Running VMWare ESXi 3.5 on a live-USB Flash Disk
Here’s a very neat trick to boot VMWare’s latest server hypervisor technology, ESXi 3.5, from a USB Flash Disk.
You would do this to test/experiment with ESXi on your server before installing locally and committing system resources. This is also a great way to install ESXi on servers with out CD/DVD drives directly through USB or a PXE server over your LAN. (Part II will talk about PXE installation)
Note: Your BIOS must support booting from a USB device. (Most new BIOS support but older ones do not).
You’ll need a few tools for this:
Let’s begin the How-To.
Now, we need to extract a certain files from the VMWare ESXi 3.5 ISO.
1) Open the ISO file named VMware-VMvisor-InstallerCD-3.5.0_Update_3-123629.i386.iso (your file name may differ, that's ok as long as you've downloaded ESXi 3.5 ISO)
2) Extract the file named "install.tgz"
3) Open the newly extracted file and browse to \usr\lib\vmware\installer\
4) Open: "VMware-VMvisor-big-3.5.0_Update_3-123629.i386.dd.bz2"
5) Extract the file: "VMware-VMvisor-big-3.5.0_Update_3-123629.i386.dd"
Now open WinImage
6) In WinImage, go to "Disk" -> "Restore Virtual Harddisk image on physical drive"
7) Select a physical drive (i.e. Your USB Flash Disk)
8) Select "VMware-VMvisor-big-3.5.0_Update_3-123629.i386.dd"
9) Click "Yes"
That’s it, give it a few minutes and soon you’ll have a bootable-ESXi USB Flash Disk.
This was tested successfully on the following setup:
- Crucial Gizmo Jr. USB Flash Disk
- VMWare ESXi 3.5 Update 3 Installable ISO
- Sun Microsystems, Sun Fire X2250 Server
Be sure to go into your BIOS and select your USB device as a boot option. Reboot your computer and you should see the ESXi screen and have an IP assigned.
Part II of the Tutorial Coming Soon!
- How to Install ESXi via a PXE server over your LAN
- How to configure VMWare ESXi
- Accessing ESXi through VI Client
- Understanding Basics of Virtual Machines, Networking, Storage and other Resources.