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ESX 4.1 bnx2x driver 1.54 can cause a PSOD

VMware has just released an advisory for the Broadcom bnx2x Inbox drivers in ESX 4.1 which will affect HP Servers including blades.

ESX/ESXi 4.1 with Broadcom bnx2x Inbox driver version 1.54.1.v41.1-1vmw experiences a loss of network connectivity and a purple diagnostic screen

http://kb.vmware.com/selfservice/search.do?cmd=displayKC&docType=kc&externalId=1029368

The resolution (which is only a workaround) says it manifests itself when using the IP Checksum feature which is on by default on ESX and ESXi 4.1. This feature moves the checksumming (if there’s such a word) from the OS stack to the adapter and can cause a driver or firmware panic.

Now, the question is, is this a serious enough problem to immediately go out and disable checksumming?  The KB doesn’t say but this looks like it could be a serious issue.

Hopefully some more information will be forthcoming from VMware / HP / Broadcom but at least you’ve been warned!

Categories: ESX, Flex-10, HP, VMware Tags: , , ,
  1. Henning
    October 21st, 2010 at 11:15 | #1

    there is a serious issue with it as soon as you use HA over the bnx2x.. suddenly the connection drops on either of the hosts and doesn´t come up again..

    no connection to service-console, or no HA-heartbeat.. or other scary stuff..

    using a single host with this issue does not seem to be a problem..

  2. October 29th, 2010 at 10:16 | #2

    Seems like the bnx2 has more than it’s share of problems. We’ve just had issues on our G6 and G7 HP blades losing network connectivity – not quite as bad as a PSOD, but certainly not good. VMware KB1016012 lists the cause and solution (upgrade the driver).

  3. WoodITWork
    October 29th, 2010 at 14:21 | #3

    @Ed Grigson
    Hi Ed. Yes, the default ESX bnx2 driver isn’t happy so best to upgrade to 1.48. At this stage I wouldn’t suggest going to newer versions as there are ongoing issues.
    Have a look at the prerequisited in my post http://www.wooditwork.com/2010/08/09/flex-10-esx-pre-requisites/ which seems stable.

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  1. October 29th, 2010 at 16:51 | #1
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