DeployingVMware ESXi

As stated earlier, VMware ESXi comes in two different flavors, VMware ESXi Installable and VMware ESXi Embedded. Although these two versions of VMware ESXi share the same architecture, the way in which they are deployed is quite different.

Deploying VMware ESXi Installable

The installation of ESXi Installable begins by ensuring that the computer system is configured to boot from the CD-ROM drive. To do this, insert the ESXi Installable installation CD into the drive, and power on the system. You can download the installation files from VMware's website at loads. The installation files for ESXi are listed separately from ESX. After the server is powered on and boots from the CD, the VMware VMvisor Boot Menu screen displays. To make changes to the installation parameters, press the Tab key. The default parameters show beneath the boot menu.

After you accept the license agreement, you will have the opportunity to select the hard drive onto which you want to install ESXi. The available logical disks are listed. ESXi Installable requires local hard drives to be available for the installation. The local hard drives can be Serial ATA (SATA), Small Computer System Interface (SCSI), or Serial Attached SCSI (SAS) as long as they are connected to a controller that is listed on the HCL for VMware ESXi. The size

of the hard drives is practically irrelevant because enterprise deployments of vSphere will most commonly place all virtual machines, templates, and ISOs on a shared storage device. Be sure to keep that in mind when you are in the process of identifying hardware specifications for new

If the disk you select for the installation has existing data, you will receive a warning message about the data being overwritten with the new installation. Before answering Continue to this prompt, be sure there isn't any critical data on this disk, because answering Continue to this prompt will erase all the data on the selected disk. Move any critical data on this disk to a different server before proceeding with installation.

After the installation process begins, it takes only a few minutes to load the thin hypervisor. Upon completion, the server requires a reboot and is configured by default to obtain an IP address via DHCP. Depending upon the network configuration, you might find that ESXi will not be able to obtain an IP address via DHCP.

Deploying VMware ESXi Embedded.

VMware ESXi Embedded refers to the original equipment manufacturer (OEM) installation of VMware ESXi onto a persistent storage device inside the qualified hardware. This is an exciting option that will save administrators the time of performing any type of installation. The embedded hypervisor truly allows for the plug-and-play hardware-type atmosphere. You can see that major server manufacturers are banking on this idea because their server designs include an internal USB port. Perhaps eventually the ESXi hypervisor will move from USB flash drive on an internal port to some type of flash memory built right onto the motherboard.

When you purchase a system with ESXi Embedded, you only need to rack the server, connect the networking cables, and power on. The ESXi embedded on the persistent storage will obtain an IP address from a DHCP server to provide immediate access via the console, vSphere Client, or vCenter Server.

The server set to run ESXi Embedded must be configured to boot from the appropriate device. Take, for example, a HP server with a USB flash drive with ESXi Embedded connected to an internal (or external) USB port. To run the thin hypervisor, the server must be configured to boot from the USB device. Because ESXi Embedded is installed on and running from the internal USB device, no local hard drives are necessary in this sort of configuration. Customers deploying ESXi Embedded can be servers without hard drives, removing another potential point of failure in the datacenter and further reducing power consumption and heat generation. Additionally, because ESXi Embedded is already "installed" on the USB device, there is no installation of which to speak. Once the server is configured to boot from the persistent storage device and ESXi Embedded is up and running, it is managed and configured in the same fashion as ESXi Installable. This makes it incredibly easy to deploy additional servers in a very rapid fashion.

Although ESXi Embedded is intended for use by OEMs, it's possible to create your own "ESXi Embedded" edition by putting ESXi Installable onto a USB drive. This is a great way to test ESXi Embedded, but keep in mind that VMware does not support this sort of configuration.