ESX4 RC running inside a Virtual Machine

I’ve been doing some experimenting today. To see if you I could run ESX 4 RC1 inside a VM, on another ESX host. Madness I guess but I was curious to see if it would work – and it just did first time, without any fancy foot work on my behalf. 

I gave my virtual ESX host 4GB RAM and 4 vCPU (although I’m sure I could get away with less), and 36GB virtual disk. I’m sure I can get away with much small disk foot print – but as it was my first attempt I didn’t want to get halfway through the install and run out of space. The virtual machine type I used was Red Hat Enterprise 5 (64-bit). My physical CPUs are the old AMD Opteron 265′s – so I thought I was best of running the ESX virtual host as 64-bit guest.

My main reason for doing this is that I have problem with my HP ILO v1 on my HP Proliant DL385 G1s. Whenever I use virtual media to install ESX4, the CD becomes disconnected for no apparent reason. This has been an issue for sometime, but normally doesn’t trouble me because I use the UDA 1.4 get ESX3.x.x on to these systems, and the UDA 2.0 (Beta) to get ESX4.x.x on to the systems. Scripted installations of ESX4 is topic I’ve been working on for a couple of weeks, but I wanted to collect the default KS.cfg file that created in a manual install. Installing ESX4 in a VM was a work around…

To get the networking to my virtual ESX host, I had to change the vSwitch Security settings to Allow Promiscuous Mode, and then I was up and running – my virtual ESX

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host is now listed in vCenter4.

Anyway, I thought this might be of interest to people who lack hardware – perhaps one big ESX host running lots of mini-ESX virtual hosts could be used in a lab environment. The next thing I would like to see is if I can VMotion it – but like a total muppet I put the virtual ESX host on local storage! DOH!

This was first published in March 2009

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