VMWare ESXi 5.1.0 breaks PCI Passthrough (Update: fixed in ESXi510-201212001)

After I upgraded to VMWare ESXi 5.1.0, my server crashed with a purple screen of death as soon as I fired up a VM that was using a passed-through PCI device (1244:0e00, an AVM GmbH Fritz!Card PCI v2.0 ISDN (rev 01)).I have been running the original version of ESXi 5.0.0 for a year and everything worked fine. In fact, I have never ever seen such a purple screen of death.

VMware ESXi 5.1.0 [Releasebuild-799733 x86_64]
#PF Exception 14 in world 4077:vmx IP 0x418039cf095c addr 0xl4
cr0=0x80010031 cr2=0x14 cr3=0x15c0d6000 cr4=0x42768
Frame=0x41221fb5bc00 ip=0x418039cf095c err=0 rflags=0x10202
rax=0x0 rbx=0x10 rcx=0x417ff9f084d0
rdx=0x41000168e5b0 rbp=0x41221fb5bcd8 rsi=0x41000168ee90
rdi=0x417ff9f084d0 r8=0x0 r9=0x1
r10=0x3ffd81972a9 r11=0x0 r12=0x41221fb5bd58
r13=0x41000168e350 r14=0xB r15=0x0
Code start: 0x418039a00000 VMK uptime: 0:00:06:21.499
0x41221fb5bcd8:[0x418039cf095c]PCI_GetExtCapIdx@vmkernel#nover+0x2b stack: 0x41221fb5bd38
0x41221fb5bd48:[0x418039abadd2]VMKPCIPassthru_GetPCIInfo@vmkernel#nover+0x335 stack: 0x29000030e001
0x41221fb5beb8:[0x418B39ea2c51]UW64VMKSyscallUnpackPCIPassthruGetPCIInfo@<None>#<None>+0x28 stack:
0x41221fb5bef8:[0x4l8039e79791]User_LinuxSyscallHandler@<None>#<None>+0x17c stack: 0x418039a4cc70
0x41221fb5bf18:[0x4l8039aa82be]User_LinuxSyscallHandler@vmkernel#nover+0x19 stack: 0x3ffd8197490
0x41221fb5bf28:[0x418039b10064]gate_entry@vmkernel#nover+0x63 stack: 0x10b
base fs=0x0 gs=0x418040c00000 Kgs=0x0
Coredump to disk. Slot 1 of 1.
Finalized dump header (9/9) DiskDunp: Successful.
Debugger waiting(world 4077) -- no port for remote debugger. "Escape" For local debugger.

Turns out that is a bug in ESXi. Luckily, downgrading an ESXi is simple enough: just hit Shift-R at the boot prompt and tell it to revert to the previous version.

Update: Patch ESXi510-201212401-BG in version ESXi510-201212001 (build 914609), released on December 20th, fixes the PCI passthrough issue (PR924167) according to KB2039030.

14 thoughts on “VMWare ESXi 5.1.0 breaks PCI Passthrough (Update: fixed in ESXi510-201212001)

  1. Blake W

    You sir, are a god send. I was setting up a ESXi server and was extremely disapointed to find my Ceton PCIe Tuner was not passing through on guest boot just like above. Turns out, this was the issue. THANK YOU!

  2. tj

    Has anyone heard about a possible fix for the PCI passthrough issue?

    Thank you,

  3. Sebastian

    Just wanted to confirm that the PCI Passthrough Bug is really gone with the latest patch 5.1.0a. I had purple screen of death before, now it works.

  4. Rob

    @Sebastian, just want to say thanks for the feedback! Very helpfull, I think it is going to be a long christmas eve 🙂

  5. jared

    usb host controller passthrough still not available, even with the latest patch ESXi510-201212401-BG

  6. fdsa

    same problem here, after latest patches, usb passtrough wont work 🙁

  7. Brett

    Just entering my email address to this post, in case I, or anyone else, figures out a solution to this…or, perhaps VMWare releases a fix.

  8. Nick

    PCI Passthrough works fine. Thank u4 pointing out that patch – how I hate that purple…

  9. Michael Kuron Post author

    I also finally got around to installing the patch today and can confirm that PCI passthrough works fine again now.

  10. Julien

    With the last pacth I have the same error My card PCIe will crash my ESXi
    TP-Link WDN4800

  11. Mind0Master1

    Still the same issue with PCI card TP-Link TL-WDN4800 (the latest patch installed build 1157734)
    ESXI crashes when I start VM(‘s) with the PCI device in pass-through.

  12. Fredrik

    I got the same problem with the TP-Link WDN4800. ESXi crashes every time i boot up a VM with it in pass through. I’m on ESXi v5.5.0 1331820

  13. Krischan

    Läuft die Fritz Card auch unter der 5.5er? Traue mich nach dem Debakel in dem 5.1er update nicht mehr auf 5.5 zu updaten!

  14. Michael Kuron Post author

    Ich habe im Frühjahr schon auf 5.5 upgedatet und die Fritz Card lief wunderbar. Seit gestern auf der aktuellsten 5.5u2 ebenfalls.

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