Microsoft Virtualization

How to install VMware's ESXi hypervisor on bare-metal hardware

This walk-through will show you how to install VMware's ESXi hypervisor on bare-metal hardware for the purpose of hosting client-based virtual machines.

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Utilizing virtualization technology, businesses are taking steps to shrink their infrastructure and carbon footprints by consolidating their existing physical servers into VMs that are hosted on higher density hardware supporting dozens of CPUs and hundreds of gigabytes and terabytes of RAM and disk storage.

While many solutions are available to enable virtualization of multiple systems, VMware's hypervisor, known as vSphere, is arguably the industry standard for hosting and managing VMs in a centralized, cost-effective model for businesses of any scale.

SEE: VMware vSphere: The smart person's guide (TechRepublic)

In this article, we'll cover the installation of the hypervisor on bare-metal hardware in order to host VMs. Here's a list of requirements necessary to accomplish this task:

Requirements

  • VMware ESXi installer (optical media-based or USB flash drive)
  • Server hardware (VMware-certified is highly recommended but not required)
  • Keyboard
  • Mouse
  • Monitor
  • Internet access (optional but highly recommended)

Installation

First, power on your server and boot to the installation media (Figure A).

Figure A

After the files have been loaded, the VMware ESXi screen will appear and the files will be initialized (Figure B).

Figure B

If you haven't already checked your server's compatibility, now would be a good time to do so, prior to furthering the installation process. Once verified, press Enter (Figure C).

Figure C

Then, press F11 to accept the EULA (Figure D).

Figure D

Before installing the hypervisor, a system scan will enumerate the hardware installed on the server and locate a drive to install ESXi to (Figure E).

Figure E

Press Enter to proceed (Figure F).

Figure F

On the next screen, select the keyboard layout that pertains to your desired language (Figure G).

Figure G

Press Enter to select and confirm the password for the root account used to manage the ESXi installation later (Figure H).

Figure H

Next, confirm the install on the selected disk by pressing F11, which will repartition the disk as well, and installation will commence (Figure I and Figure J).

Figure I

Figure J

Depending on the configuration of the computer and speed of the hardware components installed in the server, the installation should complete within several minutes. A confirmation message will appear onscreen requesting that the user remove the installation media and press Enter to reboot the server (Figure K).

Figure K

After it boots, VMware will load on the server and obtain an IP address from DHCP or may be manually configured from the server itself (Figure L).

Figure L

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