VMware ESXi is a type-1 hypervisor part of the VMware vSphere suite. As a type-1 hypervisor, ESXi can run on top of the host’s hardware. Unlike other hypervisors, where you need an operating system to run the hypervisor, VMware ESXi installs all necessary components on the system’s hardware.
Less experienced virtualization admins might struggle to download ESXi since the bare-metal hypervisor is part of the vSphere suite. That’s why we’re here to give you practical ways to download VMware ESXi and how to install ESXi image.
With that said, let’s start.
How to Download VMware ESXi?
We mentioned that ESXi is part of the VMware vSphere Hypervisor suite. As such, the first step is to go to VMware’s website and download the product directly from there. As a side note, you can download VMware vSphere Hypervisor ESXi for free and with a 60-day free trial.
Allow us to show you the steps on how to do that:
- Open your browser and go to www.vmware.com to download the “VMware vSphere” product. You might need to create an account;
- Click on “License & Download” to download the hypervisor. If you see the “please log in or create an account message” (as sown below), navigate to the left side of the screen and either log in or create a new account;
- Fill in the necessary form to register your account with VMware Customer Connect;
- On the License Information page, you will need to add the license key for the 60-day free trial for VMware ESXi;
- Once finished, an ESXi iso image will download to your computer.
These are the steps necessary to download ESXi. In addition to the VMware vSphere Hypervisor suite, you can also try other VMware products, such as Vmware NSX, VMware vSAN, and more.
VMware ESXi comes with other components necessary to run the hypervisor. Some of these components install automatically, while you will need to use the vSphere client to run plug-ins for others. Other components of ESXi include VMware vRealize Operations, VMware Tools, VMware vSphere integrated containers, and others.
Key Features of VMware ESXi
So, what are you getting with VMware ESXi? Here is a brief overview:
- VMware VMkernel – a microkernel that runs on top of the computer hardware and runs guest operating systems;
- Very small file size of 150 MB – it is the world’s smallest hypervisor but one of the most powerful type-1 hypervisors on the market;
- Due to its relatively small size, installation of ESXi is easy and fast – the ability to set up a powerful virtualization infrastructure in a matter of minutes;
- vSphere Command Line Interface (CLI) – a substitute for the build-in HTML 5 browser support interface;
- Build-in encryption – more secure than other hypervisors with role-based access and high availability (HA) for paid version;
- High scalability – a single ESXi host can run on 128 vCPUs;
- Memory ballooning – a feature that allows you to relocate unused resources from virtual machines to VMs that require more resources;
These features make VMware ESXi a powerful hypervisor to set up your virtual infrastructure. With that said, what are the installation steps for VMware ESXi?
How to Install VMware ESXi?
You can install VMware ESXi through our steps. But before that, we have to mention a few prerequisites:
- Make sure to have the ESXi iso downloaded on your computer or server. To check where you’ve downloaded the file image, navigate to your downloads folder;
- Allocate a partition of your drive for the ESXi host. If not, the hypervisor will format the device you’ll use for the host;
- Make sure to have the ESXi iso on a bootable medium – CD or bootable USB drive;
- Boot your computer or server with the bootable medium.
Assuming you’ve got all that ready, let’s see how to install VMware ESXi.
- Allow your server or computer to boot with ESXi. Wait for the initial installation process to finish and for the main components to load;
- Wait for the “Welcome to VMware ESXi 7.0 Installation” message to appear on your screen. Click “Enter” to continue the installation process;
- Accept the “End User License Agreement (EULA);”
- In the “Disk Installation Page,” select the available storage device. A word of caution, make sure to create a partition on your drive as otherwise, the hypervisor will format the selected drive;
- Select the version for the keyboard layout and enter a root password (ESXi login – master password);
- Confirm to commence the installation;
- Wait for the installation to complete and reboot the server;
- Click F2 to customize the ESXi system. Go through the steps and customize components such as network adapter, ESXi login, VLAN, IPv4, DNS, etc.;
- You will be given a static web page (IP address) to log in to ESXi. Open a web browser from another computer on the same network and navigate to the IP address of the ESXi host;
- Log in to ESXi with your username and password successfully log in to ESXi.
The steps to download and install VMware ESXi are straightforward, and our guide offers a complete walkthrough of the steps. With an ESXi host installed on your computer or server, you can now try ESXi and explore all the available features and capabilities of the hypervisor.