ESXi supports booting from FCoE capable network adapters.

Only NICs with partial FCoE offload support the boot capabilities with the software FCoE. If you use the NICs without FCoE offload, the software FCoE boot is not supported.

When you install and boot ESXi from an FCoE LUN, the host can use a VMware software FCoE adapter and a network adapter with FCoE capabilities. The host does not require a dedicated FCoE HBA.

You perform most configurations through the option ROM of your network adapter. The network adapters must support one of the following formats, which communicate parameters about an FCoE boot device to VMkernel.
  • FCoE Boot Firmware Table (FBFT). FBFT is Intel propriety.
  • FCoE Boot Parameter Table (FBPT). FBPT is defined by VMware for third-party vendors to implement a software FCoE boot.

The configuration parameters are set in the option ROM of your adapter. During an ESXi installation or a subsequent boot, these parameters are exported in to system memory in either FBFT format or FBPT format. The VMkernel can read the configuration settings and use them to access the boot LUN.