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.
PCMCIA and CardBus slots were universal and popular a decade ago, but the advent of PCI Express meant reengineering the old standby. The result was ExpressCard, a never-popular compromise that mixes PCI Express and USB into a confusing and little-used mashup. With few modern laptops including an ExpressCard slot and fewer users, a fair question to ask is “where did it all go wrong?”