ESXi 6.0/6.5 and Intel X710 NIC Problem

If you are running ESXi 6.0/6.5 and using a Intel X710 network adapter, the network card port may stop forwarding packets, if you are using the native driver (i40en). I customer using both Dell, HPE and Lenovo servers where I have seee this problem. This is a huge problem.

The is due to a new function in the driver called "Malicious Driver Detection" or MDD for short.

I the vmkernet.log file you will see, this lines.

i40en: i40en_HandleMddEvent:6495: Malicious Driver Detection event 0x02 on TX queue 0 PF number 0x00 VF number 0x00
i40en: i40en_HandleMddEvent:6521: TX driver issue detected, PF reset issued

The problem is fixed in ESXi 6.7 that has a new driver version 1.7.1.

See this from Intel forum: https://communities.intel.com/community/tech/wired/blog/2018/05/23/malicious-driver-detection-mdd-event-resolved

The workaround is to uninstall og disable the native driver "i40en" and have a working version or the Linux style driver installed "i40e".

I really hopes that Intel will fix this now, the article from the forum is dated May 23th of 2018.

Update (14th July 2018)

There is a known issue with the i40e driver versions up to 2.0.6, so you should use 2.0.7 or newer. See VMware KB: https://kb.vmware.com/s/article/2126909

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2 thoughts on “ESXi 6.0/6.5 and Intel X710 NIC Problem

  1. Hi there,

    we are experiencing the same problem. We are running ESXi 6.5 with the i40en driver.
    I have a question tho. Is this workaround for version ESXi 6.5 or 6.7 or both? Also, do I understand that correctly that the driver update by Intel itself for 6.7 installations still doesn’t fix the problem?

    Thanks for your input tho, appreciate it!

    -Tommy

    1. Hi Tommy

      The problem should be fixed in 6.7 that has a new driver version 1.7.1, I have not tested it, but the release notes for the driver says it is. This driver version is not backward compatible til 6.0 or 6.5.

      The workaround is only for 6.0 and 6.5.

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