Modifing vmnic name in vSphere ESXi 6.5

After installing vSphere ESXi 6.5 on four Dell R630 hosts I noticed that the first host represented my Intel® Ethernet Converged Network Adapter X520-DA2 ports as vmnic4 and vmnic5, whereas all of the other hosts represented the same ports as vmnic0 and vmnic1.

Screen Shot 2017-10-07 at 5.42.57 PM

The problem was that I had forgotten to disable the integrated network adapter in the BIOS, a quad-port 1Gbe daughter board.  After modifying the BIOS and rebooting the ESXi host I noticed that the vmnic numbering remained the same (vmnic4, vmnic5).  I didn’t want to re-install vSphere ESXi 6.5 to fix the ordering so I decided to modify the esx.conf file instead.

To do so, first enable SSH on the ESXi host.

  1. Login to the vSphere WebUI (DCUI) as root
  2. From the left Navigation pane, Select the host.
  3. Click Manage, then click on the Services Tab.
  4. In the Services section locate TSM-SSH and click to select it.
  5. Click the Actions button and select Policy –> Start and Stop with host
  6. Click the Start Button
  7. Verify that the TSM-SSH service has started by reviewing the Status column

Next use an SSH client such as PuTTy to connect to the ESXi Host, then use vi to modify the esx.conf file.  I used cat to find all of the references for vmnic4 (below)

Screen Shot 2017-10-08 at 6.59.50 AM

First I made a backup of the file by typing cp /etc/vmware/esx.conf /etc/vmware/esx.old, then I proceeded to edit the file by typing vi /etc/vmware/esx.conf.

On my system I deleted the existing (vmnic0, vmnic1, vmnic2, and vmnic3) lines in the esx.conf file PRO TIP: Use the VI command dd to delete an entire line.  Next, I modified all vmnic4 entries by changing them to vmnic0 and all vmnic5 entries by changing them to vmnic1. PRO TIP: Use the VI command r to replace a single character.

When finished hit ESC, then type :wq! to save your changes and exit.

When finished I rebooted the system then logged into my ESXi host to verify the changes.

Screen Shot 2017-10-08 at 7.37.52 AM

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