If you are studying for a VMware certification or want to get familiar with the latest release of vSphere, a great way to get started is by installing it in your homelab. In my case, at the moment my homelab consists of VMware Fusion running on my MacBook Pro. My Macbook has 16GB of RAM and 500GB SDD.
There are three ways to consider deploying ESXi in an enterprise environment.
- Interactive Installation of ESXi
- Unattended (scripted) installation of ESXi
- Automated (vSphere Auto Deploy) provisioning of ESXi
In my case, since its a homelab I will be doing the interactive installation of ESXi. I will likely do a post on how to leverage the other two options at a later point.
Installing ESXi 6.0
In this example, I will be using ESXi 6.0 update 3. I have the ISO download, and Fusion support ESXi as a virtual machine with some preconfigured settings which makes things a lot easier. For example, it selected the RAM and disk capacity.
Click finish and the installation will start and take you to the initial setup screen, hit Enter and select the drive you will install ESXi on.
Next, select your keyboard layout and set a root password.
Then confirm install, this will run for a few minutes. Once installed you will see the installation complete banner and your system is ready for a reboot. Hit Enter and the system will reboot.
Once the system is back online, it will get a IP address from the DHCP server. Then you will see the familiar grey and yellow screen.
The interactive installation is pretty straighforward. Now we configure the ESXi host.
Configure ESXi 6.0
One of the first things we want to do is configure the management network and hardcode an IP address so your host will always boot up with the same address. ProTip: One thing to keep in mind, to customize the system you will need to hit F2 and on a Mac it works when you hit Fn+F2.
Once you get past the first screen you will be asked for your root credentials and then press “Enter” to login. Select Configure Management Network and press Enter. Select the network adapter and ensure you have the correct one selected. Hit Enter to exit.
Then select IPv4 Configuration and select setting a static IPv4 address vs using a dynamic IPv4 address. Add the IP, subnet mask and gateway. My example below will be using DHCP so I will leave the setting as is. Hit Enter to exit. Then go into IPv6 Configuration and disable IPv6 if this is something you plan on not using. Hit Enter to exit.
Finally select DNS Configuration and set the DNS server address and hostname. Hit Enter to exit. Then click the Custom DNS Suffixes to add any suffixes. Hit Enter to exit.
Once you exit the Management Network screen you may need to restart the the ESXi host or restart the management network for changes to take effect.
I hope this short can help you get started with vSphere quickly. Let me know on Twitter if I missed anything and if this has helped you. Thank for reading!