Today we released a new refresh to the ESXi-Arm Fling. Just like with the recent v1.10, it is possible to upgrade from a previous installation of the ESXi-Arm 1.x Fling. Copy the installer .iso image on your favorite installation medium, and upgrade from the installer. Do not use VUM or vSphere Lifecycle.
Tip: if your evaluation period has expired, you can perform a new installation; choose to preserve the VMFS filesystems, and register your VMs again.
- Updated Virtual Machine UEFI firmware.
- Support for virtual HTTP boot.
- Support for virtual TPM, virtual Secure Boot and encrypted VMs.
- Added VMware Tools for Windows 11 guest operating systems.
Host support improvements
- Support for physical machines with a GICv4 interrupt controller.
- Built-in ESX services now benefit from the CPU-based accelerated cryptography (e.g. NEON, Armv8 Cryptographic Extensions).
- Fixed ESXi xterm-256color terminfo. Go ssh and run esxtop now!
Updated Virtual Machine UEFI firmware
This is the major update in this revision. The UEFI firmware version in the ESXi-Arm Fling is now in-sync with VMware Fusion on Apple Silicon.
HTTP network boot
One of the benefit is to bring the support for HTTP boot, with the added availability of the Advanced Settings networkBootProtocol and networkBootUri.
Example of configuration parameters:
networkBootProtocol = httpv4
networkBootUri = http://192.168.0.1/photonos/efi/boot/bootaa64.efi
Device tree is not present by default
The new UEFI firmware does not provide the FDT by default. If required, the following configuration parameter can be used:
efi.fdt.enable = "TRUE"
Windows 11 Guests
This update brings a few enhancements from the VMware Fusion 22H2 Tech Preview for running Windows 11 guest operating system.
Note: The ESXi-Arm Fling does not provide a Windows 11 guest operating system entry; select the Windows 10 guest operating system instead, but do use Windows 11 on Arm.
This is a requirement for Windows 11, and it is enabled by default when the Windows guest operating system is selected.
This is another requirement for Windows 11. Because the ESXi-Arm Fling is based on ESXi 7.0, it requires an external Key Management System. As always William Lam has an (updated) article to install PyKMIP for a quick setup in your home lab. And yes, you can even use the Arm version of the docker container appliance, thank you William!
While not mandatory to run Windows 11, setting up the KMS allows the VM to be fully encrypted!
Let’s start with a big warning here. DO NOT INSTALL THE SVGA DRIVER from the guest tools CDROM: it does not work on this ESXi Arm Fling v1.x (but it does work very well on Fusion Tech Preview).
Fortunately there is still a way to increase the screen resolution of the Windows 11 Virtual Machine: open a Terminal as Administrator, and enter the following command:
bcdedit /set highestmode on
Here’s a small table of what to expect (from previous results with grub):
|Video memory size (MB)||Maximum screen resolution|
|4||1152 x 864|
|8||1600 x 1200|
|16||2048 x 1536|
Please remember that this is not accelerated graphics.
The VMware Tools for Windows Arm are now included in the Fling! The tools CDROM contains two drivers: svga (video) and vmxnet3 (network).
DO NOT INSTALL THE SVGA DRIVER. In case you have already did, you can disable the device from Windows safe mode.
Hardware support for Windows 11
This is where things get more complicated. The Windows Insider Preview ARM64 in the dev channel (from Windows 11 build 25188) now requires the Armv8.1 feature called “Large System Extensions”.
Here is a non-exhaustive list of systems that do not have FEAT_LSE and will lose the ability to run Windows 11 on Arm:
- SolidRun Honeycomb LX2
- SolidRun MacchiatoBin
- NXP LS1046A-based systems
- Raspberry Pi 4B of Pi 400
- Socionext SynQuacer Developer box
- AMD Opteron A1100-based systems
- Applied Micro X-Gene1-based systems
- Ampere Computing eMag-based systems
- Cavium ThunderX-based systems
And another non-exhaustive list of systems with FEAT_LSE:
- Ampere Computing Altra-based systems
- Arm Neoverse N1 System Development Platform
- Cavium ThunderX-2-based systems
- PINE64 Quartz64 Model A and other RK3566-based SBCs
Ubuntu 22.04 LTS
Ubuntu 22.04 LTS had issues with graphics. It is partially resolved: any existing 22.04 LTS can be updated to latest kernel, but the current installer will have a black screen.
For new installation it is recommended to use Ubuntu 22.10.