ID #1028

How to prepare a ESXi VM so that it can be used from CD

Base installation:

Download and extract it on a host with Workstation 6.5 - this can be MOA or legacy Windows.
Extract the archive - you will find a directory like this:


This is the vmx-file:

config.version = "8"
displayName = "esxi_35u2"
ethernet0.connectionType = "hostonly"
ethernet0.present = "TRUE"
ethernet0.virtualDev = "e1000"
ethernet1.present = "TRUE"
ethernet1.virtualDev = "e1000"
ethernet0.wakeOnPcktRcv = "FALSE"
extendedConfigFile = "esxi_35u2.vmxf"
floppy0.present = "FALSE"
ft.secondary0.enabled = "TRUE"
guestOS = "other"
ide1:0.deviceType = "cdrom-image"
ide1:0.fileName = "Z:\VMware-VMvisor-InstallerCD-3.5.0_Update_2-103909.i386.iso"
ide1:0.present = "TRUE"
mem.hotadd = "TRUE"
memsize = "1024"
mks.enable3d = "false"
nvram = "esxi_35u2.nvram"
pciBridge0.present = "TRUE"
pciBridge4.functions = "8"
pciBridge4.present = "TRUE"
pciBridge4.virtualDev = "pcieRootPort"
pciBridge5.functions = "8"
pciBridge5.present = "TRUE"
pciBridge5.virtualDev = "pcieRootPort"
pciBridge6.functions = "8"
pciBridge6.present = "TRUE"
pciBridge6.virtualDev = "pcieRootPort"
pciBridge7.functions = "8"
pciBridge7.present = "TRUE"
pciBridge7.virtualDev = "pcieRootPort"
roamingVM.exitBehavior = "go"
scsi0.present = "TRUE"
scsi0.virtualDev = "lsilogic"
scsi0:0.present = "TRUE"
tools.upgrade.policy = "useGlobal"
virtualHW.productCompatibility = "hosted"
virtualHW.version = "7"
vmci0.present = "TRUE"
monitor_control.restrict_backdoor = "true"
monitor.virtual_exec = "hardware"

scsi0:0.fileName = "basedisk\esxi_35u2.vmdk"

Nothing special in the vmx only the last line !

scsi0:0.fileName = "basedisk\esxi_35u2.vmdk"

Using the vmdk in a subdirectory is essential for this procedure to work !

Now open this vmx in Workstation - adjust the path to your ESXi-setup-iso and install ESXi.
After successful installation reboot and configure basics like root-password. When done shutdown the VM.


Create snapshot:

Use Workstation MENU > VM > Snapshot > Take snapshot

You now should have a directory that looks like this:

Now that we created a snapshot we effectively splitted the VM into two parts.

The big part - the basedisk directory can be used readonly.
The small part - the files in the root of the VM-directory - must be used used with write-access.

Handling this small part which must be writeable is no longer a problem.
We just copy it to the ramdrive and run it from there.

Back to work:
create a zip-archive from the few files in the root - you should then have something like this


You now have the VM wrapped in a way so that is ready to be used from MOA-CD.

Grab the two files:

and copy them to the _sfx_ directory of your MOA-CD or DVD.


after full boot of MOA
extract R:\_sfx_\ to R:\machines\esxi_35u2
create a junction from R:\machines\esxi_35u2\basedisk to R:_sfx_
start the VM by doubleclicking R:\machines\esxi_35u2\esxi_35u2.vmx

Thats all.

CAVEAT: don't mess with the config.ini - in LiveCD usage it is essential NOT to create a named mem-file in ramdrive.

Tags: cd, esxi, MOA

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