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Minimum system requirements for installing ESXi/ESX (1003661)

Symptoms

  • ESXi/ESX installation may error before completion
  • ESXi/ESX installation fails to complete
  • Unable to complete ESXi/ESX installation

Purpose

This article is to help you ensure that your hardware meets the minimum system requirements for an ESXi/ESX Installation. Failure to satisfy these requirements will result in your installation not completing.

These are the minimum requirements. For enhanced performance, you should scale your server appropriately.

Resolution

ESXi 5.1

Supported server platform

For a list of supported platforms, see the VMware Compatibility Guide.

64-bit Processor
  • ESXi 5.1 will install and run only on servers with 64-bit x86 CPUs.
  • ESXi 5.1 requires a host machine with at least two cores.
  • ESXi 5.1 supports only LAHF and SAHF CPU instructions.
  • ESXi 5.1 requires the NX/XD bit to be enabled for the CPU in the BIOS.
  • ESXi 5.1 supports a broad range of x64 multicore processors. For a complete list of supported processors, see the VMware Compatibility Guide.

RAM
  • 2GB RAM minimum
  • Provide at least 8GB of RAM to take full advantage of ESXi 5.1 features and run virtual machines in typical production environments.

Hardware Virtualization Support
  • To support 64-bit virtual machines, support for hardware virtualization (Intel VT-x or AMD RVI) must be enabled on x64 CPUs.
  • To determine whether your server has 64-bit VMware support, download the CPU Identification Utility from vmware.com.
Network Adapters
  • One or more Gigabit or 10Gb Ethernet controllers. For a list of supported network adapter models, see the VMware Compatibility Guide.

SCSI Adapter, Fibre Channel Adapter or Internal RAID Controller

Any combination of one or more of the following controllers:

  • Basic SCSI controllers. Adaptec Ultra-160 or Ultra-320, LSI Logic Fusion-MPT, or most NCR/Symbios SCSI.
  • RAID controllers. Dell PERC (Adaptec RAID or LSI MegaRAID), HP Smart Array RAID, or IBM (Adaptec) ServeRAID controllers.

Installation and Storage
  • SCSI disk or a local, non-network, RAID LUN with unpartitioned space for the virtual machines.
  • For Serial ATA (SATA), a disk connected through supported SAS controllers or supported on-board SATA controllers. SATA disks will be considered remote, not local. These disks will not be used as a scratch partition by default because they are seen as remote. Note: You cannot connect a SATA CD-ROM device to a virtual machine on an ESXi 5.1 host. To use the SATA CD-ROM device, you must use IDE emulation mode.
  • Supported storage system:  ESXi 5.1 supports installing on and booting from these storage systems:
    • SATA disk drives. SATA disk drives connected behind supported SAS controllers or supported on-board SATA controllers.
      • LSI1068E (LSISAS3442E)
      • LSI1068 (SAS 5)
      • IBM ServeRAID 8K SAS controller 
      • Smart Array P400/256 controller 
      • Dell PERC 5.0.1 controller

  • SATA disk drives. Supported on-board SATA include:
    • Intel ICH9
    • NVIDIA MCP55
    • ServerWorks HT1000
Note: ESXi does not support using local, internal SATA drives on the host server to create VMFS datastores that are shared across multiple ESXi hosts.
  • Serial Attached SCSI (SAS) disk drives supported for installing ESXi 5.1 and for storing virtual machines on VMFS partitions.
  • Dedicated SAN disk on Fibre Channel or iSCSI
  • For a list of USB devices supported for installing ESXi 5.1, see the VMware Compatibility Guide.
  • You can install and boot ESXi from an FCoE LUN using VMware software FCoE adapters and network adapters with FCoE offload capabilities. See the vSphere Storage documentation for information about installing and booting ESXi with software FCoE.

ESXi 5.0

64-bit Processor

  • ESXi 5.0 installs and run only on servers with 64-bit x86 CPUs.
  • ESXi 5.0 requires a host machine with at least two cores.
  • ESXi 5.0 supports only LAHF and SAHF CPU instructions.
  • ESXi 5.0 supports a broad range of x64 multicore processors. For a complete list of supported processors, see the VMware Compatibility Guide.

RAM

  • 2GB RAM minimum. 
  • VMware recommends 8GB of RAM to take full advantage of ESXi features and run virtual machines in typical production environments.

Network Adapters

One or more Gigabit or 10Gb Ethernet controllers. For a list of supported network adapter models, see the VMware Compatibility Guide.

SCSI Adapter, Fibre Channel Adapter or Internal RAID Controller

Any combination of one or more of the following controllers:

  • Basic SCSI controllers. Adaptec Ultra-160 or Ultra-320, LSI Logic Fusion-MPT, or most NCR/Symbios SCSI.
  • RAID controllers. Dell PERC (Adaptec RAID or LSI MegaRAID), HP Smart Array RAID, or IBM (Adaptec) ServeRAID controllers.

Installation and Storage

  • SCSI disk or a local, non-network, RAID LUN with unpartitioned space for the virtual machines.
  • For Serial ATA (SATA), a disk connected through supported SAS controllers or supported on-board SATA controllers. SATA disks will be considered remote, not local. These disks will not be used as a scratch partition by default because they are seen as remote.

ESXi 5.0 supports installing on and booting from the following storage systems:

  • SATA disk drives. SATA disk drives connected behind supported SAS controllers or supported on-board
  • SATA controllers. Supported SAS controllers include:

    • LSI1068E (LSISAS3442E)
    • LSI1068 (SAS 5)
    • IBM ServeRAID 8K SAS controller
    • Smart Array P400/256 controller
    • Dell PERC 5.0.1 controller

  • Supported on-board SATA include:

    • Intel ICH9
    • NVIDIA MCP55
    • ServerWorks HT1000

  • Serial Attached SCSI (SAS) disk drives. Supported for installing ESXi 5.0 and for storing virtual machines on VMFS partitions.
  • Dedicated SAN disk on Fibre Channel or iSCSI
  • USB devices. Supported for installing ESXi 5.0. For a list of supported USB devices, see the VMware Compatibility Guide.

Make sure your hardware is compliant by referring to the Hardware Compatibility Guide.

For additional information, see vSphere Installation and Setup 5.0.

ESX/ESXi 4.x

Using ESX/ESXi requires specific hardware and system resources.

64-bit Processor

  • VMware ESX/ESXi 4.x only installs and run on servers with 64-bit x86 CPUs.
  • Known 64-bit processors:

    • All AMD Opterons support 64 bit.
    • All Intel Xeon 3000/3200, 3100/3300, 5100/5300, 5200/5400, 7100/7300, and 7200/7400 support 64-bit.
    • All Intel Nehalem support 64-bit.

RAM

  • 2GB RAM minimum

Network Adapters

One or more network adapters. Supported network adapters include:

  • Broadcom NetXtreme 570x gigabit controllers
  • Intel PRO 1000 adapters

SCSI Adapter, Fibre Channel Adapter, or Internal RAID Controller

One or more of these controllers (any combination can be used):

  • Basic SCSI controllers are Adaptec Ultra-160 and Ultra-320, LSI Logic Fusion-MPT, and most NCR/Symbios SCSI controllers.
  • Fibre Channel, see the Hardware Compatibility Guide.
  • RAID adapters supported are HP Smart Array, Dell Perc (Adaptec RAID and LSI MegaRAID), and IBM (Adaptec) ServeRAID controllers.

Installation and Storage

  • SCSI disk, Fibre Channel LUN, or RAID LUN with unpartitioned space. In a minimum configuration, this disk or RAID is shared between the service console and the virtual machines.
  • For hardware iSCSI, a disk attached to an iSCSI controller, such as the QLogic qla405x. Software iSCSI is not supported for booting or installing ESX.
  • Serial attached SCSI (SAS).
  • For Serial ATA (SATA), a disk connected through supported SAS controllers or supported on-board SATA controllers. SATA disk drives connected behind supported SAS controllers or supported on-board SATA controllers.
  • Supported SAS controllers include:

    • LSI1068E (LSISAS3442E)
    • LSI1068 (SAS 5)
    • IBM ServeRAID 8K SAS controller
    • Smart Array P400/256 controller
    • Dell PERC 5.0.1 controller

  • Supported on-board SATA controllers include:

    • Intel ICH9
    • Nvidia MCP55
    • ServerWorks HT1000

When installing ESX on SATA drives, consider these points:

  • Ensure that your SATA drives are connected through supported SAS controllers or supported onboard SATA controllers.
  • Do not use SATA disks to create VMFS datastores shared across multiple ESX hosts.

ATA and IDE disk drives – ESX supports installing and booting on either an ATA drive or ATA RAID is supported, but ensure that your specific drive controller is included in the supported hardware. IDE drives are supported for ESX installation and VMFS creation.

Make sure your hardware is compliant by referring to the Hardware Compatibility Guide.

For additional information, see Installing ESX 4.0 and vCenter 4.0 best practices (1009080) and Installing ESXi/ESX 4.1 and vCenter Server 4.1 best practices (1022101).

ESX 3.5.x

The hardware requirements for ESX 3.5.x are the same as those listed in the ESX 3.0.x section, with the following additions.

  • SATA disks are now supported.

    • SATA disk drives, plugged into dual SATA/SAS controllers, are supported for installing ESX 3 and for storing virtual machines on VMFS partitions.
    • Ensure that your SATA drives are connected through supported SATA/SAS controllers:

      • mptscsi_pcie — LSI1068E (LSISAS3442E)
      • mptscsi_pcix — LSI1068 (SAS 5)
      • aacraid_esx30 — IBM serveraid 8k SAS controller
      • cciss — Smart Array P400/256 controller
      • megaraid_sas—Dell PERC 5.0.1 controller

Note: Sharing VMFS datastores on SATA disks across multiple ESX 3 hosts is not supported

For more information, see the ESX 3.5 Installation Guide.

ESX 3.0.x

You need these hardware and system resources to install and use ESX 3:

  • At least two processors:

    • 1500 MHz Intel Xeon and above, or AMD Opteron (32bit mode) for ESX
    • 1500 MHz Intel Xeon and above, or AMD Opteron (32bit mode) for Virtual SMP
    • 1500 MHz Intel Viiv or AMD A64 x2 dual-core processors

  • 1GB RAM minimum

  • One or more Ethernet controllers. Supported controllers include:

    • Broadcom NetXtreme 570x Gigabit controllers
    • Intel PRO/100 adapters
      For best performance and security, use separate Ethernet controllers for the service console and the virtual machines.
      Note: The 3Com 3c990 driver does not support all revisions of the 3c990. For example, 3CR990B is incompatible.

  • A SCSI adapter, Fibre Channel adapter, or internal RAID controller:

    • Basic SCSI controllers are: Adaptec Ultra-160 and Ultra-320, LSI Logic Fusion-MPT, and most NCR/Symbios SCSI controllers.
    • RAID adapters supported are: HP Smart Array, Dell PercRAID (Adaptec RAID and LSI MegaRAID), and IBM (Adaptec) ServeRAID controllers.
    • Fibre Channel adapters supported are Emulex and QLogic host bus adapters (HBAs).

  • A SCSI disk, Fibre Channel LUN, or RAID LUN with unpartitioned space. In a minimum configuration, this disk or RAID is shared between the service console and the virtual machines.

  • To use iSCSI - A disk attached to an iSCSI controller, such as the QLogic qla4010.

Notes:

  • SATA drives are not supported either for installing ESX or for storing virtual machines on VMFS partitions, even if they are masked by hardware as either IDE or SCSI disks.
  • The minimum supported LUN capacity for VMFS3 is 1200MB.

This information can be found in the ESX 3.0.x Installation Guide.

ESX 2.5.x

You need these hardware and system resources to install and use ESX 2.5.x:

  • A minimum of two and a maximum of sixteen processors:

    • Intel 700MHz Pentium III Xeon and above or AMD Opteron (32bit mode) for ESX
    • Intel 900MHz Pentium III Xeon and above or AMD Opteron (32bit mode) for Virtual SMP

  • 512MB RAM minimum

  • Two or more Ethernet controllers. Supported controllers include:

    • Broadcom NetXtreme 570x and 571x Gigabit controllers
    • Intel PRO/100 adapters
    • Intel PRO/1000 adapters
    • 3Com 9xx based adapters

  • LSI SAS adapters
  • A SCSI adapter, Fibre Channel adapter, or internal RAID controller.
  • A SCSI disk, Fibre Channel LUN, or RAID LUN with unpartitioned space.

    In a minimum configuration, this disk or RAID is shared between the service console and the virtual machines.

This information can be found in the ESX 2.5 Installation Guide.

Additional Information

For information on disk space requirements, see Recommended disk or LUN sizes for VMware ESX/ESXi installations (1026500).
 
For more information, see the ESXi Hardware Requirements section in the vSphere Installation and Setup guide.

Tags

esx-hardware-requirements-incompatiable install-esx install-esx-fails esx-minimum-system-requirements

See Also

This Article Replaces

SAS SATA PATA IDE support (1001427)

Update History

06/28/2011 - Linked article 1026500 for disk space requirements. 09/22/2011 - Added requirements for ESXi 5.0, added links wherever necessary 01/25/2013 - Added requirements for ESXi 5.1, updated product list

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