Thursday, July 18, 2019

Starting out with ESXi 6.7 Update 2

Following on from my purchase of a HPE Microserver G10, I got to work installing ESXi 6.7 Update 2 on a 32GB USB stick installed into the internal USB port.

I connected a CDROM drive externally and burnt off the ESXi 6.7 update 2 ISO to boot from CD on the server:

The system boots from the CD and loads the installer:

Here is the installer, ready to start:

As covered in my previous blog post, I created a RAID10 array on the G10 of 4x4TB SATA disks. This is not permanent as I plan to purchase a NAS soon, but allows me to get started with using the server.

You can see the disks and also the 32GB Samsung USB stick at the bottom, which is where I plan to install ESXi 6.7:

The install gets underway and doesn't take long to complete:

I removed the CD drive and after the system reboots I went to the BIOS to change the boot order to use the USB stick first:

With that done, the server boots off the USB stick to run the ESXi Hypervisor on my new server - exciting!

With the ESXi hypervisor launched on the server, I can now connect to it from my Mac to get started configuring it. I have always used the Windows VSphere client in the past, but now VMWare has 100% migrated to the web client I am now using that:

After logging in with the username and password supplied during the installation, I now get the view of the new server:

By default ESXi is in eval mode and we need to add a license key to use it permanently.
I got a license key for the free hypervisor version via the MyVMWare portal so I could activate this installation:
With the activation done, I moved on to connecting the RAID10 array hard disks in the Microserver to the ESXi environment so I can create Virtual machines on it.

With RAID10 we end up with a bit over 7TB of usable space for our VM Datastore:
I use the whole lot at this stage - as mentioned earlier it is not permanent to have these disks in this server and I will blow away anything I create soon anyway:

So with the Datastore1 created, VSphere web client now shows the new Datastore formatted with the latest VMFS version and now ready for use:

Next I reviewed the network settings - the default VM Network is active, with only one of the two ethernet NIC's connected at the moment. I have plans to connect the other to an iSCSI port group/virtual switch network to have a dedicated separate iSCSI network to connect to the NAS when I get it:

I browsed the datastore to create a folder for ISO's so I could transfer Windows Server and other ISO's for building VM's in this environment.
I then take the ESXi host off the default DHCP addressing and give it a static address.

The hostname is set to the MAC Address so I want to fix that too:


The machine is at a point where I can play with some VM's!

I got onto installing Windows Server 2019 from the ISO, which I downloaded from Microsoft and uploaded to the ISO folder I created on the Datastore. This is all done from the VSphere web client.

I am creating a Windows Server 2019 VM, so I select the profile for that in the VM creation wizard, so it will set the recommended default machine configuration (memory, hard disk, cpu, etc)

Wow, if I am feeling nostalgic I can build a Windows NT4 box, or even Windows 3.1 or MS-DOS 6.22! Maybe I will at some point :-)

With Windows Server 2019 you now have Windows Virtualisation based security, which is supported under ESXi 6.7 update 2 and can be enabled if required.

I then adjust the settings to add the CD Drive ISO link to the Windows Server 2019 media so it will boot from it - don't forget to click on Connect though otherwise nothing happens!

With the newer Window server version like 2016 and 2019 they now REQUIRE UEFI secure boot, which is natively supported in this ESXi version. This is a change for me, as normally the operating systems I deployed run on (what is now called) legacy BIOS firmware. Time moves on!

Ok, ready to complete the VM Creation:

Here is the new VM, powered off:

If you forget to mount the ISO, you can still do so prior to power on by editing the VM settings:

Again, don't forget to click on Connect afterwards or it won't be connected at power on.

I can now power on and view the console to see what is happening and interact:

Success! I can now install Windows Server 2019 on my newly created VM:

I am just using this in eval as Windows Server 2019 Standard version with no intention to activate it - just wanted to try it out:

With the install completed I now have a Virtual Machine I can use on my new ESXi server!

My ESXi 6.7 update 2 installation is done, and the new (temporary) server based datastore and network configured, with a test VM created and running on the new Microserver G10!

This seems like a good point to end this blog post. I will continue the build work in the next post as I have more hardware to buy and add to create my intended home lab setup.

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