Some more from my Home Lab and vSphere 5 concerning the onboard Realtec NIC cards. During period running my Lab with vSphere 4.1 there was no way to run the onboard Realtek NIC cards without hacking some of the files present on the original vSphere 4.1 iso. Maybe I should take even more time to do a research before I built such a system (and I really recommend that)
Well I knew that the built-in NICs won't work and I did not even bother trying. I could see in some cases it worked but in some cases it didn't even if the NIC showed in the GUI through the vSphere Client and some pings commands were successful. The configuration “hacked” like this, even for a homelab was really not sure.
With the vSphere 5 there is some more built-in NIC cards supported now. I bring here my own contribution and since in my lab I run 2 whiteboxes and both have a built-in Realtek NIC cards. With the 3 PCI based NIC cards from Intel I do have 4 NICs present in each box. The first box is based on Asus P6T SE board and the second is based on Asus Sabertooth X58 board.
I'm running vSphere 5.0 built 441354 running in my lab can see those NICs without difficulties, and so those NICs are also used in my lab.
Realtec onboard NICs supported in vSphere 5 as for now:
Realtek 8168 – Asus P6T SE board
Realtek 8169 – Asus Sabertooth X58 board
Realtek 8111E – Shuttle SH55 (see Kendrick's post on that)
UPDATE: Check out my post about Realtek 8169 support in ESXi 5.5 (vSphere 5.5)
See more compatible hardware on vm-help.com
This brings the NIC counts to 4 so I have a few options there, but I think the best way will be to double the storage network…
Happy home labbing with vSphere 5…. -:)