Download all the VMware vSphere 5.5 pieces to get your home lab started

Posted by Paul Braren on Sep 22 2013 (updated on Oct 1 2013) in
  • ESXi
  • Virtualization
  • It has come to my attention that this article needs a refresh, since the download procedures have changed. Until such an article refresh (based on Update 1) is available, these 3 new download links work great, detailed at TinkerTry right here:
    Download ESXi 5.5 Update 1 and the other vSphere pieces to get your home lab started Mar 12 2014.

    Original article below:

    To get started with your own vSphere 5.5 home lab, you'll find that there's just 3 files you'll need to download. Navigating VMware's site can be tricky. This article gives you the exact URLs, to help you be absolutely sure you got all the right bits and pieces, before you get started with installing anything.

    These release notes cover 3 products, with the 2 you''ll need to get started on a typical home lab bolded. The vCenter Server download that I'm ignoring in this post is more for folks that wish to install vCenter manually on top of a Windows Server, now a bit old school, since the VCSA (VMware vCenter Server Appliance) has come so far in scale and capabilities, and speed of deployment. You don't need to know Linux at all to configure and use it, as I demonstrate on video here. See also configuration maximums.

    VMware ESXi™ 5.5 | 22 SEPT 2013 | Build 1331820
    VMware vCenter Server™ 5.5 | 22 SEPT 2013 | Build 1312298
    vCenter Server Appliance 5.5 | 22 SEPT 2013 | Build 1312297

    Plenty of time to read the release notes during the download of those 3 files, which total 2.38GB in all, pictured above. If you have a slower connection, you may prefer to chose the Akamai DLM option for all the downloads, explained here.

    1) Download VMware vSphere Hypervisor (ESXi) 5.5.0 Build 1331820

    Visit this site, and click the Download button:

    VMware vSphere Hypervisor 5.5 - Binaries

    You're then challenged to login with credentials. Choose new or existing account, because either way, all these downloads listed below are available for free. Licensing is a separate issue.

    Once you've logged in, you'll see the download buttons, the one you want is the first item listed.

    Here's the details of the file, and the link to the product page:
    VMware vSphere Hypervisor 5.5.0, Release Date 2013-09-22 ESXi ISO image (Includes VMware Tools), File size: 326MB


    2) Download VCSA (VMware vCenter Server Appliance - OVA File) 5.5.0 Build 1312297*

    ‘VMware End User License Agreement’ click ‘Accept’.

    Visit this site:
    and authenticate, then Accept the VMware End User License Agreement, as seen at right. You'll need this appliance to have access to many of the ESXi 5.5 specific features that are only accessible by pointing your browser to this appliance, aka, vSphere Web Client. This is how you'll be able to try the new and interesting stuff, seen here.

    All you need is the one 5.5.0 OVA file with "vCenter Server Appliance" in the name.

    VMware vCenter Server Appliance – OVA File

    The site won't allow direct links to the individual "Download" button, but all the other appliance-related files are bundled inside the OVA file, kindly pointed out by TinkerTry commenter Squuiid here (and article updated accordingly 09:48am ET 9-23-2013).

    VMware vCenter Server Appliance - OVA File File size: 1.8GB

    *As of Jan 25 2014, this has been replaced by 5.5.0b available from a new download URL, but all these instructions remain essentially unchanged:

    3) Download VMware vSphere Client 5.5.0 Build 1281650

    Visit this URL, it's a direct link to the installer EXE:
    VMware vSphere Client File size: 348 MB (or, shortened for easy sharing,

    Save VMware-viclient-all-5.5.0-1281650.exe

    You still need this C# Windows 32 bit program to initially configure your ESXi host, and to deploy the appliance ("File, Deploy OVF Template"), but after that, not so much. This is the same exact link to the actual EXE from VMware's site that you get when you click on the "Download vSphere Client" button upon pointing your browser straight to your ESXi host. No authentication is required, can be downloaded at any time.

    Use the Windows Explorer screenshot above as your guide, to determine if you got the correct 3 files.

    You are now ready, congratulations! You have the same exact ESXi as seen on Sep 20 2013 here, Wow, is that a 62TB drive in my home lab?

    You may wonder, what about the Client Integration Plug-In in the vSphere Web Client? Well, that bit of code will be coming straight from your VCSA on your local network, once you've got the appliance up and running. Thankfully, the vSphere Web Client is now a decent performer, especially when run off a SATA3 SSD, as seen on the TinkerTry YouTube Channel. Not something I'd dare say about 5.1, which was pretty much intolerable. Phew!

    What's next? I will be creating a step-by-step 5.5 installation/configuration guide with video at soon. It will be an updated version of the original hit (based on a slightly earlier build) Build your own VMware vSphere Datacenter in under an hour with the free ESXi 5.5 hypervisor. See also Superguide: VMware vSphere.

    Oct 01 2013 Update:
    For a comprehensive, step by step guide to the entire process, see also the more thorough, newer article here:
    Build your own VMware vSphere 5.5 Datacenter with ESXi and VCSA by Paul Braren on Sep 30 2013.