HP Proliant G7 (Old Server) madness and 10Gig NICs

I am just going to make a quick post after a long bit of sacrifice.  Should one every buy a new 10G NIC for their server in their CCIE lab, a couple of things you will want to know up front.

1)  What is the current firmware version on the card and does ESXi support it?
2)  What method does it require to upgrade the firmware, how will I go about doing this?

Once you have those out of the way, you may need some tools.  What I recommend for older cards is to use WinToUSB Enterprise with a version of Windows Server Evaluation that you can get from Microsoft's website.  You will need a 64GB thumbdrive as a lot of server hardware that is older will not boot from an external USB drive, but a thumbdrive will work.  Lastly, check your hardware's USB support prior to all this to ensure if you must flash it that it will work.  Otherwise you may need to slot the card in different hardware so you can flash it.

While there are methods using Linux to flash the firmware, I found those to be problematic if the drivers used .src.rpms or source based code that had to compile against the kernel due to differences in the original release and the packages now available.

Once you have all this done, you should be able to install the proper vib/driver in ESXi and get the host to recognize the card.  You can easily use a loopback plug to test your optics prior to wiring everything up and as always, make sure you clean your fiber ends prior to plugging them in to ensure you don't get dust into your transceivers!

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