You can install VMware ESXi on VirtualBox without having to deal with real hardware. Sure, the performances are not so good, but this setup it’s a little test lab you can use to take confidence with the ESXi platform.

The only limitation is you can virtualize only 32bit systems. Not a big deal…

To install ESXi on VirtualBox you need:

  • a working installation of VirtualBox
  • ESXi installation ISO
  • a virtual machine configured correctly

First, create a new virtual machine (Linux based, like Red Hat 64bit) with at least 2 virtual processors, the IO APIC option, 2GB of RAM, a SATA storage controller and one of Intel network card. With 10 or 15 GB of storage (the virtual disk) you can install ESXi and a couple of virtual machines.

The new VirtualBox machine profile

Enable the IO APIC and use 2GB of RAM

Enable the IO APIC and use 2GB of RAM

Use at least 2 virtual processors and enable PAE/NX

Use at least 2 virtual processors and enable PAE/NX

Enable all acceleration

Enable all acceleration

Use the bridged adapter for the NIC (Intel PRO/1000 family)

Use the bridged adapter for the NIC (Intel PRO/1000 family)

The SATA storage controller

The SATA storage controller

Now you can boot with the ESXi ISO installation the new virtual machine and follow the setup procedure…

ESXi - boot from the CD

ESXi – boot from the CD

ESXi - the installer is loading

ESXi – the installer is loading

ESXi - the setup screen is loading some services

ESXi – the setup screen is loading some services

The setup is nagging about the not supported hardware. Hit Enter.

The setup is nagging about the not supported hardware. Hit Enter.

Select the virtual HardDisk for ESXi

Select the virtual HardDisk for ESXi

Choose the keyboard layout

Choose the keyboard layout

Select the root password

Select the root password

The setup is nagging about the missing hardware virtualization, hit enter and ignore the warning

The setup is nagging about the missing hardware virtualization, hit enter and ignore the warning

The installation will take some time, be patient

The installation will take some time, be patient

The installation is complete

The installation is complete

After the reboot this will be the default ESXi screen

After the reboot this will be the default ESXi screen

Now, open your browser and go to the web administration interface (the IP address of the ESXi server, the second line on the yellow half screen). Install the vSphere Client to manage your brand new ESXi virtual installation 😉

The vSphere Client with the installation of Windows XP going on...

The vSphere Client with the installation of Windows XP going on…

NOTE: for this experiment I have used VirtualBox 4.1.22 installed on my Ubuntu Linux.

 


3 Comments

tim carroll · May 8, 2013 at 21:23

I have read a few of these same posts – no one ever actually tells you how to create a vmguest once they install esxi –

    Håkan Rohdin · May 30, 2013 at 20:12

    For creating a guest you need VMware vSpere Client. Install it on your normal PC and connect using the IP you gave your ESXi host, the user name root and whatever password you selected. This will give you an easy to use GUI.

Gnana · August 25, 2013 at 08:12

I have configured EsXi 5.1, Vcenter in the Virtual box. But iam unable to ceate any vm inside the ESXi. Can any one help me

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