To deploy VMware Cloud Foundation (VCF), your physical or virtual ESXi host must have at least two network adaptors to be able to migrate to Distributed Virtual Switch (VDS), which is configured as part of the VCF Bringup process. While you can technically migrate to a VDS with just a single network adaptor using this trick, it is definitely easier if you have a system that meets this basic requirement.
Earlier this year, I demonstrated that you can deploy VCF using just an Intel NUC with only 64GB of memory, which would be the minimum to run single node VCF Management Domain, however it does not leave you with much room for running other workloads due to pushing the memory limits.
The ASUS PN64-E1 is currently one of my top favorite small form factor kits, especially being able to support up 96GB of memory using the new non-binary DDR5 memory modules. After the release of VCF 5.1, I wanted to use the ASUS PN64-E1 for a VCF deployment, but there was only one problem ... my particular configuration of the PN64-E1 only had a single network adaptor!
I thought I could out smart the VCF Bringup pre-check by using a USB network adaptor and installing the popular USB Network Native Driver for ESXi 😉
However, it turns out the pre-check is looking for PCIe-based network adaptors, so while the system does have two network adaptors, it still failed the pre-check and prevented the deployment from continuing. I ended up reaching out some of the VCF Engineers to see if there were any workarounds and he was kind enough to provide me with a nice workaround that would benefit our users looking to play and explore VCF in a lab environment.
Disclaimer: This is not officially supported by Broadcom, use at your own risk.