Unable to Remove Vswitch or Vkernel:

So, I’ve been having really weird passthrough and network issues on my main host. I made a vsan/vmotion 10 GBE network with one port of an IBM Emulex 10 GBe adapter. The other port was passed through to my FreeNAS VM. When I try to copy files across, it works for about 3 minutes, then completely loses all connections. I thought it was the card, but I used another card (Mellanox EX-2), and it was even worse. When I try to remove the Vswitch I added, host locks up. Same for the Vkernel between the hosts.

I’m kind of at a loss, as I know when I had this setup on unRAID with the same cards, they worked flawlessly. They were also working with my bare metal freenas install. Is it ESXi throwing a fit? My host is on 6.7 Update 1.

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  1. So, I fixed the VMkernel and Vswitch issue. The Vswitch still had ports and hardware associated with it, I had to remove those and I was able to remove the entire vswitch and Vkernel after. Still having an odd issue with the 10 GBE passthrough. I bit the bullet and ordered a 10 GBE switch. We’ll see if my problem persists.

  2. Passthrough can be super finicky and I suggest not using it (at least not at first). For a home environment it will be hard to measure any performance improvement between passthrough and “traditional” virtual networking. Note: Even if the virtual NIC shows as “only” 1 Gb in the Guest there is no speed limit — network traffic will move as fast as the underlying hardware can handle.

    Curious why you are “still” on 6.7U1? 6.7U3 + “patches released 2019-12-05” is the latest. (Full disclosure: 6.7U3 introduced a bootloader change that causes some whitebox hardware to no longer boot. Just to be safe write down your ESXi settings in case you have to reinstall before updating. If you do have to reinstall then VMs on your datastores will not be lost as long as you don’t format the drives during reinstallation. The “2019-12-05 patches” are supposed to address this bootloader issue.) Note: This is my favorite site to track patches. I subscribe to the RSS feed and find out within a day of release: https://esxi-patches.v-front.de/ESXi-6.7.0.html

    I also suggest reviewing the VMware HCL (hardware compatibility list) to see if your hardware is on it (server, nic, RAID controller, etc). If your hardware is on the HCL that gives you more confidence that it will work with ESXi. With that said there is plenty of hardware out there that works with ESXi and is not on the HCL — but it may take more effort to get it working. The VMware HCL is at: https://www.vmware.com/resources/compatibility/search.php

    Hope this helps you get things working.

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