An Engineers Notebook

Installing an ESXi host on VMWareworkstation

The ESXi operating system will not install on just any machine. Your machine must meet some minimum requirements so before you try this on your home laptop make sure your laptop has got at least the following:

CPU: Must be 64bit and support hyper threading.


Storage: SSD (Solid state hard drive) or at very least a hybrid drive.

Installing ESXi

1. Create a new VM and select custom on the first page, not Typical.

2. Select the newest version of hardware compatibility

3. Select “I will install the operating system later”.

4.Select VMWare ESX

5. Name the machine and save it to your fastest storage drive. When you run multiple VMs they will all be competing for the use of your single disk. This disk will struggle to run even with an SSD in a lab environment. Also, your machine will take up a lot of space. Make sure you have at least 100GB to have a decent play with ESXi.

6. Selecting CPU settings – Keep it simple. If your installing two ESXi VM’s, I’d set this to once CPU per VM. Remember that these hosts will be then sharing out that CPU to its host machines. If you’re installing more than one ESXi its not a good idea to let both ESI hosts use all of your CPUs – it’ll likly slow down your host machine which will in-turn hange all of the other VMs running.

7. RAM – Do the math – This is up to you but it goes without saying the more your physical host has the better. I say physical host because if you ramp up the RAM on your ESXi hosts too much you’ll starve your host and this will effect the whole system. Here is an example.

16GB for a single ESXi is easy, just move the slider right to the “Maximum reccomended memory“. However if you have two ESXi hosts or more I’d look at the maximum reccomended memory for the first ESXi host and divide that figure between your ESXi hosts. So if its 9912MB between two ESXi hosts, assign them 4956MB each. If you go over this the physical host will choke and you’ll be sat there a long time when things lock up. The minimum you should ever try to give an ESXi host is 4GB (in my experiance it will not even install without this amount).

8.Networking – I’d reccommend as this is a lab environment to assign host only.

9. Select the default controller type.

10. Select SUSI

11. Select a disk – Create a new virtual disk. You could select a physical disk here if you have a free disk to dedicate but most people don’t have one. If you do, great do it! It’ll speed things up dramatically if can dedicate a disk to an entire ESXi host.

12. Specify Disk Capacity – You can just choose the default here, but for speed the best option would be

a. Size – as much as you can afford to allocate.

b Enable the “Allocate all disk space now” chackbox.

c. Select “Store virtual disk as a single file”. This will reduce I/O time on the disk

12. Name the file

13. Now right click on the VM and go to settings – Select the ESXi ISO as the source for your CD/DVD drive. (Note: The ISO file must be local on your machine and note selected from a network share or the install will fail)

14. Add any additional hardware you need for your lab. Typically ESXi hosts need two NICs for every network they will be connected to so you’ll need anything from 4+ NICs. Remember to consider your DHCP needs. VMWare Workstation will do DHCP for you, but if you plan to add a DC as on your ESXi host with DHCP you’ll need to configure this accordingly.

Once installed the
ESXi host needs to have its network configuration amended for the planned


Check in Network
Adapters to make sure that all the expected NICs are present.

IPv6 can be disabled
here if it’s not needed for the management console to connect in.

DNS should be
configure manually to ensure the correct server is used.


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