It's quite easy to run Windows Server 2012 Beta Essentials on ESXi 5.0 Update 1.
Here's the short version:
- if you're already at ESXi 5.0 Update 02, create a new VM, setting the OS type to "Windows Server 2008 R2 (64 bit)" for the install
(the Windows Server 8 (64 bit) setting won't work: it hangs on startup)
- when the install is complete, install VMware Tools (Typical), and reboot when prompted after the install
- install took about 4 minutes total, from start to finish, then the second part of the installation kicks off the server configuration, and creates a domain, taking another 10 minutes roughly.
Here's the longer, much more detailed version:
- If your version of ESXi doesn't already show as build 623860 (Update 1) or later, update first by following the instructions at: TinkerTry.com/vsphere-5-0-update-1-released
- Download of the Windows Server 2012 Beta Essentials ISO named:
at Microsoft Download Center:
- Upload the ISO to the ESXi datastore, using free Veeam FastSCP (6x faster) or vSphere Client Datastore Browser (slow)
- Next, follow along with the YouTube video I posted below, where basically, you're just telling the VM it's Windows Server 2008 R2 x64 you're installing, then installing VMware Tools.
Come back and refresh this page for more details and screenshots, more good stuff right over here:
Trying out a client backup and restore next...so far, acts and behaves very much like WHS2011, with the notable exception of the Domain/AD stuff, which makes the client connector install take much longer.
Here's a very similar install, of Windows Server 2012 Release Candidate: