Loss of network interfaces after applying CentOS kernel 2.6.18-308.4.1 on ESXi 4.1 Update 2

One of our hosting company requires us to keep up to date with RHEL 5 kernels on a server they support. As this is a production machine it means that when a new kernel is available I start applying it to development machines and migrate the upgrade through to production over a period of 3-4 weeks.

 

The first stage of testing is to apply the kernel on various ESXi hosted VMs and a couple of real servers, most of which run CentOS 5. The most recent kernel 2.6.18-308.4.1 seems to work OK, but on all of the ESXi hosts there seems to be an issue with the virtual network interfaces. In all cases I use the VMXNET 3 adapter type. The hosts are running ESXi 4.1 Update 2 with a number of HP provided bundles.

 

After the application of the updates and the subsequent reboot, only the local loopback network interface starts up. I’ve seen various suggestions as to what may be the cause but I can’t comment on those. To fix the issue, my initial test was to re-install the VMWare Tools which seems to do the trick. Having got that far, on a different guest I tried just rerunning vmware-config-tools.pl. That seems to solve the problem immediately (just restart the network service). The fix appears to be persistent across a reboot.

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