ESXi Installation- For beginners (Acquire Hardware, Software – Install and experiment)

Goal : With a bare minimum understanding of  OS, Hardware, and Virtual Machine  create  functional  Virtual Machine environment for testing, learning and experiment   with  ESXi.

Audience:: Anybody enthusiastic  about  ESXi,   who has  minimum  OS,Hardware knowledge , time and a bit of money to spend

ESXi is a wonderful and powerful product.   Let  us take  a close look on how  to install it  from the  scratch. The idea  here is to examine all steps needed  to get an ESXi installed system  right  from identifying the  suitable hardware. ESXi  may be working on any hardware  I suppose. However to  avoid   spending  time on investigating  unknown issues that arises  from HW compatibility , it  is a good idea  to get one the  certified  server.(Many such  ESXi certified models are available in ebay (also in some  local craiglist listings) .

(1)So step 1 is  obviously identifying a suitable  Hardware.(  For  testing purpose the best cost effective  way is to  procure a  used  server .)One can  search for compatible hardware  using the following Link . Screen shot of  a sample search result is shown below.  Here I just checked  for  DELL  poweredge R210 servers  as they are the low cost options  available  for  reasonably good rack mounts  from DELL. The ESXi support  tables shows it supports  for various versions, older models of DELL poweredge servers. some of these servers  like poweredge 2950 are available  in second hand market for  amount less than five hundred bucks.

(Step 2) Once   decided  on hardware model and it is purchased next step  is  to get  the   Software (ESXi).Go to

Select ESXi.  (Then import  look for the right version  you need  (based on hardware and any other specific feature  requirement, Sample screenshot below )



Step 3:  Once the  Hardware and Software is procured   next step is to  install the ESXi software  on the  hardware  and make it host of  several virtual machines.  Avery good reference of the ESXi  installation best practices are  available in the following page   from VMware.  This  has  links to various pages that list   compatibility /certification of various hardware pieces  like  CPU, Memory,NICs  etc.

Next step is to get  a bootable media  for  ESXi. By burning the ISO image to a DVD and attaching this media  to  the server,  it is all set to boot  from the ESXi for its installation.


A Step by step Screen shot of  ESXi 5.5   installation is  available in the following link.  I just followed the steps   below . The detailed Instructions  and screen shots  make this installation really easy to follow.

Next step is to create VMs (Guest).

The Beauty of VM environments (especially ESXi ) is  it allows  to   run huge range of guest OS.

There is a compatibility search  Tool available in the following tool.

I is interesting to know that even  MAC OS  is supported on ESXi.


Detailed   example of  creating a VM is available in the below Link. This can be used as  reference when creating the VM of  choice

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