CentOS kernel patch loses VMWare NIC driver

I may need to put in a PMR on this, but I’m having an issue with kernel updates on virtual machines using the VMXNET network hardware. To date, I have only tested this on CentOS, but I suspect it’s going to be an issue on other Linux OSs as well.

The symptoms are after the update runs and reboots, the NIC can’t connect to the network. I have to reboot and go back into the old kernel to get the network back.

Has anyone else seen this and found a solution?

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The VMXNET driver is installed from VMWare Tools, which is not managed by the CentOS patching site.

You can either reinstall VMWare Tools, which should reinstall the driver module for the new kernel, or configure your system to use one of the NIC modules in the mainline kernel and configure your VM to use the corresponding emulated NIC. I’m not sure about your setup, but from what I’ve seen E1000 is a common one, and should be supported in the mainline kernel.


I’ll have to play with the idea of rebooting in the baseline, then installing the vmware tools, then rebooting again. That will be an interesting workflow.

I’ll post my results. I’m sure there are others out there that hit this issue too.