How to Install ESXi for HomeLab

ESXi 7 is a bare-metal hypervisor that provides virtualization for x86-64 architecture servers. It is part of the VMware vSphere family, and it is used to create, manage, and run virtual machines on a single physical server. This guide will walk you through the steps to install ESXi 7 on your home lab setup.

Before you start, make sure you have the following:

  1. A compatible server: The server should have a minimum of 2 CPUs, 8 GB RAM, and a minimum of 60 GB of storage.
  2. A bootable USB drive: The ESXi 7 ISO image needs to be burned to a bootable USB drive. You can use the “Rufus” tool to burn the ISO to the USB drive.
  3. A keyboard, mouse and monitor: For the installation process, you will need a keyboard, mouse, and monitor connected to the server.
  4. Network connectivity: The server should be connected to a network that provides internet connectivity for downloading updates and packages.

Step 1: Boot from the USB Drive

  1. Insert the bootable USB drive into the server and power it on.
  2. During the boot process, press the key to enter the Boot Menu (usually F11 or F12).
  3. Select the USB drive from the Boot Menu and press enter to boot from it.

Step 2: Start the Installation Process

  1. On the initial screen, select the language and keyboard layout.
  2. Click “Next” and select the option “Install”.
  3. The installation wizard will then check for compatibility of the hardware with ESXi 7. If all is good, it will proceed to the next step.

Step 3: Partition the Disk

  1. Select the disk that you want to install ESXi 7 on and click “Next”.
  2. You can either use the entire disk or create a custom partition.
  3. If you are using the entire disk, ESXi 7 will automatically create a partition for itself.
  4. If you are creating a custom partition, select the disk and click “Edit”.
  5. In the next screen, select “Custom” and create a new partition of at least 60 GB.

Step 4: Configure Network Settings

  1. ESXi 7 needs to be connected to a network for downloading updates and packages.
  2. In the next screen, select the network adapter that you want to use and configure the network settings.
  3. If you are using DHCP, the IP address, subnet mask, and gateway will be automatically assigned.
  4. If you are using a static IP, enter the IP address, subnet mask, gateway, and DNS servers.

Step 5: Complete the Installation

  1. Review the configuration and click “Finish” to start the installation.
  2. The installation process will take several minutes to complete.
  3. Once the installation is complete, remove the USB drive and reboot the server.

Step 6: Connect to the ESXi 7 Host

  1. After rebooting, the server will start running ESXi 7.
  2. You can connect to the ESXi 7 host using a web browser.
  3. Enter the IP address of the ESXi 7 host in the web browser and press enter.
  4. The ESXi 7 host will display the login screen. Enter the username and password that you set during the installation process.
  5. Once logged in, you can start creating virtual machines

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