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VMware ESX/ESXi 4.1 host with Broadcom bnx2x driver version 1.60.50.v41.2 experiences intermittent loss of network connectivity on HP Blades with Virtual Connect

Symptoms

If you are using VMware ESX or ESXi 4.1 with the Broadcom bnx2x driver version 1.60.50.v41.2, you may experience these symptoms:
  • An intermittent loss of network connectivity to or from the host.
  • The network interface link state repeatedly switches up or down.
  • One of these messages are logged by ESX in the /var/log/messages or /var/log/vmkernel log files:

    [esx.problem.net.redundancy.lost] Lost uplink redundancy on virtual switch "vSwitch0". Physical NIC vmnic0 is down. Affected port groups: "Portgroup Name".
    [esx.problem.net.connectivity.lost] Lost network connectivity on virtual switch "vSwitch0". Physical NIC vmnic1 is down. Affected port groups: "Portgroup Name".


Note: To confirm the ESX version, see Determining VMware Software Version and Build Number (392).


bnx2x-driver

Purpose

This article describes a specific issue. If you experience all of the symptoms, this article applies to you. If you experience some but not all of the symptoms, your issue is probably not related to this article. Search the knowledge base for your symptoms, review ESX/ESXi host has intermittent or no network connectivity (1004109) for similar issues, or open a Support Request. For more information, see How to Submit a Support Request.

Resolution

This issue occurs due to memory exhaustion in the Broadcom bnx2x network interface driver.

Solution

This issue is resolved in Broadcom bnx2x driver release version 1.62.15.v41 build 380522, released 2011-03-23.

To resolve this issue:

  1. Ensure the firmware is up-to-date:
    1. Upgrade the HP Virtual Connect firmware to a minimum of version 3.10. If you need assistance with this step, engage HP Support.
    2. Upgrade the Broadcom network card firmware to a minimum of version 5.2.7. This is included in HP NC-Series Broadcom Firmware utility 2.2.7 or newer. If you need assistance with this step, engage HP Support. 


  2. The preceding link was correct as of March 23, 2011. If you find the link is broken, provide feedback and a VMware employee will update the link.

  3. Open a console to the ESX or ESXi host. For more information, see Unable to connect to an ESX host using Secure Shell (SSH) (1003807) or Using Tech Support Mode in ESXi 4.1 (1017910).

  4. Revert to the default advanced configuration for the Broadcom bnx2x driver using the command:

    esxcfg-module -s "" bnx2x

  5. Install the async Broadcom driver on the ESX/ESXi host. For more information, see How to install async drivers on ESX/ESXi 4.x (1032936).

  6. Reboot the ESX/ESXi host for the configuration change and driver update to take effect.

  7. Confirm that network connectivity is restored. If the issue persists, file a support request with VMware Support and note this KB article ID 1031805 in the problem description. For more information, see How to Submit a Support Request.  

Workaround

To workaround this issue:
  1. Ensure the firmware is up-to-date.
    1. Upgrade the HP Virtual Connect firmware to a minimum of version 3.10. If you need assistance with this step, engage HP Support.
    2. Upgrade the Broadcom network card firmware to a minimum of version 5.2.7. This is included in HP NC-Series Broadcom Firmware utility 2.2.7 or newer. If you need assistance with this step, engage HP Support. 

  2. Open a console to the ESX or ESXi host. For more information, see Unable to connect to an ESX host using Secure Shell (SSH) (1003807) or Using Tech Support Mode in ESXi 4.1 (1017910).

  3. Validate the current advanced options specified for the Broadcom bnx2x driver using the command:

    esxcfg-module -g bnx2x

    For example, no options:

    bnx2x enabled = 1 options = ''

  4. Adjust heap memory allocations for the Broadcom bnx2x driver. Run this command from the ESX console to set the amount of Heap Memory allocated by the Broadcom bnx2x driver to 36MB:

    esxcfg-module -s skb_heap_max=36000000 bnx2x

  5. Reboot the ESX/ESXi host for this configuration change to take effect.

  6. Confirm that network connectivity is restored. If the issue persists, file a support request with VMware Support and note this KB article ID 1031805 in the problem description. For more information, see How to Submit a Support Request.  

Removing the workaround

To remove the changes to the heap memory allocations:

  1. Open a console to the ESX or ESXi host. For more information, see Unable to connect to an ESX host using Secure Shell (SSH) (1003807) or Using Tech Support Mode in ESXi 4.1 (1017910).

  2. Validate the current advanced options specified for the Broadcom bnx2x driver using the command:

    esxcfg-module -g bnx2x

    For example, the above option:

    bnx2x enabled = 1 options = 'skb_heap_max=36000000'

  3. Revert to the default advanced configuration for the Broadcom bnx2x driver using the command:

    esxcfg-module -s "" bnx2x

  4. Reboot the ESX/ESXi host for this configuration change to take effect.
Based on VMware KB 1031805

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