Virtualization Technology: Building a Virtualized Testbed on the Cheap - Part IV: ESXi Installation on a USB Flash Drive
Building a Virtualized Testbed on the Cheap - Part IV: ESXi Installation on a USB Flash Drive
by Andrew Garcia
Download and License ESX
The ESXi installer is freely downloadable from www.vmware.com. Users indicate the maximum number of physical hosts on which ESXi will be installed (up to 999), and then VMware will e-mail registration information. Upon receipt of the e-mail, click on the Activate button to get a link to the download of the standard ISO image.
Extracting from the ISO
Using 7-Zip (free from www.7-zip.org), extract all files from the ESXi ISO image. Within that data, find and uncompress install.tgz, then uncompress install.tar found therein as well.
Extract ESXi Image
From there, navigate to the /usr/lib/vmware/installer folder and then uncompress the file VMWare-VMvisor-big-3.5.0_Update_3-123629.i386.dd. Note: The version number will likely differ with a different version of ESXi. This will free up the ESXi image, called VMware-VMvisor-big-3.5.0_Update_3-123629.i386.dd.
Create USB Boot Drive
Using WinImage (free 30-day trial at www.winimage.com), blast the image onto a 1GB USB stick. From the WinImage Disk menu, select Restore Virtual Hard Disk Image on Physical drive, select the USB stick to use, then find the .dd file extracted previously.
Formatting the Drive
It takes 4 to 5 minutes to copy ESXi to the USB stick. Once complete, this screen disappears and there will be no on-screen indication whether the transfer was successful. Move the USB stick to the virtualization host and boot the machine.
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