PSA: Vmware ESXi 7.0 does not like consumer NVMe drives

zer0sum

Well-Known Member
Mar 8, 2013
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I just found out that ESXi 7.0 is really particular about the brand of NVMe drive you try to use.
And it was an issue on earlier versions but it seems to be even stricter now

My Intel 660P works perfectly, but my Adata XPG SX8200 and HP EX920 do not work at all :(
I believe most Intel and Samsung drives like 970's should work fine at least :D

YMMW with other brands on the official HCL - Cisco, Dell, HPE, HGST, Hitachi, Huawei, Intel, Lenovo, Micron, Oracle, Samsung, ScaleFlux, SKHynix, WD
If anyone has other brands working please comment and we can start to create a list.

In previous versions of ESXi you could run a couple of commands to load older nvme drivers like this:
But on ESXi 7.0 that somehow kills all of your network card drivers and your box is now a shiny paperweight :(
Anyone know of any further hacks/tweaks to get it work?
 
Last edited:

vangoose

Active Member
May 21, 2019
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7.0 has many issues, highly recommend reading release notes before upgrade.

All of my network cards have some level of issues in 7.0. Intel X550, BCM57810, QL41212 and CX-4. Understanding the issues, impact and workaround will help you build one with less problems.

I have already loaded 7 in one of my test server for more than a week and didn't experience any significant issue. I won't upgrade my cluster to 7.0 because nested virtualization is broken.
 

986box

Member
Oct 14, 2017
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Upgraded to 7.0 from 6.5 when building a new server. Samsung EVO 850 from old server works without issues. Though it is a SSD and vsphere is boot off a 8GB USB stick.
 

TXAG26

Active Member
Aug 2, 2016
363
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7.0 has many issues, highly recommend reading release notes before upgrade.

All of my network cards have some level of issues in 7.0. Intel X550, BCM57810, QL41212 and CX-4. Understanding the issues, impact and workaround will help you build one with less problems.
Not to drag this too off topic, but would you mind sharing what issues you have seen with your Intel X550 network adapter in ESXI 7.0?
 

zer0sum

Well-Known Member
Mar 8, 2013
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So...I worked out a solution of sorts :)

Download the ESXi 6.5 update 2 iso - VMware-VMvisor-Installer-6.5.0.update02-8294253.x86_64.iso
- mount it and copy nvme.v00 over to your ESXi 7.0 system into the /bootbank directory
- rename the esxi 7.0 nvme driver file - mv nvme_pci.v00 nvme_pci.v00.old
- rename the esxi 6.7u2 nvme driver file - mv nvme.v00 nvme_pci.v00
- reboot

My old datastore on an Intel nvme drive dissappeared so I had to take another step to recover it
- esxcli storage vmfs snapshot list
- esxcli storage vmfs snapshot mount -l "NVME"

Keep in mind, if you patch to the next version of ESXi it will most likely get overwritten.
 
Last edited:

StevenDTX

Active Member
Aug 17, 2016
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I received a Western Digital (Sandisk) SN750 2TB today and it's recognized (and usable) in vSphere 7.

All of my Samsung 970 Pros work as well.
 

Jimster480

New Member
Mar 12, 2020
22
3
3
Just installed ESXI 7 and my Mushkin Pilot-E 1TB won't show up in ESXI.

I did the stuff above and it worked now.

I attached a zip file with the driver itself along with instructions I put together (based on how I did it).
 

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cli-networks

New Member
Oct 18, 2021
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Just installed ESXI 7 and my Mushkin Pilot-E 1TB won't show up in ESXI.

I did the stuff above and it worked now.

I attached a zip file with the driver itself along with instructions I put together (based on how I did it).
It did not work with
Western Digital 1TB WD Blue SN550 NVMe Internal SSD
 

zer0sum

Well-Known Member
Mar 8, 2013
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I am currently on ESXi-7.0.0-15843807-standard and thanks for the quick reply.
Hmmm, this should work:

copy the "old" esxi 6.7u2 nvme.v00 over to your ESXi 7.0 system into the /bootbank directory
- rename the esxi 7.0 nvme driver file - mv nvme_pci.v00 nvme_pci.v00.old
- rename the esxi 6.7u2 nvme driver file - mv nvme.v00 nvme_pci.v00
- reboot

If it doesn't you might have a different issue :(
 

cli-networks

New Member
Oct 18, 2021
5
0
1
Hmmm, this should work:

copy the "old" esxi 6.7u2 nvme.v00 over to your ESXi 7.0 system into the /bootbank directory
- rename the esxi 7.0 nvme driver file - mv nvme_pci.v00 nvme_pci.v00.old
- rename the esxi 6.7u2 nvme driver file - mv nvme.v00 nvme_pci.v00
- reboot

If it doesn't you might have a different issue :(
Thanks, I will give it a try and let you know.
 

Jimster480

New Member
Mar 12, 2020
22
3
3
Thankfully I uploaded the file here and wrote the tutorial because I just fixed my server with it again!
I forgot what I did and lost the driver in my NAS... The newest vSphere update does replace the NVMe driver so it will break any patched boxes (like mine). However the old driver still works fine.
 
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