Build a home lab using your local PC – Part 1 – Installing ESXi servers on local PC

After sourcing the parts and physically building the server, the time has come to build my home lab. I prepared a step-by-step video:

Watch this step-by-step instruction video, subscribe to my channel: https://bit.ly/3vY16C

Preparation:

  1. IP scheme
  2. Hypevisor
  3. ESXi ISO

Process:

  1. IP scheme:

I prepared the IP scheme beforehand, of course, you can leave IP assigning to DHCP, however, it makes sense for ESXi servers to have static IP and for you to have control over it.

This is my IP scheme

aso-esx-n001 - 192.168.1.101
aso-esx-n002 - 192.168.1.102
aso-dns-ap01 - 192.168.1.53
aso-vcsa-aps01 - 192.168.1.120

*aso-dns-wp01 - 192.168.1.153

acronims:

aso -> angrysysops

esx -> ESXi

n001 -> node 001

ap -> appliance

aps -> appliance server

wp -> windows

  1. Hypevasior:

As a hypervisor, I decided to use VMware Workstation 16 PRO. You can get a free trial for 23 days or buy a full version for around 180 euro in EMEA or $199 in the US. You can get a free license if you will receive the vExpert award

  1. ESXi ISO:
  • Go to Google or any of your favorite search engine and type : vmware esxi download
  • Click on the link from VMware
  • Log in to the portal or create an account:
  • Download trial version

The process of ESXi installation:

  • Open VMware Workstation
  • Click on Create New Virtual Machine
  • Click NEXT
  • Choose I will install the operating system later and click NEXT
  • Choose guest operating system as VMware ESX
  • Vesrion: VMware ESXi 7 and later
  • Click NEXT
  • Enter VM name
  • Choose location for your VM
  • Click NEXT
  • Specify disk capacity

NOTE: ESXi 7.0 requires a boot disk of at least 32 GB of persistent storage such as HDD, SSD, or NVMe. Use USB, SD, and non-USB flash media devices only for ESXi boot bank partitions. A boot device must not be shared between ESXi hosts.

Both ESXi servers in my lab are running with a 20 GB boot disk. If I will notice performance degradation once I install VMs I will increase the capacity.

  • Click NEXT
  • On the next page Ready to Create Virtual Machine, click on Customize Hardware.
  • Set up memory
  • Set up CPU
  • Set up network as Bridged
  • Click CLOSE
  • Click FINISH

It will take a moment and our virtual machine will be created. Now we need to edit our newly created VM. If you have a SAN or NAS and you can preset LUN to your ESXi, you can skip this step. However, if you are using your local PC storage, HDD, SDD, M2 then you need to add an additional Hard Drive to your ESXi server for datastore.

  • Click Edit virtual machane settings
  • Click Add…
  • Click on Hard Drive
  • Click NEXT
  • Choose SCSI (Recommended)
  • Click NEXT
  • Create a new virtual disk
  • Click NEXT
  • Specify disk capacity and click NEXT
  • Click FINISH
  • Click OK

Now you can see our VM has two HDD, one for OS and the other one for datastore.

Let’s check our virtual network. Open Virtual Network Editor in VMware Workstation:

  • Click on Change Settings
  • You should see bridged network on the top of the network list.
  • Click on Automatic Settings
  • Choose ONLY your active network controller
  • Click OK
  • Click OK again

Now it is time to install ESXi onto our VM:

  • Click CD/DVD (IDE) on the VM page
  • Attach ESXi ISO
  • Power on this virtual machine

The installation process will kick in. It will take a few moments. Once the installer is loaded you will see a prompt on the screen welcoming you to VMware ESXi 7.0.3 installation.

  • Click ENTER to contiune
  • Of course next screen is End User License Agreement (EULA) which you need to accept by pressing F11
  • Installer will scan for available disks
  • Choose OS disk and press ENTER to contiune
  • Select the keyboard layout and press ENTER to contiune
  • Enter a root password, the password is not set up. On this stage you have to come up with a password for root
  • Press ENTER to contiune
  • Confirm instalation by pressing F11
  • Seatback and relax, the installation will take a while. Once finished you will see Installation Complete screen.
  • Press ENTER to reboot

After the reboot our ESXi is ready. Now we need to configure it, do a bit of clean up with networks, and create a datastore. All of this will be in the next article.

If you do not want to wait, please see the whole process in this video:

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