VMware vSphere is VMware's virtualization platform, which transforms data centers into aggregated computing infrastructures that include CPU, storage, and networking resources. vSphere manages these infrastructures as a unified operating environment and provides you with the tools to administer the data centers that participate in that environment.
The two core components of vSphere are ESXi and vCenter Server. ESXi is the virtualization platform on which you can create and run virtual machines and virtual appliances. vCenter Server is a service that acts as a central administrator for ESXi hosts connected in a network. vCenter Server lets you pool and manage the resources of multiple hosts.
This post describes how to install a nested ESXi 7.0 instance on a physical ESXi 6.5 host. The information includes step-by-step configuration instructions and suggested best practices.
Preparing for Installation
The following resources are designed to help you plan your vSphere data center deployment, and effectively manage your vSphere environment.
VMware Product Interoperability Matrices. Provides details about the compatibility of current and earlier versions of VMware vSphere components, including ESXi, vCenter Server, and other VMware products.
VSphere Hardware and Guest Operating System Compatibility Guides. An online reference that shows what hardware, converged systems, operating systems, third-party applications, and VMware products are compatible with a specific version of a VMware software product.
VMware Configuration Maximums. When you configure, deploy, and operate your virtual and physical equipment, you must stay at or below the maximums supported by your product. The limits presented in the Configuration Maximums tool are tested limits supported by VMware.
Downloading the ESXi Installer
Download the ESXi installer from the VMware Downloads Web Site. VMware vSphere is listed under Datacenter & Cloud Infrastructure.
Connect to the target datastore in which to store the virtual machine configuration and all of the virtual disk files and upload the ESXi installer ISO file.
Right-click the target host on which you want to deploy the ESXi instance and select New Virtual Machine.
On the Select a creation type page, select Create a new virtual machine and click Next.
On the Select a name and folder page, enter a unique name for the virtual machine, select a deployment location and click Next.
On the Select a compute resource page, select the host, cluster, resource pool, or vApp where the virtual machine will run and click Next.
On the Select storage page, choose the storage type, the storage policy, and a datastore or datastore cluster where to store the virtual machine files and click Next.
On the Select compatibility page, select the virtual machine compatibility with ESXi host versions and click Next.
On the Select a guest OS page, select the guest OS family and version and click Next.
On the Customize hardware page, configure the virtual machine hardware and options and click Next.
Under CPU Settings, check Expose hardware assisted virtualization to the guest.
Under New CD/DVD Drive, mount the ESXi ISO and check Connect At Power On.
Under VM Options tab, choose BIOS as firmware to be used to boot the virtual machine and uncheck Secure Boot (EFI boot only).
On the Ready to complete page, review the details and click Finish.
You have installed the ESXi 7.0 instance. The virtual machine appears in the vSphere Client inventory.
Powering On the virtual machine
To complete the ESXi interactive installation, power on the ESXi virtual machine and launch a Web Console.
Select the ESXi installer in the boot menu and press Enter. This start an interactive installation where you boot the ESXi installer and respond to the installer prompts to install ESXi to the local host disk.
To accept the EULA, press F11.
Select the drive on which to install ESXi and press Enter.
If you are installing ESXi on a disk that contains a previous installation of ESXi, or a VMFS datastore, the installer provides you with options for upgrading.
To select the default keyboard layout for the host, press Enter.
To set the host password, enter root password and retype the password to confirm it.
To begin installation, press F11.
After the installation finishes, remove the installation media and press Enter to restart the host.
You have installed ESXi on a virtual machine.
Setting up ESXi
After you finish the interactive installation of ESXi, use the web console to configure your host. Assign the host a specific IP address and review the configuration options that the web console provides.
Press F2 to access the configuration screen. Type your administrative login credentials. The default Login Name is root.
Use the keyboard to select Configure Management Network and press Enter.
Under IPv4 Configuration, verify that Set static IP address and network configuration is selected, and type the network configuration details, then press Enter to accept the IP configuration changes.
Under DNS Configuration, verify that Use the following DNS server addresses and hostname is selected, and type the Primary DNS Server IP address and the FQDN as the hostname, then press Enter to accept the DNS configuration.
Press Y to apply changes and restart the management network.
Initiate a Test Management Network. By default, this test will attempt to ping your default gateway and DNS servers, and resolve your hostname.
You have completed the installation of ESXi on a virtual machine.
After You Install and Set Up ESXi
After ESXi is installed and set up, you can manage the host by using the vSphere Web Client and vCenter Server, license the host, and back up your ESXi configuration.