If you’ve followed my other homelab posts (Part 1 & Part 2) you should have a host that has VMware ESXi installed on it and raring to go. We’ll now deploy the 3 nested ESXi hosts onto this single host.
So in the end we should have something like this:
There are a couple of things you need to have before we begin:
3 x Spare IP addresses (give them a ping to ensure they’re not used on your network)
IP address of your Default Gateway (usually your router address on a home network)
Your network subnet mask (usually 255.255.255.0 but check on your router if on a home network)
Downloading ESXi OVA
We could go through the process of installing ESXi multiple times to each of the VMs but there is a much easier way. A gentleman called William Lam, who is a Senior Staff Solution Architect at VMware, has a selection of ESXi OVA files that we can use. An OVA (Open Virtualization Appliance) is a VM put into format that can be used with other virtualization applications.
Open a web browser and go to https://williamlam.com/nested-virtualization/nested-esxi-virtual-appliance (or just click the link 😉)
From here select the version you want to download (I went with ESXi 7.0 Update 3m Virtual Appliance):
You should download a file with an .ova file extension.
Importing ESXI OVA
Log into your ESXi host and under Virtual Machines, click Create/Register VM:
Select Deploy a virtual machine from an OVF or OVA file and click Next:
Enter a name for your first host and either click to select the OVA file you downloaded or drag and drop the file. Click Next when ready:
Select where you want to store the VM and click Next:
Have a read of the EULA (if you want) and click I agree. Click Next:
Ensure the right network is selected (we should only have one so far anyway), check that Thin disk provisioning is selected and that you uncheck the Power on automatically check box (as we want to resize the VM before we power it up). Click Next:
On the Additional settings screen, click Next when ready:
Review the deployment settings and when ready click Finish:
You can see the status of the machine deployment from the Recent tasks:
Once completed, go into virtual machines, select your newly deployed VM and click Edit:
Amend the CPU count and increase the memory (I’ve just divided mine by 4 to give enough resources across each host and leave some for the main host) and click Save:
Click Power On to start your first host:
Click the Console image of the VM or remote console to it:
Once on the ESXI boot screen, press F2:
Enter the username of root and the password of VMware1! and press Enter:
Go down to Configure Keyboard and press Enter:
Select your preferred keyboard language by highlighting it and pressing the space bar, then press Enter:
Use the arrow keys to go up to configure password and press Enter:
Type the old password (VMware1!) and then your new password (and confirmation). Press Enter:
Scroll down to Configure Management Network and press Enter:
Scroll down to IPv4 Configuration and press Enter:
Scroll down to Set static IPv4 address and network configuration and press the spacebar. Scroll down and enter your IP address, Subnet Mask and Default Gateway. Press Enter:
Scroll down to DNS Configuration and press Enter:
Scroll down to Use the following DNS server addresses and hostname and press the spacebar. Enter your primary DNS server (usually your home router), as a secondary I put Google’s DNS server (220.127.116.11). Enter a hostname and press Enter:
You will go back to the network menu, press Esc on the keyboard and when prompted press Y to restart the management network:
Press Esc twice to exit out of the menus. You should now see the network configuration on the front screen:
Your first nested ESXI host has been deployed.
Follow the same process until you have 3 nested ESXI hosts. You can reuse the same OVA file each time to deploy the next host:
You can set ESXI on the host to automatically start your nested ESXI host automatically when it fires up.
Under Host click on Manage, then on the System tab, click Autostart:
Click Edit Settings:
Select Enabled to Yes, choose your start and stop delay (between each VM starting/stopping), choose a Stop action and click Save:
Click each VM and click Enable to set it to autostart:
Once you have all 3 VMs done they should automatically start when you start up your ESXI server:
And with that your done. All that remains is for us to deploy the vCenter appliance which I’ll cover next time.