VMware vSphere ESXi is a bare-metal hypervisor for virtualizing servers. It provides the essential services for consolidating applications and simplifying the management of your infrastructure and can be bought with vSphere or gotten as a free, downloadable version. vSphere 7 was released 02 April 2020 with some significant enhancements, the biggest being the rearchitected with native Kubernetes into an open platform that enables you to run existing enterprise applications alongside modern containerized applications in a unified manner. In this post, I will go through the steps to install VMware vSphere ESXi 7 using interactive method. Other methods to install ESXi hosts are by using Script and Auto Deploy.
Steps to Install VMware vSphere ESXi 7
Before installing vSphere ESXi 7, we need to review the following essential pre-requisites:
- Verify the compatibility of the hardware you are using from the VMware Compatibility Guide.
- Ensure that the hardware you are using meets the minimum hardware requirements for installing ESXi.
- Download the image you will use for installing vSphere ESXi 7 from the VMware download center. You will need to create a My VMware account to be able to download the image. You can also get custom ISO images with software and drivers specific to the hardware you are using. (HP, CISCO UCS, DELL Lenovo).
- Prepare the installation media you will use for the installation. This can be either a CD/DVD or a USB flash drive.
Once we have all the prerequisites addressed, we can proceed with the installation. First, we are going to boot from the media we had created for installing. Immediately after booting from my installation media, the installer is going to extract the installation files.
Once this is complete, the next window will show us a welcome message. Press Enter to continue.
Next will be the End User License Agreement (EULA). Press F11 to accept this and continue with the installation.
The installer will then scan for all available devices for installing ESXi and show the supported devices. The recommended boot devices for vSphere 7 as per the hardware requirements are:
- An 8GB USB/SD and an additional local disk of 32 GB
- A local disk with a minimum of 32GB
- A local disk of 142 GB or higher.
After that, we will choose the keyboard layout and click next to continue.
Set a password for the root account. This is the account we will use to login to our ESXi host after installation.
Once done, click on F11 to begin the installation.
The installation will take a few minutes to complete.
Once completed, you will be prompted to remove the installation media and reboot the server to administer it.
Remove the installation media to prevent the server from booting from it when you reboot then click enter to continue.
When the server completes the boot process, it will be assigned an IP address automatically if you have a DHCP server. If you do not have a DHCP server, you will need to log in to the ESXi host using the root account to set the network settings.
To customize the system settings, click on F2 and enter the password for the root account.
From here, you can configure different settings for the ESXi host. You can configure IP address, hostname, DNS, etc.
You can then log in to your ESXi host using the IP address of ESXi from any browser as shown below.
You can access the VMware host client when you enter https://IP address/FQDN/ui of your ESXi host on any modern browser. The host client is an HTML5 based client that you can use to manage and troubleshoot your ESXi host.
On the first login to the ESXi host, you will be asked to choose whether you want to join the Customer Experience Improvement Program (CEIP). When you decide to join the CEIP, VMware regularly collects technical information about your organization’s use of its products in association with your organization’s VMware license key(s).
From here, you can proceed to create your virtual machines and manage your ESXi host.