HOW TO: Install and Configure VMware vSphere Hypervisor 7.0 (ESXi 7.0U2a)

HOW TO: Install and Configure VMware vSphere Hypervisor 7.0 (7.0u2a), Step by Step Tutorial with screenshots. From Download, Checking Media, to Completed Hypervisor Installation. Please check the Hardware Compatibility list before installation.

In my previous Experts Exchange Articles, most have featured Basic and Intermediate VMware and Virtualisation Topics.

If you would like to read my Basic VMware articles, they are listed at the end of this article for your convenience.

This article will show you how to install and configure the VMware vSphere Hypervisor 7.0 on a computer. VMware vSphere Hypervisor 7.0 is also known as 7.0u2a.

A full list of the 7.0u2a Hardware Requirements can be found in the VMware 7.0u2a Install Guide.

Check the VMware Hardware Compatibility Lists (HCL), to discover if your computer is certified for use with 7.0u2a.

If your computer is not listed on the VMware HCL, it may still be possible to install and run VMware 7.0u2a on your laptop, desktop, or server. The HCL exists because the server vendor and VMware have certified and tested 7.0u2a will function correctly, on the servers listed on the HCL.

Andy’s Golden Nugget#1 – Many of the older processors, e.g. Xeons 5 series have been removed from 7.0u2a. So ESXi will not even install now, try ESXi 6.0. You will also need a larger USB flash drive or SD card, as the minimum is now 8GB.

1. Register with and Download VMware vSphere Hypervisor 7.0

Open the following link in your web browser Download VMware vSphere Hypervisor 7.0

Click the License and Download Tab.

Click Create an Account, to Create an Account and Login to the VMware Download Center. VMware will email you an Activation link which needs to be opened to activate your account.

The following page will be displayed when you have successfully logged into the VMware Download Center.

Pay special attention to the FREE License information which is displayed, and record the License Number. You will need it later on in this article.

Click the download link for VMware vSphere Hypervisor (ESXi ISO) image (Includes VMware Tools) to download the software required to install 7.0u2a. The filename you want to download is called VMware-VMvisor-Installer-7.0U2a-17867351.x86_64.iso. The clue is in the word VMvisor installer; many questions get posted to Experts Exchange because the wrong file has been downloaded and burnt to a CDROM.

The eight-digit number 15843807 indicates the Build number of ESXi, and this number will increase if your patch your host ESXi server. Build 15843807 is the GA release of 7.0u2a. GA – General availability or general acceptance (GA) release. The first release of 7.0u2a. If you use an OEM (HPE, Dell, Fujitsu, etc.) vendor release of 7.0u2a recommended for vendor servers, your build number may be different. At the time of writing this article, the latest build is Build 15843807. Patching will be covered later in a new article.

Either use the Download Manager or Manually Download button (which uses your web browser). The CD ISO is only 350MB so should not take too long to download. We now have a very fast internet connection, but on our slow internet connection at approx 350 kB/sec, and it takes us approximately 10 minutes to download.

Once the downloads have been completed using your favourite MD5 and SHA1 checksum utility, confirm the downloads have been downloaded correctly, using the published MD5 and SHA1 checksums from the VMware website. We use the MD5 & SHA-1 Checksum Utility 2.1 from Raymond’s WordPress.

Many VMware vSphere Hypervisor 7.0 installations fail due to corrupt downloads.

MD5 Checksum: 220D2E87290F50C3508214CADF66B737
SHA-1 Checksum: 7FDA0401EE1B2F49AAE89043F9B2D509CF7E25DB
SHA-256 Checksum: CF3C8324EDE983F4148DF9EA161D9D6FCCF40105AED204F5F59C1C5BD3377517
SHA-512 Checksum: 34CDBF8CF0D9AADAE97F599521C7B50D30BA797D1E7E1423CEEBDF419A3EB1F08BA7FCCC6CFA5B2E57B6E2C14151B0A34C6EC9A9656BD687628BE21D9D4F60E2

2. Installing VMware vSphere Hypervisor 7.0 (7.0u2a)

Write (Burn) the VMware-VMvisor-Installer-7.0.0-15843807.x86_64.iso downloaded in Step 1, to a blank CDROM, using your favourite CD writing software. We use ISO Recorder. If you are using remote server utilities, e.g. HP iLo or Dell iDRAC, you can attach the virtual CDROM drive in the server to the VMware-VMvisor-Installer-7.0.0-15843807.x86_64.iso ISO, so there is no requirement to write a CDROM. You can also use Rufus to “burn” to a USB flash drive.

Andy’s Golden Nugget#2 – You can also use Rufus to “burn” to a USB flash drive, we use and prefer YUMI Pen Drive USB multi-boot creatorbecause we can add many ESXi ISOs to install if you use it to make sure you use Grub(ram)!

This is a step which is often missed, ensure the BIOS BOOT order is set to BOOT from the CDROM Device or ATAPI device in the server; otherwise the computer will not BOOT from the CDROM.

Power on the computer, the computer will BOOT from the CDROM, and the following BOOT screen will be displayed.

The default option is to BOOT ESXi-7.0.0-15843807-standard Installer after 10 seconds, hitting any key will pause the BOOT process. The number 15843807 is the Build Version of the software.

At the Welcome to the VMware 7.0u2a.0 Installation screen Hit Enter to continue the installation.

Press F11 (Function Key 11) to Accept the VMware End User License Agreement (EULA)

The ESXi installer will scan the computer storage controller for available devices to install ESXi.

ESXi can be installed on a USB flash drive, SD card attached to the server, local SATA, local RAID Array, or Fibre Channel or iSCSI LUNs. All of these are supported options. As the footprint for ESXi is very small, only 8GB is required for the ESXi OS installation on a USB flash drive or SD card. If using local SATA, local RAID Array, Fibre Channel or SCSI LUN, or nVME the minimum size is now 32GB.

When prompted select a disk to install ESXi on, in the following example, we have two USB flash drives connected to this server, a two 16GB flash drives. We are going to use HP v165w for the ESXi installation. (the other USB flash drive contains the bootable ESXi installer)

When prompted, select the keyboard layout and hit Enter to continue. The default keyboard layout is US Default. As I am based in the UK, I am going to select the United Kingdom.

When prompted, enter a root password, confirm the password and hit Enter to continue. Please ensure the password is complex, and the root password is recorded. There is no password recovery; if the password is forgotten, there is no method to recover, other than re-install ESXi.

The following will be displayed.

When prompted, confirm the Installation on the selected disk and press F11 (Install)

– Function Key 11

All data will be erased, as the disk will be formatted and partitioned.

The Progress Bar will confirm installation progress.

The installation only takes approximately 5-10 minutes, depending upon the speed of storage. When the installation has completed the following screen will be displayed.

Remove the CDROM installation disk before rebooting. Hit Enter to Reboot. After hitting Enter, the following screen will be displayed, and the computer will reboot.

7.0u2a will operate in evaluation mode for 60 days. This is the same mode as a FULLY LICENSED 7.0u2a server. If you wish to evaluate all the bells and whistles that 7.0u2a has to offer, do not register your FREE license on the server for 60 days, this will allow you to evaluate 7.0u2a server fully. On day 59/60, Apply your FREE license to continue using the product, or you will not be able to power on any virtual machines.

3. Configuring VMware vSphere Hypervisor 7.0 (7.0u2a)

The following screen is displayed when VMware 7.0u2a first boots. Please note the recovery options. It auto-boots after 5 seconds.

Modules and drivers are loaded into ram.

The modules are initialised.

The startup sequence. If using a secure boot UEFI server, the bottom colour is cyan, not yellow!

The server is fully booted when it displays the following screen

The default server configuration is to use DHCP. If you do not have a DHCP server issuing IP Addresses on your network, you will need to assign an IP Address. We recommend you use a static IP Address for your ESXi Host Server and make sure that this IP Address is registered against a DNS A record in DNS.

Press F2 to Customize System, you will be prompted to enter the root username and password. (that you recorded earlier in Step 1.)

Select Configure Management Network to change Network Parameters.

Select IPv4 Configuration.

Set the Static IPv4 address and network configuration, Subnet Mask and Default Gateway, it’s important to set the correct Default Gateway, as this will be used later. Hit Enter to confirm and save the configuration.

Select DNS Configuration, enter the correct DNS information for your network, and enter a hostname for your server. Hit Enter to save the configuration. Pay particular attention to DNS when installing VMware vSphere, many issues are posted to Experts Exchange because there is no DNS, or hostnames are not registered in DNS. Ensure you have a good working DNS before you start an installation.

Select Custom DNS Suffixes.

Enter your DNS suffix (the domain name for your network). Make sure you have created a DNS A Record in your DNS, so that this server can be resolved correctly through forward and reverse lookups.

Hit Enter to save your configuration.

Press Escape. The following screen will appear, select Yes to apply changes.

Press Escape to Logout and return to the console screen.

You will notice on the console screen, the server now has a hostname configured, and correct static IP Address.

Congratulations you have successfully installed and configured VMware vSphere Hypervisor 7.0.

In the next article in the series, we will connect and continue to configure the VMware vSphere Hypervisor 7.0.

Basic VMware Articles Series:

These articles are also applicable to VMware vSphere Hypervisor ESXi 5.0, 5.5, 6.0.