This is a basic overview document, highlighting the steps that I walk you right through in the accompanying video below. The video features my live recording last week, as I was preparing the fresh server for a virtualization conference I was flying to later that same day. The video is a bit casual, and somewhat rough around the edges. There's even a ESXi Host Client HTML5 UI bug that bites me in the middle. Worry not, despite the minor glitch, you will learn some stuff, and the install and initial configuration procedure is quite straight forward, especially if this isn't your first ESXi install, and/or your first time using the HTML5 client.
SuperServer Bundles owners haven't been asking me any questions about how to install ESXi on this system because it's quite simple, especially now that the days of fiddling with CDs/DVDs burners are well behind us.
- a workstation or laptop with a browser and an OS, such as Linux or Windows
- a Supermicro SuperServer with an Intel Xeon D-1500 processor, such as the Xeon D-1540 based SYS-5028D-TN4T Bundle 2 featured in the video below
- the ISO file you'll be using to install from, already downloaded from VMware, such as
featured in the video below
- a USB thumb drive to install to, such as the SanDisk Ultra Fit featured in the video below, included with any SuperServer Bundle
- at least one available hard drive or SSD, for VMware's VMFS filesystem where your VMs will live, such as the insanely fast Samsung 950 PRO M.2 NVMe
since you have that nifty IPMI management feature, you don't need
- a monitor attached directly to the server
- a keyboard attached directly to the server
- a mouse attached directly to the server, see also
Little secret those new to virtualization often miss - ESXi 6.0 continues to be mostly headless, just as it was for all prior VMware hypervisor releases
- use your browser to connect to your SuperServer's IPMI management features using your browser (the IP address that you point your browser to is displayed if you temporarily connect a VGA monitor, shortly after power on)
- launch the Remote Console feature, aka, iKVM, the Java (or soon HTML5) based view of the SuperServer itself
- enter BIOS Configuration and configure it for UEFI, as described in detail here, note, if you bought a SuperServer Bundle, you can skip this step, since you have a turn-key solution that's ready for ESXi as-is
- click the iKVM Virtual Media menu option
- click the iKVM Virtual Storage menu option
- change Logical Drive Type to ISO File
- click Open Image to navigate to your ESXi installation ISO file, such as
- click the Plug in button, then the OK button
- click the Power Control to restart the server
- press F11 to invoke Boot Menu
- from the Please select boot device menu, select UEFI: SanDisk then press Enter
- proceed with a normal ESX installation
- from the Select a Disk to Install or Upgrade menu, choose
SanDisk Ultra Fit (mpx.vmhba32:C0:T0:L0) (or similar)
- when prompted to Remove the installation disc before rebooting, click the iKVM Virtual Media / Virtual Storage menu option, then click the Plug Out button then click OK
- you may now hit Enter to Reboot
- once the newly installed ESXi is booted off USB, it will show you the hostname or IP address that you can point your browser to, then type root and the password you configured during install
- now that you're authenticated, click on the Open the VMware Host Client seen at the top left of the VMware ESXi Welcome page, which launches the new HTML5 interface of VMware's future, all the basic features needed to format a datastore and create your first VMs are there for you
You may notice that I get briefly tripped up at the 29 minute and 47 second mark, where hitting F2 to Customize System doesn't work as expected. Easy to fix, I just need to change iKVM's default keyboard mappings.
The rest of the video goes through me setting up the clock/NTP, uploading some ISO files for VM installs, and creating a Windows 10 VM Template.
Once you get ESXi 6.0U2 squared away, perhaps you're also planning on installing vCSA (vCenter Server Appliance). If so, check out this popular article/video:
- Announcing THE video "How to build your awesome virtualization home lab with VMware vSphere 6.0 (ESXi & vCSA)"
- World's fastest consumer SSD - Samsung 950 PRO M.2 NVMe benchmark results
- Home Lab fundamentals: Time Sync
June 03 2016 by Frank Denneman at frankdenneman.nl