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I’ve just started on the journey to get a working server virtualization environment at home.

First, a look at the important parts in the setup:

  • ASUS Z87-PRO motherboard
  • Intel Core i7-4770S processor
  • 16 GB Corsair Vengeance memory
  • LSI Megaraid 9261-8i with battery backup
  • 3 x Western Digital Caviar Red 3 TB

A couple of settings needed changing in the UEFI settings in Advanced mode:

  • Boot\Secure Boot\OS Type should be set to “Other OS”
  • Advanced\CPU Configuration\Intel Virtualization Technology should be set to “Enabled”
  • Advanced\System Agent Configuration\VT-d should be set to “Enabled” (only necessary if you want IOMMU virtualization support)

Then, it’s time to start setting up the software! Download the VMware Hypervisor (current version as of writing is VMware-VMvisor-Installer-5.5.0.update01-1623387.x86_64.iso) from www.wmware.com.

The ASUS Z87-PRO motherboard has an onboard Intel I217V NIC which requires that the drivers are updated in the VMware ISO before installation can begin. VMware ESXi requires a working NIC in order to install. My friend Robert over at http://blog.kihltech.com/2014/01/how-to-add-intel-nic-drivers-to-an-esxi-5-5-iso/ has an excellent blog post about doing this!

After updating the NIC driver in the ISO, I used Rufus (from http://rufus.akeo.ie/) to copy the ISO to a USB drive. It worked like a charm once I realized that the first USB drive I was using obviously wasn’t working…

There is a small catch with the UEFI implementation on the Z87-PRO – It doesn’t seem to like booting GPT-partitioned USB drives. Therefore, when you boot the ESXi installer, press Shift-O on the ESXi boot screen and add “formatwithmbr” to the options. Now you should just follow the instructions given by the installation software and everything should be fine!

2 Comments

  1. Great to see you blogging! I’m absolutely sure it will contain a lot of educating posts!

    As you might have seen from my blog I’m kind of interested in DirectPath I/O / passthrough in ESXi and how/if it is working on different consumer motherboards. If you happen to play with it on your board, please let me know how it goes 🙂

    • Thanks! I will definitely tell you when I do some experiments with DirectPath I/O. I intend to use my server in more ways than just as a regular file-and-whatever server and I will most likely need to give hardware access to some virtual machines.


One Trackback/Pingback

  1. By Home Automation Experiments | Daniel's blog on 30 Dec 2014 at 1:01 pm

    […] also have a ESXi-based server (see http://blog.delecon.se/2014/05/setting-up-vmware-esxi-part-1/) which I use for virtual machines that provide various network services at home. Currently, the […]

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