As I mentioned in my previous post about Raspberry Pi power monitoring, I recently built a VMware vSphere “datacenter” from three Intel NUC mini PC’s. One limit of the NUC is that it has just one Ethernet port. But there’s a Mini PCIe slot inside the fourth-generation NUC that can be used to add a second Ethernet NIC!
I’m building a home/lab server to run a variety of workloads, but VMware ESX is chief among these. Sadly, VMware ESX is especially picky about network interface cards (NICs): Although many are supported, most are intended for servers and thus very expensive and difficult to find at retail. So I set out browsing through the VMware ESX HCL, Newegg, and Amazon to find the best network card for my home lab machine. Here’s what I’ve found out so far.