Virtualization

Step-by-step: Installing ESXi as a virtual machine

Configure number of virtual CPUs, memory, network interfaces

The new virtual machine wizard will then prompt you to enter the number of virtual CPUs to assign, how much memory to provision, and how many network interfaces to assign to the virtual ESXi server. If any virtual machines of any significance are to be run on the virtual ESXi server, consider using 4 GB or more for the virtual machine's RAM configuration. Be sure to ensure that the LSI Logic Parallel option is selected for the disk controller.

Here is a tip that I use in my personal lab, for the virtual machines that are running on the virtual ESXi servers; I'm not too interested in what is running on those workloads. I'm more interested in vCenter features, ESXi configuration, cluster configuration, and other infrastructure features. I create a number of virtual machines that are very, very small. For example, many of them are 4 MB of RAM and are PXE boot virtual machines. These virtual machines are small and migrate very quickly with features such as vMotion. The only downside is that VMware Tools are not running on these virtual machines, so vSphere will not view the virtual machines as optimal. The resource savings are well worth it for testing purposes.

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10 comments
mic1235
mic1235

I have a VMware Desktop running on Windows 7 64 Bit with 10 GB of Ram. I have a Windows 2008 R2 Enterprise running and also Windows 2008 R2 Web Server. I also have Virtual Box installed and decided to load Chrome OS which did not impress me. I would like to get ESXi but it would not install for some reason can not remember error. The machine I am running this on is Dell M6400 Laptop, and I would like to maybe use and experiment with provisioning with a 2 TB external drive. Anybody have comments more the merrier. I am also going to read all comments to see where I might have made a mistake. Thanks.

dedwards1960
dedwards1960

Ok this is great I am learning so I can take my VCP. I have a problem with vmotion in this. I try to move a powered on vm to the other esxi system and I get errors. Windows XP Pro X86 192.168.10.15 Unable to access the virtual machine configuration: Unable to access file [datastore1] Windows XP Pro X86/Windows XP Pro X86.vmx , .vmdk and -5b075fb6.vswp Any help would be great.

gpachello
gpachello

I've a personal learning enviroment running ESXi and Hyper-V as guest machines over VirtualBox (host) and Windows 7 (x64). The hardware is based on Intel Core 2 Duo (VT) and 4 GB RAM. Regards. G.D.P.

rhino777
rhino777

Are you using local storage? You'll need some sort of shared storage for vmotion to work. Otherwise you'll have to power off the vm and do a cold migration if you're going from local to local storage.

franco.pinasco
franco.pinasco

Last year I was playing with this and I tried to install a virtual ESXi with VMServer running on Windows XP SP3. After tweaking the config file, the installation went very well and smooth. I had the ESXi running. But it was when I started using the vSphere client that I realised the poor performance it had. I created a couple of VMs over the virtual ESXi but they were literally useless to do anything with them. Maybe it was my hardware, not powerful enough. At the end of the day, its good for playing around and getting hands over the software, maybe to practice for the VCP, but thats about it. Anyway, good article.

b4real
b4real

Franco: That's why I do the 4 MB PXE boot VMs. They are useless, but still let me do the trick of configuring the host for all features.

garank
garank

As stated, this software is not meant to run inside another VM; it is designed to run on server grade host hardware. Running ESXi inside another VM is only good for checking out its features, not for harnessing its awesome power. Because the ESXi Hypervisor is free and not trialware, I have installed it on many servers as a way for small businesses to have multiple server OS's running out of one box. I also use it at my university to run domain controllers, database servers, and number crunching applications. The most exciting part about ESXi (to me) is that it only occupies 80 MB of hard drive space on the host hard drive, as apposed to 5GB for Windows Hyper-V. If you or your customer can only afford one physical server, ESXi is the way to go.

mic1235
mic1235

I am running on a M6400 Dell Intel Dual Core Duo with 10 GB of Ram I should be able to use it but I get an error maybe I will try again.

acb6401
acb6401

If you synchronise the time with an external time source you remove this issue. I've been running vm domain controllers for 3 years without any problems.

mark.levy
mark.levy

I've had problems in the past running domain controllers on VMware 1.0.5, running on top of Windows Server 2003. Specifically, there have been serious time sync problems, to the point where we had to decommission the DC and set up a new one on dedicated hardware. Have you had any problems like this with ESXi? Thanks! Mark