Saturday, December 22, 2012

Custom ESXi 5.1 Image for Dell R720

As mentioned in my previous entry, I have decided to create a custom ESXi 5.1 image with the driver for Integrated Broadcom 5720 quad port network adapter included.  Here are the steps I took to create the custom image.

I will need to have VMware vSphere PowerCLI installed on the machine I will be using to create the image.

Download the ESXi 5.1 software depot (ESXi 5.1 Offline Bundle).  The file that I have downloaded is

The offline bundle for the Broadcom 5720 network adapter driver is also needed.  The offline bundle which is is included in the downloaded file.

Once I have everything ready, the first step is to import the software depots using the Add-EsxSoftwareDepot command.

I imported the ESXi 5.1 software depot ( follow by the Broadcom driver depot (

00 Add-EsxSoftwareDepot ESXi

01 Add-EsxSoftwareDepot

I can use the Get-EsxSoftwarePackage command to verify that the Broadcom driver depot has been added.  Do take note of the name net-tg3 which is needed at the later stage.

02a Get-EsxSoftwarePackage

The next step is to create a new image profile and the easiest way is to clone from an existing image profile.  To find out the image profiles that are included in the ESXi 5.1 depot, I used the Get-EsxImageProfile command.

03 Get-EsxImageProfile

I cloned a new image profile from the ESXi-5.1.0-20121004001-standard profile and named it ESXi510aR720 using the New-EsxImageProfile command.

04 CloneProfile

Now that I have the new image profile created, the next step is to add the Broadcom driver to the new image profile using the Add-EsxSoftwarePackage command.  The SoftwarePackage name net-tg3 was gotten using the Get-EsxSoftwarePackage command which was performed earlier.

05 Add VIB

I can now export the new image profile to an ISO image using the Export-EsxImageProfile command.

06 Export to ISO

Optionally, I can compare the difference between my custom image profile (ESXi510aR720) and the ESXi 5.1 standard profile (ESXi-5.1.0-20121004001-standard) using the Compare-EsxImageProfile command.

07 Compare-ESXImageProfile

Now that I have the custom image (ESXi510aR720.iso) which includes the missing Broadcom network driver, I can use it to deploy on my remaining Dell R720 servers.

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