Configuring VMvisor ESXi 6.5 with Multiple Virtual Machines

Welcome to our third lesson in data centre virtualization with VMware, in the previous lessons we performed the installation of Androidx86 on a Type-2 hypervisor and VMware ESXi installation as a Type-1 hypervisor system.

We shall now explore the features available in the ESXi management console and try our hands on installing multiple virtual machines on the hypervisor host.  

The idea for this lab is to understand how operating systems of different architecture such as Windows servers, Exchange severs, Linux systems and even android operating systems can all be nested in VMware ESXi and interconnected to communicate and share data.

               Taking a Closer Look at the ESXi Management Console Interface 
It’s a good idea to have a detailed browse around the features available after logging onto your ESXi hypervisor server, from getting to know where to find system information, storage, networking and tools to deploy virtual machines on the server.

We shall explore some of the important features in this lesson to help us with our installation of multiple virtual machines. You can explore further in your own time to get familiar with other helpful tools. 

                                  VMware ESXi Web Interface Management Console

At a glance, the dashboard shows you system resource information at the top right corner with CPU, memory and storage information. Customize these features on the left panel of your screen. 

                                         VMware ESXi Web Interface Add User Interface

Clicking Manage at the top left panel will reveal further features for managing your ESXi host. Navigate to Users and you’ll see the original root administrator account you created when setting up the server.

This is an important section of your server as you can create other users to log into your host, issuing them with varying permission levels for what they can do while logged in. Creating another admin account is good practice in case your root account gets compromised for any reason.  

                                                  VMware ESXi Web Interface Licensing 

On the same Manage tab, click on Licensing to see the information about your ESXi web interface. As default, VMware lets you use the application free for 60 days. You can click Assign license once you purchase one from the vendor.

                                        VMware ESXi Web Interface Network Management

Clicking on the Network tab on the left panel will take you to all the networking features available on your ESXi host. Notice in the Port groups the active ports and vSwitch which we shall explore a bit more in later lessons.

Spend some time exploring other features such as Virtual networks, Physical NICs, VMkernel NICs, TCP/IP stacks and Firewall rules.

                                         VMware ESXi Web Interface Performance Matrix

Scroll down the VMware web interface to see the performance matrix of your system, displaying the host CPU and memory consumption over time. 

              Installing Virtual Machines inside VMware ESXi Host Hypervisor 

Now that we are familiar with the interface and features of VMware ESXi, let’s dive right in to install a virtual machine. Remember the idea of having a hypervisor as a host is the ability to install operating systems from multiple architectures such as Linux, Windows, Android and many more.

 The process begins with creating data stores for your .iso files to reside in. Note that compared to the Type-2 hypervisor VMware Workstation, the .iso files are retrieved directly from your host machine which may be running Windows or Linux. Go ahead and Click Datastore browser.  

This action presents a pop-up window with some options to create a directory, where you can store your .iso files for later installation. It is good practice to choose logical names for your directories to enable easy identification of multiple files should the data store.  

You can click Upload on the top left corner of the window to locate and copy over your .iso file ready to create your first virtual machine, running inside an ESXi host.

You will see an upload process bar to keep track of your file transfer. The duration can vary depending on the size of the OS you prefer to install. It will be a great idea to have a few uploaded to your Datastore. You can download Tiny Linux OS with a size of only 11MB.

1. Once the upload of the .iso file into the Datastore is complete, head over to the main ESXi management interface and Click Virtual Machines. You can now create your virtual machine.

Notice you have a few options, select create new VM and click Next to continue.

2. The second step involves naming your virtual machine, ensure to choose logical names for easy identification in the event your machines grow in size. 

Specifying your Guest OS family and Guest OS version helps VMware allocate recommended resources for your virtual machine. Click Next. 

3. You get to select your storage for the new virtual machine. Notice your Datastore pops up with the maximum capacity, free space and thin provisioning enabled; this is to ensure the system only uses the absolute minimum hard disk space to run the operating system, freeing the excess for use elsewhere.   

4. Customize your VM with RAM and HDD allocation. Leave the rest as default settings.      

5. Scroll down and expand the CD/DVD 1 tab. Browse and select the .iso file you want to install from the Datastore you previously created. Tick Connect at power on > Save > Continue.

6. Review all your settings and click Finish. Go back to Virtual Machines tab, select the new VM and click Power On to fire up your installation process.

7. For this set up I am using a Windows 7 Professional .iso file to build this virtual machine. You can use operating systems from any platform including Linux and Android OS for further practice.

Click on console image to pop up a screen displaying installation action from your virtual machine.  

8. Some users have reported issues while Windows is installing, usually with an error message: ‘Operating System not found’. The common cause of this issue could be the .iso file being corrupted, quickly running an MD5 checksum would help confirm this.

The boot order set on the VM could also be preventing booting from CD/DVD, edit your settings like in stage 5 and reboot the machine. Ensure you tick ‘Connect at Power On’ before saving your settings.

9. You should see the progress of your Win 7 Pro installation after a few restarts. Notice how the operating system behaves as though it were running on a traditional hardware environment. 

10. The first virtual machine installed in a VM ESXi hypervisor is now complete.

Spend some time to check the system information, network settings and ping a few IP addresses in your subnet to ensure your machine can communicate.

Run a quick ipconfig in command line to confirm IP address.

VMware Education Packages & More Information 

As we discussed in previous lessons, registering for an account with VMware comes with many advantages. Sign up here:

Similarly, if you decide to pursue any certification in VCP (VMware Certified Professional) and DCV (Data Center Virtualization), you are required to take an online or physical class from an authorised agent. Please visit the website for more information.

Typically, a training course in VMware vSphere: Install, Configure and Management will cost about £3,192.00 with the vSphere Foundations Exam Number: 2V0-620 costing about £276.00

Hope you enjoyed installing multiple virtual machines, you are welcome to join us in the next lesson as we drill down into more advanced configurations of VMware ESXi virtual machines to help sharpen your skills and prepare you for your exams or career as VMware engineer.

                              Thank you for investing your time with us. 

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            Credits to all organisations and development teams at VMware Incorporated.  

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