VMWare ESXi on Gaming PC

Good morning.  I took on an attempt to install ESXi 6.0 onto a hard drive in my gaming PC.  I ran into a few modifications I needed to make, but luckily nothing too intense.

Starting out, I will rattle off my relevant PC specifications:

  • Intel i5-4690k @ 3.5 GHz
  • Asus Maximus Hero VII BIOS (3103)
  • 32 GB Corsair Vengeance DDR3 1600
  • 500 GB SATA WD Hard Drive (Non-SSD)

OK, so we’ll get started with an EXSi Install CD.  Upon boot up, I did not see any drives I could install to.  At first I thought I had to mark the drive active, since I did a 3-pass wipe of it prior, but that was not the case.  Turns out I had to jump into my BIOS and set my Drive Mode to RAID, instead of SATA that I had it set at.
There is no need to build a RAID array (and in my case, I’m using the Intel Z97 chipset that is the onboard SATA controller on my motherboard).  I am running a test build, otherwise a redundant RAID set should be a priority.

Once the RAID mode is set for your SATA Mode Selection (Under: AdvancedPCH Storage Configuration in my BIOS), you should now see a drive you can install ESXi to.  Also in your BIOS, if you have not already turned on Intel VT-x virtualization support, enable that as well.

Now that we have an install going, set your root password and when the install finishes, reboot.  On my 1st boot up without a network cable plugged in, I got the following message as it stuck in the boot process:

dvfilter-generic-fastpath: loaded successfully

I started to research this and was going to splunk the log files, but I rebooted and it loaded successfully.  As I have experience with supporting and deploying fresh Xen Server installs, this Hypervisor looks nearly identical in ESXi.

Once it boots up, connect to the IP Address by web browser to install the client tools, if you have not done so already.  The tools are sadly, confined to working best in a windows environment for your client software, but there is a web interface as well.  I am currently putting a Kali Linux install on via the Web Interface for EXSi, from my Mac.

That concludes my start to hypervisor online install of EXSi.  My gaming computer picked up another skill as a virtualization server.  I also have a Core 2 Duo refurb I will try the same for, but since that one is an OEM HP Machine, the BIOS features for Hyper-V and RAID support may be absent.