Work with E1000E NICs in PowerCLI

Now that Windows 8 and Windows Server 2012 are readily available , we all want to do some exploring. But if you want to automate the creation of some test VMs for this, you are in for a surprise.

The current PowerCLI 5.1 Release 1 doesn’t accept the E1000E NIC as a Type on the New-NetworkAdapter cmdlet. Users start hitting this limitation, as can be seen on this PowerCLI Community thread. You can go for the E1000, but why settle for less if you can easily script the use of the E1000E NIC from PowerCLI?

So even though Eric “the Scoop Meister” Sloof debunked the myth that the E1000/E1000E is faster than the VmxNet3, the E1000E is the default NIC type that vSphere gives you when you create a VM for a Windows Server 2012 or Windows 8 VM. Note that the E1000 apparently uses slightly more CPU resources than the E1000E. With the function in this post you can now automate this behavior.

Update November 17th 2012: In KB2006859 it seems to say that the VMXNET3 NIC doesn’t work with Windows Server 2012 or Windows 8. And there have been several blogs (including mine) that picked up this info. But after you apply the September 2012 patch to your ESXi servers, you can also use a VMXNET3 NIC for both Windows OS. See here and here for more info.

Thanks to reader alcapapower for drawing my attention to this (see his remark in the comments below).

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vNIC transmit and receive rates

The VMTN PowerCLI Community is a constant source of inspiration for blog posts. User roswellevent raised, in the thread Any way to get virtual machine Nic card usage?, the question if it was possible to get the transmit and receive rate for each vNIC in virtual machines.

Since I’m interested in all things statistics in vSphere I decided to tackle the question. Finding the metrics to use for this kind of report is not too difficult. Under the PerformanceManager Network section we find the metrics net.received.average and net.transmitted.average. And, provided your Statistics Level is set to 3 for the timeframe you want to report on, the metrics capture statistics on the device level.

Great, exactly what we need! A quick check in the Performance tab in the vSphere Client showed an additional problem to solve. The instance didn’t mention Network Adapter 1 but a number.

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