Booting ESX ISO installer unmodified from USB with Ventoy

With the number of physical hosts not having CDROMs, along with newer laptops not having burners,   I figure it’s time to move away from installing ESX from CDROM in my lab or Customer site. I had tried VMware’s instructions and failed,  and found this method: ESXi 6.7 USB install setup from Linux Recently I noticed that a new USB multi-boot program called Ventoy.  However it … Continue reading Booting ESX ISO installer unmodified from USB with Ventoy

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 Install Syslinux 3.86 on your Ubuntu ( latest version of Syslinux  … Continue reading ESXi 6.7 USB install setup from Linux

vSphere / ESXi homelab setup

Introduction This post documents my evolving home-lab setup as of December 2018 Since many of my clients are smaller SMB’s they often need hands-on help with physical storage, networking and security in addition to VMware.   Since my background was coming from a software ( not IT ) area I needed a lab that used physical hardware ( e.g production servers and network equipment ) Equipment … Continue reading vSphere / ESXi homelab setup

Definitive Nested ESXi 6.5/NSX guide

Note:  I’ve recently re-done my lab and found significant changes to this post, so I’m re-writing this post and splitting it into two parts.


This guide documents how I setup my working nested ESX/NSX lab after having numerous problems setting up the nested ESX 6.5 appliance with NSX  with existing documentation.  One issue is that most nested ESX/NSX documentation covers ESX5.5, and much has changed since then,  and it’s not immediately clear what parts to skip or use.

This guide covers items specific to nested ESXi & NSX.  Since this is a lab, only a single NSX controller is used to save resources,  but if you have the capacity all 3 can be installed.

Thanks to William Lam’s ESX appliance and blog entries below I was able to get started with nested ESXi, but I continued to have random issues with networking as there are numerous moving parts and most of the physical networking is not described.  My lab tries to stay close to production recommendations of keeping networking, storage, and vMotion on separate vLANS, and this lab maintains that separation as much as possible.

I’m  moving away from William Lam’s ‘vGhetto ESXi’ appliance, as most of the features added in that appliance are now handled directly by ESXi 6.5 and later such as:

  • The vGhetto ESXi appliance has ESX Mac learn dvFilter installed, which conflicts with the newer method of using ESX-LearnSwitch on the physical host.
  • ESXi 6.0+ installer now has vmtools pre-installed , so that feature of the appliance isn’t needed anymore.   When ESXi detects that is is running as a VM, the vmtools is activated automatically.
  • The ESXi cloning referenced in link #3 had numerous issues with dropped packets on vMotion and NFS so I’m not recommending cloning for ESXi 6.5.  Creating new ESXi hosts with a fresh ISO install had no issues.  Cloning is untested for ESXi 6.7
  • ESXi 6.7 and later have ESX-Learnswitch VIB pre-installed so skip the install on the physical host.

Continue reading “Definitive Nested ESXi 6.5/NSX guide”