ESXi 5.x fails with PSOD when using E1000 or E1000e adapters!

ESXi 5.x fails with PSOD when using E1000 or E1000e adapters!


E1000 and E1000e are quite commonly used virtual network adapters for VMs in vSphere. Although VMXNET3 is the VMware recommended adapter, E1000 and E1000e are feasible alternatives.

  • E1000 is an emulated version of the Intel 82545EM Gigabit Ethernet NIC.
  • E1000e is an emulated version of the Intel Gigabit NIC 82574 Ethernet NIC.

Be aware that using either E1000 or E1000e on an ESXi 5.x host can pose a serious danger, depending on your host patch level.

ESXi can crash with purple diagnostic screen as described in the following two Knowledge Base articles:

Both KBs describe similiar symptoms, with slight differences in the back trace. The affected ESXi 5.x build levels differ a bit as well. You might be familiar with these KBs already because they have been around for over a year. However, keep in mind that KBs can update for different reasons, including change of affected scope.

For example, KB2059053 has been regularly updated (latest update May 30, 2016). The affected build level has been modified since the last update and there may be many infrastructures out there running at risk of a host failure.

You can download the latest version of Runecast Analyzer to make sure that you are not affected by these two KBs or hundreds of others that we are keeping up to date in our repository, based on the updates of the VMware Knowledge Base itself.

Once you run the analysis, check out the KBs discovered view under Configuration Analysis. If KB2059053 is detected, it will display as shown below:

Configuration Analysis

Click on Findings to see the list of affected objects (in this case VMs with E1000e running on hosts with build levels within the affected range). The detected KB article describes some workarounds and resolution.

If you are already running Runecast, we recommend configuring automatic updates and automatic scheduled scan, to ensure you are protected at all times based on the latest documented known issues.

Stay tuned for more featured KBs!

15-06-2016 00:00

See how many KBs are applicable in your environment