Citrix Netscaler VPX Boot Failure on ESX 3.5

We use Citrix Netscalers for web application security and acceleration. In order to test some things before a deployment of some new Netscalers we wanted to test then using Citrix's Netscaler VPX virtual appliance (http://www.citrix.com/netscalerVPX).

Since we currently run ESX 3.5 as our main virtualization solution I had to convert the downloaded VPX virtual appliance from the standard OVF type to a VMX type that ESX 3.5 could import using VMware's OVFTool (http://communities.vmware.com/community/vmtn/vsphere/automationtools/ovf). The conversion and import went fine and I booted the VPX, setup the Netscaler management IP and then attempted to login at the console with the default VPX username and password and the login failed.

Examining the boot messages closer showed that the nsnetsvc service faulted with a Signal 6. Further examination showed that the OS found no NICs (network interface cards). That is why the network services were faulting and not being started.

Here are the relevant lines from the VPX boot screen:


Netscaler: nspe_init failed at (numunits < 1+LOmaxUNITS+LAmaxUNITS), code 1: no NICs
Sep 16 10:00:00 ns nsnetsvc: The NSAPI_INITPE ioctl failed
Sep 16 10:00:00 ns nsnetsvc: BOOT FAILURE: One or more packet engines failed to start
pid 236 (nsnetsvc), uid 0: exited on signal 6 (core dumped)

We imported a VPX into a vSphere 4.0 server a couple of months ago and everything worked just fine.

On a hunch I tried forcing the virtual network cards in the VPX virtual machine to be Intel E1000 by adding the following lines to the vmx file:


ethernet0.virtualDev = "e1000"
ethernet1.virtualDev = "e1000"

That did the trick. For some reason the VMware OVFTool didn't set the virtual device type to be E1000 and the Netscaler VPX doesn't have the proper kernel modules for the standard VMware virtual NIC.

So make sure your virtual NICs are E1000.

Later,
Flux.

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