One of our greenfield virtualization project required that I assist with installing ESXi 6.5 on new servers which will then have a couple of high-end GPUs in them. Sweet! But on the flip side, I won’t get to see the rest of the stuffs (i.e. vCenter, host clusters, VSAN, etc) through because they were commissioned to some other SI. That said, I have limited management tool at my disposal (at the time of writing, there’s still no vSphere Client for OS X) to get the job done, particularly the installation of GPU driver for ESXi.
For some reason, I had unsurmountable challenges when I was trying to copy the GPU driver from a FAT32 USB drive. I read countless webpages but none of the options I stumbled upon helped. I gave up on that route and tried something else; thus, our post on how I copied and installed the GPU drivers directly to the ESXi hosts using a MacBook with OS X.
1. Login to Direct Console User Interface (DCUI) of the ESXi and set the following:
Set a temporary static address to the management port
Enable ESXi Shell and SSH under Troubleshooting Options
2. Direct-connect the MacBook after assigning it an IP address in the same range as the ESXi host via the management port.
3. Open Terminal, SSH into the ESXi host, and use the command below to find a volume to temporarily store the GPU driver
esxcli storage filesystem list
For this case, I used the vmtools folder to temporarily hold the GPU driver (vib file).
4. Use the command below to copy the over the GPU driver.
scp NVIDIA-driver.vib root@IP-of-the-ESXi:/vmfs/volumes/592ffac8-5b82f0b2-f438-1866da8dc03c/packages/6.5.0/vmtools/
Enter the password when prompted.
5. Put the ESXi host in maintenance mode using
vim-cmd hostsvc/maintenance_mode_enter command.
6. Install the GPU driver using this command:
esxcli software vib install -v file:///vmfs/592ffac8-5b82f0b2-f438-1866da8dc03c/packages/6.5.0/vmtools/NVIDIA-driver.vib
7. Take out the ESXi host from maintenance mode using
8. Reboot the ESXi host.