ESXi 4.1 and HP BL460c G6 with Mezzenine card

Had an issue where I would install CentOS on these HP blades and I would be able to see 16 nics.  But when I installed ESXi 4.1 I only saw 8 nics.  16 is the right number because each flexNIC has 4 vNics.  So with 4 of these, I wanted to see some serious bandwidth.  After fumbling around we finally came to the conclusion that the be2net driver was not loaded on the hypervisor.

My Mezzanine card is a HP NC550m Dual Port Flex-10 10GbE BL-c Adapter.  My HP rep said that these were not going to be supported by HP on ESXi 4.1 until November and that I could drop back to 4.0 or he could try to get me some beta code.

I found that you can just download the driver here.  I tried a similar route by installing the hp-esxi4.1uX-bundle from HPs website but that just gave me stuff I didn’t need (like iLo drivers).

The link above is an ISO image.  The easiest way for me to install it on a running machine was to open the ISO on a linux machine and then copy the files to the ESX hosts:

# mkdir foo
# mount vmware-esx-drivers-net-be2net_400.2.102.440.0-1vm* foo -o loop
# cd foo/offline-bundle
# scp vhost001:/

Then you just need to install it.  The only problem with this is that it involves a entering maintenance mode and then a reboot.  Is this windows xp or something?  We’re just talking about a driver here…

Anyway, SSH to the ESXi 4.1 (or use VUG if you want to pay $500 bucks instead).  Since I use xCAT, I have passwordless SSH set up:

# vim-cmd hostsvc/maintenance_mode_enter
# esxupdate update --bundle /
# vim-cmd hostsvc/maintenance_mode_exit
# reboot; exit

After the node reboots you can run:

esxcfg-nics -l

you’ll be able to see all 16 nics.

Hope that saves you time as it took me a while to figure this out…

My next post will talk about how to integrate this into the kickstart file so you don’t have to do any after-the-install junk.

  •!/Daniel_Bowers Daniel Bowers

    Good work-around.

    You might have grabbed the wrong ESXi download from HP. There are two:
    1) The HP ESXi image (download here: )
    has the vmware-esx-drivers-net-be2net_400.2.102.440.0 drivers in it, which should enable the NC550m NIC.

    2) The “” download just has the CIM providers (management stuff) in it, not the NIC drivers.

    The NC550m itself is in the VMWare HCL as supported on ESXi 4.1, with the 400.2.102 driver. I think it’s the NC551m mezzanine card (the CNA version of that device) that’s not covered by that driver.

    • sumavi

      Dan, Thanks so much for commenting on this post! I’ll be sure to get the HP ESXi image. I was about to modify the imagedd.bz2 file and put those in it but it looks like grabbing the HP ESXi image will be easier!

      • sumavi

        what is the upstream switch port settings? Should be set to spanning-tree portfast or edgeport. Maybe that helps?

  • Jack


    I stumbled accross your post by googling for Problems with ESXi 4.1 and the NC550m Mezanine Card. I got the following problem. The latest be2net Driver is installed on the ESXi. I got 4 bl 460 G6 blades. After some random amount of time, a random ESXi’s network connection fails and HA kicks in. After a reboot everything works fine again. Anyone have a similar problem? I opened a ticket with HP support but no result so far. Any idea?

  • Jack

    Thanks for your anwer. The blades are connected to 2 Flex-10 modules and them. To hp 5404 switches. These are configured with rstp.

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