Home > Blogs > VMware SMB Blog

Back To Basics: Install VMware ESXi 5.5

Post By Mike Laverick, VMware, Senior Cloud Infrastructure Evangelist

This is a repost from Mike Laverick’s blog, mikelaverick.com

Since I stopped being an instructor in 2009, I found myself increasingly distanced from vSphere and core platform. That was partly because of circumstances. My last book was on vSphere4, and didn’t write a vSphere4.1 book because I personally felt that the changes weren’t that massively different. By then I was stuck deep into the VMware Site Recovery Manager 5.0 book, and although I was using the beta/RC for vSphere5.0, the platform was increasing “just there”, and something I took for granted. Since joining VMware in August, 2012 my focus again has taken me to another layer in the management plane – again making vSphere just something that I take for granted. Recently, I’ve been writing about my experiences of playing about with Windows Hyper-V 2012 R2 – taking me further away from my natural home. Combining these experiences together I’ve notice my knowledge of vSphere is starting to get a bit “fuzzy”. I remember back when I was full time instructor stuff was there in my head ready for instant recall. Now, when I need to do stuff – I find myself googling to remind myself on how to do stuff – sometimes coming across my own content. Heck, even last week I pulled the old “Implementing vSphere” book down from the shelf to remind me of something. Things were brought home to me when I took the VCP5 exam just before the cut of date. Normally, I’d have walked/aced the exam – what happened is that I scraped through. It just goes to show the old adage is true. If you don’t use it, you lose it. A good example of this was when I attended the “vCloud Director” this year with the Grand Master of VMware Instructors, Eric Sloof. Eric was talking about load-balancing on vmnics. This a feature I know REALLY well. I was shocked discover that a new method had been added (don’t ask me when) which allows for a load-balancing I hadn’t even heard of called “Route based on physical NIC Load”.


It was then I began to realise I’ve spent so much time with SRM, View and up in the clouds – that I beginning to loose grip on the fundamental building block of all VMware technologies – vSphere. And I needed to do something to arrest that fading of familiarity.

So for that reason I want to do something that will help both myself and others. It’s then I started to think of a “Back to Basics” series that would bring together an article; video demo and video/audio discussion in one place. I thought that bring these different medias under one location, and engaging with folks in the community it would be a good way of refamiliarising myself with vSphere. This content (at least in the early stages) will be of no use to anyone with decade or more’s experience of using vSphere. It’s more geared toward ‘noobs’ and SMB folks who might not always have the luxury of time or training to learn vSphere to the required depth. This decision kind of comes together nicely as I decided to wipe my lab down and complete re-install it with vSphere5.5 and also I’m embarking on the process of quitting my commitment to the colocation facility and going back to a homelab. You call it “Return of the Homelab” if you like.

Anyway. Introductions over. First topic.Is all about installing VMware ESXi 5.5. In the post there’s step-by-step guide on how to do it, together with a “Show Me How” video.

Installing VMware ESXi 5.5


Installing VMware ESXi

Version: vSphere 5.5

Show Me How: Installing VMware ESXi Video – Native Quality

Show Me How Video: Set to YouTube To 720p, Full Screen

1. Attach the DVD to your server – in this example a HP DL385 G1 was used which has an onboard “ILO” Management Card. This is quite an old server, and should see a more modern UI on a contemporary system. In this case the HP ILO’s “Virtual Media” feature was used to mount the VMware ESXi DVD .ISO to the physical host, and the host powered on. By default the VMware ESXi host installer pauses briefly for 10seconds at this boot menu screen.

Screen Shot 2013-10-01 at 21.07.13.png

2. After this the install will continue to load the files required for installation.

Screen Shot 2013-10-01 at 21.14.37.png

3. Once completed the kernel that makes up VMware ESXi (referred to as the VMKernel) is loaded.

Screen Shot 2013-10-01 at 21.22.13.png

4. Once the system load has completed, you will see the welcome screen

Screen Shot 2013-10-02 at 12.37.10.png

5. And the obligatory EULA – pressing [F11] Accepts and Continues this.

Screen Shot 2013-10-02 at 12.37.19.png

6. Next you will need select a disk to hold the VMware ESXi software. In this case we have rather foolish allow the physical server to see storage on the FC-SAN this is very dangerous.

Screen Shot 2013-10-02 at 12.37.31.png

7. It is possible to select each disk/volume/LUN and request details with [F1]

Screen Shot 2013-10-02 at 12.39.19.png

8. If a disk is selected which already contains a VMware File System (VMFS) and this is an existing installation – you will have option to either upgrade and keep the VMs; carry out a clean installation but preserve the VMFS file system from the previous installation – or completely re-install and wipe the system.

Screen Shot 2013-10-02 at 12.39.58.png

9. Select your language.

Screen Shot 2013-10-02 at 12.40.11.png

10. Set the password for the “root” user account. The installer does not enforce or warning you about complexity. So very simple passwords such as Password1 will work.

Screen Shot 2013-10-02 at 12.40.36.png

11. If you are working on a very old server or a server who settings have not been correctly configured you will recieve warnings about lack of support for CPU extensions that improve performance or security. In this case the AMD chipset does not support the AMD-V attributes.

Screen Shot 2013-10-02 at 12.41.03.png

12. Finally, you are given one last chance to abort the installation.

Screen Shot 2013-10-02 at 12.41.17.png

13. Then the installer will copy the software to the disk/volume/LUN you selected earlier.

Screen Shot 2013-10-02 at 12.41.31.png

14. At the end of the install pressing [ENTER] will trigger a reboot – be sure to eject or close any mounted .ISO or physical DVD in the server.

Screen Shot 2013-10-02 at 12.47.45.png

15. After the reboot you should be confronted with the VMware ESXi “Direct User Console Interface” (DUCI). This allows a number of post-configuration tasks to take place, and also be used as one method of troubleshooting an ESXi host if become unresponsive. Notice how by default VMware ESXi defaults to using DHCP, and will receive a DHCP delivered IP address if the service exists on your network.

Screen Shot 2013-10-02 at 12.59.46.png

Follow VMware SMB on Facebook, Twitter, Spiceworks and Google+ for more blog posts, conversation with your peers, and additional insights on IT issues facing small to midmarket businesses.

One thought on “Back To Basics: Install VMware ESXi 5.5

  1. Omer Masood

    i am having an issue with this installation. when the installation completes and system restarts it boots again with the previous windows server 2008.
    Please help in this regards.
    Thanks in advance


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *