ESXi 6.7 USB install setup from Linux

Just upgraded some of my Lab hardware, now to install 6.7 on a newer Dell R630 without a CDROM we need to copy the installer to USB stick.    I prefer using Linux, and the default instructions at VMware fail to work on Ubuntu 18.04,  so here is the solution I found for Ubuntu 18.04

TLDR;  Summary

If your comfortable with Linux ,  here is a summary of the steps above.

  • Unzip SysLinux into a directory from here.
  • Use Fdisk to prepare USB drive
    • Remove all partitions
    • Create new partition #1, type ‘c’ (FAT 32),  activate partition, write.
  • Install  from Syslinux3.86 download directory.
    cd ~/Downloads/syslinux-3.86
    mtools/syslinux /dev/sdb1
    cat mbr/mbr.bin > /dev/sdb
  • Create FS on USB
    /sbin/mkfs.vfat -F 32 -n USB /dev/sdb1
  • Copy VMware ISO contents to USB ( if usb is on sdb1 ) and rename isolinux.cfg
    mkdir /usbdisk
    mount /dev/sdb1 /usbdisk
    mkdir /esxi_cdrom
    mount -o loop VMware-VMvisor-Installer-6.x.x-XXXXXX.x86_64.iso /esxi_cdrom
    cp -r /esxi_cdrom/* /usbdisk
    mv /usbdisk/isolinux.cfg /usbdisk/syslinux.cfg
  •  Note skip the VMware step of editing syslinux.cfg file contents
  • Unmount
    umount /usbdisk
    umount /esxi_cdrom

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