Installing ESXi6 on VMware Workstation 11 – part 1

In my job I spend most of my days on-site with customers or in a classroom teaching for VMware. I have found it convenient to carry my lab with me. I have a laptop with a quad core i7, 32 GB of RAM and 1 TB combined of SSD and Hybrid drives. The laptop running VMware Workstation has made an effective mobile lab. AS it stands now, I have windows 2008 R2 and 2012 R2 domain controllers configured to provide AD, DNS, DHCP and CA services. Additionally I have a MS SQL 2012 server and vCenter 6 server. In this article I am going to go through the process I followed to deploy an ESXi 6 VM.

Creating a new VM for ESXi 6

File > New Virtual Machine
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Select Custom and click Next >.

I chose Workstation 11.0 as the VM hardware compatibility level.
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Click Next >.

On the Guest OS Installation page, browse to your ESXi 6 ISO.
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Click Next >. Notice that The OS was detected! If we chose I will install the operating system later, the next page in the wizard select ESX Server and VMware vSphere 2015 Beta for the version.

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On the Name the Virtual Machine page, enter your desired virtual machine name and verify the location. On my machine, I store my VMs on a separate drive.
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Click Next.

On the processor configuration page, I chose the preselected default of 2 CPUs with one core each.
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Click Next.

On the Memory for the Virtual Machine page, I kept the default of 4096 MB.
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Click Next.

On the Network Type page, I selected Use host only networking so that the VM would get an IP address with existing management VM DHCP server and use the private DNS and AD that are already configured on a private vmnet.
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Click Next.
Accept the default selection of the LSI Logic adapter.
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Click Next.

On the Select a Disk Type page, accept the default disk type of SCSI.
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Click Next.

On the Select a Disk page, accept the default: Create a new virtual disk.
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Click Next.

On the Specify Disk Capacity page, I took the defaults. I could have lowered the size to 5GB and still met the recommended minimum disk size for ESXi 6. Additionally, I kept the default Split virtual disk into multiple files.
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Click Next.

On the Specify Disk File page, accept the suggested file name (<VM display name>.vmdk).
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Click Next.

On the Ready to Create Virtual Machine page, I select Customize Hardware… so I can configure the VM’s NIC connection for the specific private vmnet I use for accessing management VMs and infrastructure services.
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On the VM’s Hardware page, I selected the CD/DVD device, then under Device status, I removed the check from the Connect at power on so I could power on the VM without starting the deployment of ESXi. This allows me to get the MAC address that is assigned to the VM’s NIC so that I can configure a DHCP reservation and the associated DNS A and PTR records.

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Click OK.

I select the Network Adapter from the device list. In the Network connection section, I select Custom then selected VMnet2 from the list (because my management systems are on VMnet2). Note that the Device status shows a checkmark for Connect at power on.

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Click Close.

Back on the Ready to Create Virtual Machine, I deselected Power on this virtual machine after creation so I could look at the contents of the .vmx file.
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Click Finish.

Browse to the location of the ESXi6.vmx file and open it for editing. (VMware KB 1714- Tips for editing a .vmx file)

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Notice that the .vmx file already contains the vhv.enable = “TRUE” setting required to run 64-bit VMs in the nested ESXi host. Previously this required a manual addition to the file (VMware KB 2034803 – Installing ESXi in VMware Workstation).

Close the .VMX file, then power on the virtual machine.

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After powering on the VM, I reopened the .vmx file and recorded the MAC address – called “ethernet0.generatedAddress”:esxi6-20

Then I opened up my Windows DHCP server console and created a new DHCP reservation:esxi6-21
Configured lease:
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Then I created the DNS records

New Host record:
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Check the reverse lookup record:
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Back in the virtual machine settings, select the CD/DVD and check the box next to Connect at power on so the ISO image will be mounted when we power the VM back on.

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That is it for part 1!. Next is the install and configuration of a ESXi 6

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