VMware has just released ESXi 5.0 Update 2 which includes many bug fixes, but along with these fixes, these updates usually also include new inbox drivers as part of the default ISO image for ESXi. One important driver that I had noticed while going through the release notes is the inclusion of the tg3 (Broadcom) inbox driver:
- Updates the tg3 driver to version 3.123b.v50.1
The tg3 inbox driver version shipped with the ESXi 5.0 Update 2 is 3.123b.v50.1.
Disclaimer: The Apple Mac Mini is not officially supported by VMware.
Why is this awesome!? Well, for those of you who own an Apple Mac Mini and would like to run ESXi, may recall an additional step is required to create a customized ESXi ISO to include an updated tg3 driver for the networking stack to function in an Apple Mac Mini. Though the steps have been documented here, it is great to see this working right out of the box using the new ESXi 5.0 Update 2 ISO from VMware. In addition to the networking stack functioning properly after installation, it also enables connectivity to an Apple Thunderbolt Ethernet adapter if you happen to have one connected to your Apple Mac Mini! You no longer have to create a custom ESXi ISO for the Thunderbolt Ethernet adapter as mentioned in an earlier article here.
Note: This article is only relevant to pre-2012 Apple Mac Mini, if you have a newer Apple Mac Mini 6,2 - Please refer to this article for installation.
Here are a few screenshots of running the latest ESXi 5.0 Update 2 on my Apple Mac Mini 5,3 as well as showing the Apple Thunderbolt Ethernet adapter active in ESXi:
If you want a tiny form factor for a vSphere home lab, you should definitely consider asking Santa for an Apple Mac Mini this Christmas Hope everyone has a Happy Holiday and Happy New Years!