At this stage, I am not to be bothered with multiple ways of installing ESXi since this is only to be the main server which will host other virtual ESXi Virtual Machines – hence the importance of having a stable server. Below is a diagram of what the end-result is going to be:



Before deploying most products nowadays, it is important we understand the licensing model otherwise we could get in trouble down the line. VMware has already done a brilliant job at summarising what features are available under which license.

Please refer to the Licensing Page.

To install ESXi, I have chosen the method I am most familiar with – interactive installation. The installation process was straight forward as expected. However, once installed, I noticed that my built-in (motherboard) NIC was not being seen. After further “googlestigation” 🙂 I found that VMware removed the Realtek drivers from the installation image.

Next I had to find a way of adding the actual drivers – I know this can be done via .VIB packages. Again, Google came to my rescue – I found this excellent website which provided a quick way of sorting this out.

I did not add the drivers to the .ISO image since the NIC drivers are only needed to the physical server. Furthermore, apparently, once you add these particular drivers, Update Manager won’t like it.

Since I will be using the images again, who knows maybe even via Update Manager, I chose to add the drivers to the running installation.

Once the host has been restarted, bingo! All NICs are now showing nicely.


Obviously, the solution here is not one supported by VMware! Do I really care about that? 🙂


  • Apply license (not the case here since I am using evaluation mode, for now)
  • Setup DNS and NTP (ntp important since all systems within the vSphere domain ought to be in sync to avoid problems such as authentication which go hand-in-hand with certificates)
  • Setup Networking – some properties of the default management vSwitch0 have also been changed to reject MAC address changes and Forged Transmits (best practice!)


  • Setup the five data stores:


  • Downloaded and deployed VCSA (vCenter Server Appliance) and configured SSO & Authentication)
  • Installed the web- and windows- clients for management and the Client Integration plug-in (web-client only)

At this stage, I can say I’m ready to start deploying the actual VCAP Lab – adding virtual hosts, adding the vCenter, adding the virtual storage, etc.

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Thank you,
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