presume I'd have to get a copy of 3.5 to acquire said driver...


Fri Mar 11, 2011 1:23 am
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Post Re: Formerly ESX supported 3Com Fiber NIC
You would just need to get the driver file and you could then test it (manually load it with vmkload_mod). If it were to work manually loading it then you would need to build an oem.tgz file with the driver and updated simple.map file.

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Dave Mishchenko
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Fri Mar 11, 2011 2:18 am
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