Last updated on June 9th, 2020
VMware vSphere ESXi is a hypervisor that has been around since the year 2009 when VMware released ESX 4. The hypervisor has matured over the years with multiple feature enhancements. We are currently at VMware vSphere ESXi version 7.
The VMware vSphere ESXi hypervisor provides a layer of virtualization that abstract the physical server's hardware resources like the CPU, memory, network, and storage, and allocates them to multiple virtual machines.
VMware vSphere Hypervisor is available for purchase with vSphere or can be downloaded as a free version for testing or to cover basic needs in small business. It can be installed on the server’s local hard disks, USB devices, SAN LUNs, SD cards, and diskless hosts.
How to Install ESXi vSphere Hypervisor 6.7 on a Bare Metal Server.
In this article, we are going to review the steps you will need to follow to install VMware vSphere ESXi on a bare metal server successfully. Below is a summary of the steps we will be going through:
Step 1. Verify hardware compatibility before installing vSphere ESXi Hypervisor.
This is probably the most critical step, and it will save you a lot of troubleshooting pain if followed. If skipped, you may be unable to install ESXi, or you may encounter some significant issues in case you are running ESXi on incompatible hardware. VMware also will not be able to support you if your ESXi is running on hardware that is not supported
To verify your server’s compatibility, go to VMware Compatibility Guide and select the options that match your server.
1. Select the ESXi version you wish to install on your server.
2. Choose your server vendor under partner name. You can select any additional options to filter the results.
3. Click update results to view a list of all supported configurations under the options you have selected.
Step 2. Download the ESXi vSphere Hypervisor 6.7 image.
Once we have confirmed the ESXi version supported on our server, we will proceed to download the image we are going to use for the installation.
1. Custom ESXi Images: These are provided by most hardware manufacturers like HP, DELL, CISCO, and Lenovo. These images have software and drivers specific to the hardware. If you are installing ESXi on a branded bare metal server, then this is the option you should opt for during your installation.
Below are links to custom images for some of the common hardware manufacturers:
- HP – https://www.hpe.com/emea_europe/en/servers/hpe-esxi.html
- Lenovo – https://vmware.lenovo.com/content/custom_iso/
- Dell – https://www.dell.com/support/article/us/en/04/sln288152/how-to-download-the-dell-customized-esxi-embedded-iso-image?lang=en#2
- Cisco – https://software.cisco.com/download/home/286305798/type/286312290/release/6.5.U1patch2
2. VMware ESXi Image: This can be downloaded from VMware’s website * (you have to create a VMware account), and can be used for a nested environment or any hardware without a custom image.
* Note: If you want to convert the vSphere ESXi Evaluation License (after the 60-days trial period) to Free, record the VMware vSphere Hypervisor 6 License key.
3. How to Setup vSphere ESXi Hypervisor 6.7 on your Bare Metal Server.
Once we have copied/burned our ESXi image to our installation media, we can finally proceed with the installation.
1. Power on your server and press the corresponding 'Boot options' function key (Fn).
2. Attach and select the ESXi installation media (USB or DVD) as the boot device.
At this example, we have selected the CD-ROM Drive, since we are going to perform the installation from DVD.
3. At the first screen that appears after booting, press Enter.
4. The ESXi installer will start…
5. Once the installer loads, you will get the following prompt. Click Enter to continue.
6. Accept the license agreement by clicking F11.
7. On the next screen, you will be prompted to choose a disk for installing ESXi. Select the disk and press Enter to continue. *
1. If you server supports RAID, then you have to configure the RAID before the installation. If not, you can cancel the installation, configure RAID and start over.
2. If you have SAN volumes, they will also be discovered and can be used as the installation disk. USB drives will also be available for use in this step.
8. Select your keyboard layout then click Enter to continue.
9. Type a password for the root account* and then click Enter.
* Note: Password must be at least 7 characters long and a combination of normal and capital letters, symbols and numbers
10. ESXi is now ready to start the installation. Click F11 to install ESXi.
11. You will then see the following progress screen, which should take 2 – 5 minutes to complete.
12. When the installation is done, remove the installation media and click Enter to reboot.
13. When the VMware ESXi host machine starts, notice the IP address of the VMware ESXi server. If you have DHCP configured on your network, then your ESXi server will be assigned an IP automatically. If there is no DHCP available on your network, or if you want to assign the IP Address manually:
a. Click F2 for the login screen.
b. After clicking F2, you will be required to enter the root password which we set during the installation. Type your password and click Enter.
c. From the available options select: Configure Management Network
d. Click Network adapters and then select the network adapter that you want to use and to change its IP Address, by clicking the spacebar.
e. Confirm that the status for the adapter is showing "Connected", then click Enter.
e. Then select IPv4 Configuration.
f. By using the Up/Down arrows (keys) navigate to Set static IPv4 address and Network Configuration, and press the spacebar to select it.
g. Enter the IP address, subnet and the gateway for your network and click Enter.
h. Then select DNS configuration, to configure the DNS and the hostname for our ESXi server.
i. Enter the IP Address of your DNS server(s) and change the hostname for your ESXi server (if you want). When done click Enter.
k. Finally click ESC key to exit. You will receive a prompt for applying changes and restarting the management network. Click Y.
14. Your ESXi host is now ready for use. Open a browser from another computer on your network and type the IP Address of the ESXi host server to manage it.
Addition Help: If you purchased the ESXi vShere and you want to assign your license, or if you want to convert the ESXi evaluation license to free:
1. Go to Manage -> Licensing and then click Assign license.
2. Copy and paste the vSphere Hypervisor 6 License key and click Check License
3. Finally click Assign License
Let me know if this guide has helped you by leaving your comment about your experience. Please like and share this guide to help others.