Cisco UCS Manager

UCS Driver Installation for Common Operating Systems

Document ID: 116349

Updated: Sep 06, 2013

Contributed by Michael Ciesla, Cisco TAC Engineer.



This document describes how to install device drivers on the Cisco Unified Computing System (UCS) for common operating systems. 



Cisco recommends that you have knowledge of these topics:

  • Cisco UCS Manager
  • Cisco Integrated Management Controller (CIMC)
  • Virtual Machine-ware (VMware), Windows Server, or Linux Operating Systems (OS)

Components Used

The information in this document is based on these hardware platforms:

  • UCS B Series
  • UCS C Series

The information in this document was created from the devices in a specific lab environment. All of the devices used in this document started with a cleared (default) configuration. If your network is live, make sure that you understand the potential impact of any command.

Background Information 

Driver Definition

A device driver is software that is the interface between the OS and the hardware. The device driver translates general OS commands into specialized commands for a particular device, which allows the OS to communicate with hardware devices. 

Devices that Require a Driver

Here is a list of hardware devices that require device drivers: 

  • Ethernet Network Interface Card (ENIC)
  • Fibre Channel Network Interface Card (FNIC)
  • Redundant Array of Indepent Disks (RAID) Controller
  • Motherboard Chipset 
  • Video Card
  • Trusted Platform Module (TPM)

Drivers Versus Firmware 

Device drivers are different from firmware. Device driver software is installed on the OS, whereas firmware is lower-level code that is installed on hardware devices. Firmware is stored in non-volatile memory, such as ROM, Erasable Programmable ROM (EPROM), or flash memory. 

Driver Dependence on Firmware

Device drivers have a strong dependence on the device firmware. Device drivers must be compatible with the firmware level of a hardware device, so that they properly communicate with each other; driver and firmware functionality must match for correct operation to take place. 

When Drivers Must be Installed and Updated

Device drivers come pre-installed with operating systems (such as Cisco OEM VMware ESXi images), or they can be manually installed post-OS setup. 

Device drivers generally need to be updated after these procedures: 

  • UCS firmware upgrades
  • Major OS upgrades/patches 

Driver Versions Required

The UCS Hardware and Software Interoperability Matrix outlines the driver versions that are required for a particular OS, device, and firmware combination. Follow these links for the Matrix Utility Tool and the Matrix PDFs:

Warning: The driver versions listed on the matrix have been tested and verified by the Cisco Engineering Quality Assurance team, and it is cruical to install the correct driver; otherwise, you might run into unexpected behavior which could lead to network outages. 

This example shows that an ENIC driver version of is required for a B200 M3 with a Virtual Interface Card (VIC) 1240 that runs ESXi 5.1 U1, on UCS Release 2.1.1. 

Download the Driver Bundle

Complete these steps in order to download the driver bundle:


  1. In a web browser, navigate to
  2. Under Support, click Download Software.
  3. Click Unified Computing and Servers.
  4. Choose your server. Cisco UCS drivers are available for both Cisco UCS B-Series Blade servers and Cisco UCS C-Series Rack-Mount.
  5. Click Unified Computing System (UCS) Drivers.
  6. Select the bundle you want to download, and click Download Now.

Tip: When you choose which driver bundle to download, it is important to select the driver bundle version that is most similar to the server firmware release. For example, if you run a UCS-B Release 2.1(1f), then driver bundle ucs-bxxx-drivers.2.1.1f.iso is required. 

Tip: Most VMware ESXi drivers are downloaded directly from, with a search for the driver version (such as This is often quicker than if you were to download the entire driver bundle. 

Identify Server Hardware 

Before you select the correct driver, you must identify what hardware devices are installed on the server. This section describes how to find the devices located on the UCS Manager and in the CIMC.

UCS B Series

This example shows how to find the server inventory in UCS Manager. Server 1/1 has two adapter models installed: the VIC 1240 and 1280

UCS C Series

This example shows how to find the server hardware devices in the CIMC. The server has a LSI 9266-8i RAID controller installed. 


Identify the UCS Firmware Release 

Before the correct driver version is selected, the UCS release must be identifed. This section describes how to identify the current UCS release installed on the servers. 

UCS B Series 

In this example, the UCS B Series runs UCS Release 2.1(1a). 

UCS C Series 

In this example, the UCS C Series runs UCS Release 1.4(6d). 

OS Specifics 

This section describes how to check driver versions and how to install drivers on common OSs.

VMware ESXi

Use these commands in order to check the current driver versions and VMware build:

Tip: These commands are executed from the ESXi CLI. Secure Shell (SSH) must be enabled before an SSH session is initated. 

ethtool -i vmnicXDisplays the Ethernet driver used by the specified vmnic
vmkload_mod -s driver_nameDisplays the driver version for a specified driver
vmkload_mod -s fnicDisplays the host bus adapter (HBA) driver version for the Cisco VIC
vmkload_mod -s megaraid_sasDisplays the LSI MegaRAID driver version 
vmware -vlDisplays the VMware build and patch level
esxcfg-nics -lLists the host vmnics and network interface card (NIC) models
esxcfg-scsidev -aLists the hosts HBAs and the associated driver name

These examples show that vmnic2 uses a Cisco VIC and a driver version of

These examples show that the Qlogic Host Bus Adapter (HBA) uses driver qla2xxx Version 901.1k.1-14vmw.

Install the Driver

Complete these steps in order to install the driver:

  1. Extract the contents of the driver zip file, and identify the *.vib file.
  2. Use the Datastore Browser in order to upload the *.vib file to an ESXi host datastore.

  3. Enter the host into Maintenance mode. 
  4. Install the driver. 

ESXi 5.x

Use this command in order to install the driver on ESXi Release 5.x:

esxcli software vib install -v /path/async-driver.vib



NoteIf the drivers require a signature verification, run this command with the --no-sig-check switch. Ensure that you use the full path to the file. 

ESXi 4.x 

Use this command in order to install the driver on ESXi Release 4.x:

esxupdate update 

Finish the Installation

After you install the driver with one of the previously mentioned commands, exit Maintenance mode and reboot the host. For more information on how to install drivers, reference the Related Information section at the end of this document.

Useful VMware CLI Commands

Here are some other useful VMware commands that you can use when you install a driver:

Check Maintenance Mode Status

vim-cmd hostsvc/hostsummary | grep -i maintenace

Check for Powered-On VMs

vim-cmd vmsvc/getallvms

Power-Off VMs

vim-cmd vmsvc/ <vm id>

Enter Maintenance Mode

vim-cmd hostsvc/maintenace_mode_enter

Exit Maintenance Mode

vim-cmd hostsvc/maintenace_mode_exit

Microsoft Windows Server

This section describes how to install a driver on a Microsoft Windows server.

Check Current Driver Version

In order to check the device drivers in Microsoft Windows, use the Device Manager located in the Control Panel. 

Missing Drivers 

Hardware devices with missing drivers are displayed in the Device Manager with a yellow question mark. These devices should be updated with the correct driver in order to prevent unexpected behavior. 

Install the Driver

In order to install or update a driver in Microsoft Windows, right-click on the device, and choose Install/Update Driver in order to start the Installation Wizard. 

Redhat and SuSE Linux

 This section describes how to install a driver on Redhat and SuSE Linux systems.

Check Current Driver Versions and OS Release 

Here is a list of commands used in order to check the current driver version and OS release:

modinfo driver_nameDisplays driver version for the specified driver
modinfo enicDisplays the Ethernet driver for the Cisco VIC adapter
modinfo fnicDisplays the FC NIC driver for the Cisco VIC adapter
modinfo megaraid_sasDisplays the LSI MegaRAID driver version
lsmod -lLists currently-loaded drivers in the kernel
cat /etc/redhat-releaseShows the Redhat release
cat /etc/SuSE-releaseShows the SUSE release

Tip:  Refer to the Driver Name Reference Table located in the Appendix for examples of other common driver names. 

This example shows that an ENIC driver version of is installed on Redhat Enterprise Linux Release 6.2. 

Install the Driver

Drivers in Redhat and SuSE Linux are installed with the Redhat Package Manager (RPM). Use this command in order to install the driver:

rpm -ihv driver-name.rpm

Tip:  When you install drivers in Linux, ensure that you review the README files associated with the driver. These are located in the same directory as the driver file. Some RPM driver packages have dependencies on other modules, and require installation of additonal RPM packages. The README files contain full instructions on how to install the driver file. 


Driver Name Reference Table

This table shows the driver names or prefixes for common drivers.

enicCisco VIC Ethernet NIC
fnicCisco VIC FC NIC 
qle or qlaQlogic adapter
lpfcEmulex HBA (light pulse)
be2netEmulex Ethernet NIC
igb or ixgbeIntel NICs
bnxBroadcom adapter
megaraidLSI MegaRAID  

Related Information

Updated: Sep 06, 2013
Document ID: 116349