Step by Step Install VMware ESX Server

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Before Installing VMware ESX Server

The first thing that you need to do before installing VMware ESX Server (and obviously with any software installation) is check the minimum hardware requirements. These requirements can be found on VMware’s website, and it is important to make sure your hardware will at least meet (if not exceed) these requirements.

Of course, that is only the first step, once you have decided whether you can meet the minimum requirements, it is time to figure out how many virtual servers you are going to need, and what they will be used for. This step is vital. If you don’t get the right kind of hardware for a particular server application, it can negatively affect the performance of that virtual machine running in VMware ESX Server.

For example, an application that requires a lot of CPU time won’t benefit from virtualization if you don’t maximize the number and power of the physical machine’s CPUs. In general, just know that the more powerful the machine, the better it will run with ESX Server.

Lastly, don’t forget that you can quickly make a virtual mock-up of a physical server to test its performance before you take the physical server off of your network. It is always a good idea to test out the transition before you commit to it permanently.

Next you need to obtain a license key for VMware ESX Server from VMware, and you are finally ready to install the software!


Step-by-Step Installation

1. Since ESX Server is meant to run on bare metal (without the aid of any host OS), your first step would be to boot your computer from the VMware ESX Server installation CD-ROM. From there, you will see the ESX Server installation startup page as shown below:
VMware ESX Install 1

2. This screen gives you the option to install using a graphical or text-based installer. Press enter to start the graphical installer. The boot process will begin, and you will notice that the boot sequence is very similar to that of a Linux machine (see the image below). This is because VMware’s VMkernel is based on Linux.
VMware ESX Install 2

3. The next screen that you’ll see explains that if you are installing VMware ESX Server from an ISO image downloaded from the Internet, that the media should be tested before installation continues. If this applies to you, you should select the test button. Otherwise, if you are using a product CD from VMware, this test can be skipped.
VMware ESX Install 3

After this step (hopefully all goes well during the media test), you will see this screen:
VMware ESX Install 4

4. This wizard will ask you to provide information about your mouse and keyboard setups. The installer will then look for previous installations of ESX server.

5. The next screen you will see is the license agreement page. Read the EULA, accept it and click next:
VMware ESX Install 5

6. If you see a screen like the one below, don’t panic. This warning dialog simply explains that the partition table on the disk could not be read. This is most likely because you are running the installation of a fresh, unpartitioned disk. The disk will be partitioned in the next step, so click OK:
VMware ESX Install 6

Note that initialization will format the disk, erasing all data. You wouldn’t want to lose important data, so be careful during this step!

7. The next window allows you to set up the partitions on the drive. You can either let them be created automatically, or you can manually enter how you want the partitions to look. Taking the recommended action is your best bet here.
VMware ESX Install 7

8. After you confirm this action, a disk layout summary will be displayed. This window will give you one last chance to edit the partitions made to the drive. Again, choose the default and keep moving.
VMware ESX Install 8

9. In the next screen, you can choose whether to boot from the MasterBoot Record on the disk or whether to boot from a partition. In this example, we will choose boot from disk:
VMware ESX Install 9

10. You are now prompted for IP address information. It is usually not a good idea to let DHCP gather an address for you in this case, because the ESX Server will probably need to have a static IP address. Therefore, it is probably a good idea to enter the IP address in manually.

Enter the correct data here, and make sure the box is checked to: Create a default network for virtual machines. Now click next:
VMware ESX Install 10

11. The next window asks you to set up your time zone information. This should be fairly straightforward.
VMware ESX Install 11

12. The next screen prompts you to create a Root password for the machine. Please remember to use strong passwords to keep
your ESX Server secure.
VMware ESX Install 12

13. Now you will see a screen that provides a summary for the settings you just established in the previous windows.
VMware ESX Install 13

14. Click next on this screen and your installation will finally begin. Now sit back and wait for the installation to complete.
VMware ESX Install 14

15. Once the installation completes, it will prompt for you to restart the server. Also this screen tells you how to manage your server by pointing a web browser to the IP address you specified earlier. Click finish and your VMware ESX Server will reboot.
VMware ESX Install 15

16. Once the system completely reboots, you are done! You should see a screen that looks similar to the one below.
VMware ESX Install 16

And there you have it. You have just installed your own VMware ESX Server!

Now that you have your ESX Server installed there are many more operations and tools for you to get a handle on. So get to it! Happy virtualizing, and keep your browser here at Train Signal Training for more VMware ESX Server guides, and how-to’s.


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