There are different ways to install the VMware ESXi 6.5 hypervisor. Today’s post will detail the traditional way of installing ESXi: via CD-ROM or ISO image. We will also walk you through the configuration steps, where the networking part is the most important.

You might want to know the other methods for installing ESXi 6.5. Where can you install ESXi 6.5 – to the local disk or elsewhere? In fact, there are five different ways to install and deploy VMware ESXi 6.5:

  1. Installation to a USB stick – the server boots from the USB stick.
  2. Installation to the local SATA/SAS or FC drive (RAID1)
  3. Installation to an SD flash card (certain hardware manufacturers provide a mirrored “double” slot)
  4. Boot from LUN via a hardware iSCSI card, FC or FCoE (fiber channel over Ethernet)
  5. Stateless booting via VMware auto-deployment

What do you need? Basically, two things:

  • A hardware device that is on the VMware hardware compatibility list (HCL)
  • An ESXi installation ISO, which you can download from the VMware website, and which you’ll burn to a CD-ROM

Depending on how you’ll connect a storage device to the host, you should have a server with at least two network cards: the first one for the management network and the second one for the storage network. I assume that you’re using either shared storage such as iSCSI storage array or network attached storage (NAS).

Step 1: Installation ^

After you have satisfied both requirements and you’re ready to go, set up your BIOS to boot from CD-ROM. The installer will present you with the following screen to get started:

The VMware ESXi 6.5 installer

The VMware ESXi 6.5 installer

The installer starts automatically within a few seconds.

Loading the VMware ESXi 6.5 installer

Loading the VMware ESXi 6.5 installer

So far, so good. The next screen says you can install ESXi 6.5 on pretty much everything, but only systems that are on the HCL are supported.

VMware ESXi 6.5 compatibility

VMware ESXi 6.5 compatibility

Hit Enter and continue with the installation. Accept the end-user license agreement (EULA) and hit the F11 key to continue. The next screen presents you with a choice of destination. Where do you want to install ESXi 6.5?

Installing to a local volume

Installing to a local volume

Make your choice, hit Enter and continue. The next screen will invite you to select a keyboard language and set up a root password. Root is a local account with all privileges; this is a required step. Make sure you pick the right language for your keyboard, as you’ll need to enter a complex password for the account.

Keyboard language and password

Keyboard language and password

Hit the F11 key once again to start the installer. It’ll take just a few minutes to install ESXi 6.5. It is a very lightweight product that needs only a few gb of space.

Start Installation

Start Installation

After a brief moment, you’ll see a screen asking you to eject the installation media and hit Enter to reboot the host. Now you can change the BIOS boot sequence back, though if the boot sequence is CD-ROM > Hard Disk, you’ll be fine.

Remove the installation media

Remove the installation media

We’re done with the installation. The next step will be configuration.

Step 2: Configuration. ^

Log in to the system first. You’ll need to be at the console.

Log in to configure ESXi

Log in to configure ESXi

Next, navigate with the down arrow key to select the “Configure Management Network” menu. Hit Enter to access the menu.

Network configuration

Network configuration

Check the network cards that the installer recognizes. Sometimes when you’re installing on non-certified hardware, the installer may have problems recognizing some network cards, so be aware of that.

Hit Enter to go one level deeper and see the network adapters, VLAN settings and the other network configuration options.

Network adapters

Network adapters

The next submenu allows you to connect or disconnect the network adapters you wish to use.

Connect or disconnect network adapters

Connect or disconnect network adapters

Let’s hit the Esc key to go back and configure our network settings.

IP configuration

IP configuration

Hit the Enter key to validate the selection. This will return us to the previous menu, one level higher. Use the arrow key to go down one step and disable the IPv6 configuration completely. Use the up arrow and Space keys to uncheck the selection.

Disable IPv6

Disable IPv6

Again, validate by hitting the Enter key to go one level higher. Then use the down arrow key again to move to the next menu: domain name server (DNS) configuration.

Quick note: You should create your forward and reverse DNS records on your DNS server before configuring the DNS here.

DNS configuration

DNS configuration

Hit Enter once more. We’re almost done.

DNS suffixes

DNS suffixes

Enter any suffixes required for your DNS. You’ll get a prompt to reboot, which will validate the configuration. Note that there is only single reboot necessary! And this is only because we disabled the IPv6 configuration. This means that if you left the IPv6 in place, you wouldn’t need to reboot ESXi 6.5, not even once.

Confirm and reboot

Confirm and reboot

Step 3: Connect to the host ^

We can connect to a single host two ways:

  • Via a traditional Windows C++ client (you’ll need to install it on your Windows workstation)
  • Via an HTML 5 web-based browser (no software to install)

I’m sure everyone’s familiar with the traditional Windows client, so let me show you the connection via an HTML5 web-based browser.

The URL to remember is:

https://fqdn_of_your_ESXi/ui

or

https://IP_of_your_ESXi/ui

ESXi web client

ESXi web client

Well, this is it. We have successfully configured our ESXi 6.5 hypervisor. You can start creating VMs on local storage or wait for one of our future posts where we’ll be configuring shared storage (iSCSI or NFS).

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In my next post I will explain how to deploy VMware vCenter (VCSA) 6.5

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4 Comments
  1. Lax 5 years ago

    Great article! Is is possible to connect to singe ESX host with Flash-based browser UI?

  2. Author

    Unfortunately no. The Flash-based UI is accessible only through vCenter server.

  3. Alexander Haase 4 years ago

    I followed the instruction "How to install and configure an ESXi 6.5 host", but after installing my System doesn`t find the Hard-Disk to boot from. I Build a Raid 6.

    The installation of the ESXI started only if i put the correct Adaptec Raid Driver into the virtual Storage 2 and follow the steps like in the instruction.

    The shown Storage device to install the esxi on is 2 GB, the Raid 6 is build  with 10TB and it isn`t shown.

    How can i check, if the esxi ist installed correctly and how can i force to boot form this device

    My System is configured:

    Supermicro MBD-X10DRI-O

    Adaptec Raid Controller: ASR 8805 Single

    Thank you for your help

    Kind regards

    Alexander

  4. mcs 4 years ago

    Hi

    I am preparing my lab of vsphere 6.5 with esxi and vcenter. I have HP server with 2 processor 64gb ram. I am planning to install first esxi 6.5.

    Then inside the installed esxi (will prepare 3 more esxi 6.5) but fail to install. any help to do this.

     

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