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I have DIY a system in 2010. But have never use it as a bare metal ESXi server. Was very used to Windows and end up having Windows 7 with workstation 7. However, there are limitation.

  1. You do not learn as much due to the fact that commands in Tech Support Mode is your friend in VMware World.
  2. Windows 7 is not resource unintensive, so part of my memory is used to run the OS.
  3. Workstation 7 has a USB service which indirectly affecting some of my USB device e.g. Mobile Broadband Dongle from Huawei.
I decided to rebuild my system with a baremetal ESXi installed. Bare in mind my is a DIY PC which I seek quite a bit of reference from ESX / ESXi 4.0 Whitebox HCL.

My whitebox specification
  • ASUS P5Q-E motherboard
  • Core2Quad 9550
  • Kingston DDR2 800MHz 16GB Max (4 x 4GB)
  • 2 x WD 500GB
  • 1 x Seagate 160GB (my old HDD)
  • XFXForce video card (was using this to play some games)
  • Intel GT 1Gigabit card
  • LG IDE DVDRW Rom
  • Thermaltake casing
  • Silverstone 550W PSU
  • 2GB thumbdrive
The disappointing part of my whitebox is that the onboard contains two LAN. Both from Marvell 88e8056 & 88e8001. I refer to the guide Get Marvell 88E8056 working on ESXi 4.1 « Neo-Blog and downloaded the drivers from Using a Marvell LAN card with ESXi 4 | KernelCrash. However was only able to have one LAN working at any one time.

I have yet to test out the stability but will be doing so and update this post so stay tune if you are using Marvell.

In the BIOs I have left everything as default. Turn off the Firewire and enable USB boot as first device.

My intial installation was not able to be complete with my DVDRom it could be the fact that it was IDE. So I ended up using another flash drive and create a boot ESXi installation disc. Using the article Install ESXi 4.1 from a USB stick @ Jonathan Medd's Blog.

However do note to use unetbootin-windows-494.exe version else your flash drive will not be bootable. Seems like the newer version has some bugs. Alternatively you can use refer to
http://www.vm-help.com/esx40i/ESXi_USB_install.php.

Everything went smooth and change my BIOs again and taking out my installable thumbdrive and select my installed thumbdrive as my first boot device.

I met several problem with ESXi 4.1U1. So decide to installed ESXi 4.0 instead which previously done it with no problem when I bought the whitebox. After I used the vCLI to upgrade directly to ESXi 4.1U1. And everything was smooth.

I have thus setup a vSphere environment.
I will update this post again.
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