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Best practices for installing ESXi 5.0 (2005099)

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This article provides information about installing ESXi 5.0.

Note: Because each environment is different, many installation decisions require knowledge and understanding beyond the scope of this article. For more information information about your installation, see the vSphere 5.0 Documentation. The documentation contains definitive information. If there is a discrepancy between the documentation and this article, you should assume that the documentation is correct.


When installing ESXi 5.0, ensure that:

  1. Your hardware is compliant on the VMware Compatibility Guide. This includes:

    • System compatibility
    • I/O compatibility (Network and HBA cards)
    • Storage compatibility
    • Backup software compatibility

  2. You have a 64-bit processor. VMware ESXi 5.0 only installs and runs on servers with 64-bit x86 CPUs. It also only supports LAHF and SAHF CPU instructions. For a full list of supported CPU's, see the VMware Compatibility Guide.
  3. ESXi 5.0 requires a host machine with at least two cores.
  4. Intel VT is enabled in the host's BIOS.
  5. You have 2 GB RAM. This is the minimum requirement for installation.
  6. You have one or more Gigabit or 10 GB Ethernet controllers. For a list of supported network adapter models, see the VMware Compatibility Guide.
  7. You have a SCSI disk or a local, non-network, RAID LUN with unpartitioned space for the virtual machines. For Serial ATA (SATA), disk connected through supported SAS controllers or supported on-board SATA controllers. SATA disks are considered remote, not local. These disks are not 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 5.0 host. To use the SATA CD-ROM device, you must use IDE emulation mode.

  8. You are using a supported storage system. ESXi 5.0 supports installing on and booting from these storage systems:

    • SATA disk drives. Supported on-board SATA drives include:

      • Intel ICH9
      • NVIDIA MCP55
      • ServerWorks HT1000

        Note: Sharing VMFS datastores on SATA disks across multiple ESXi 5.0 hosts is not supported.

    • SATA disk drives connected behind supported SAS 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

  9. You have Serial Attached SCSI (SAS) disk drives. These are supported for installing ESXi 5.0 and for storing virtual machines on VMFS partitions.
  10. You have dedicated SAN disk on Fiber Channel or iSCSI.
  11. You have a USB/SD device. There is a limited support for installing ESXi to a USB/SD device. For more information, see VMware support for USB/SD devices used for installing VMware ESXi (1010574).

    vSphere 5.0 supports booting ESXi hosts from the Unified Extensible Firmware Interface (UEFI). With UEFI, you can boot systems from hard drives, CD-ROM drives, or USB media. Network booting or provisioning with VMware Auto Deploy requires the legacy BIOS firmware and is not available with UEFI.


    • ESXi can boot from a disk larger than 2 TB if the system firmware and the firmware on any add-in card that you are using support it. For more information, see the vendor documentation.
    • Changing the boot type from legacy BIOS to UEFI after you install ESXi 5.0 may cause the host to fail to boot. In this case, the host displays an error message similar to:

      Not a VMware boot bank. Changing the host boot type between legacy BIOS and UEFI is not supported after you install ESXi 5.0.

  12. You detach the fiber before proceeding with the installation, if you are installing ESXi on the local disks and if a fiber attached SAN is connected to the ESXi host. If you do not disconnect the fiber, you may inadvertently choose an HBA adapter as the primary boot partition, which can result in the loss of data on the LUNs attached to the HBA adapter. ESXi 5.0 now identifies if you are installing on to VMFS volume. However, it is still advisable you perform this step.

    Note: Do not disable HBA cards in the BIOS.

Additional Information



See Also

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  • 51 Ratings