This topic describes the methods for installing ESX and the information required for installation.

The following methods are available for installing VMware ESX software:

Graphical mode – This is the recommended method for interactive installations.

Text mode – Use this method if your video controller does not function properly using graphical mode.

Scripted – An efficient way to deploy multiple hosts. See Installing ESX Using Scripted Mode.

Note

The installer for ESX 4.0 is quite different from the installer for ESX 3.x, particularly in the text and scripted installations.

Data for ESX Installation lists the information that you are prompted for during the installation. For future use, note the values entered. Notes are useful if you ever need to reinstall ESX and reenter the values that you originally chose.

Data for ESX Installation

Data

Required or Optional

Default

Comments

Keyboard layout

Required

U.S. English

 

Custom drivers

Optional

No

If you have network or storage devices that integrate with ESX software and you need to install custom drivers, you can do so during the ESX installation. Post-install, you can use vCenter Update Manager or the vSphere CLI to install custom drivers.

If you PXE boot the installer, you cannot install custom drivers during the installation.

vSphere license key

Optional

None

If you do not enter a vSphere license key, ESX is installed in evaluation mode.

Network adapter for the service console

Required

A network adapter that is available and connected

Virtual machine network traffic shares this network adapter until you configure a virtual switch for another network adapter.

VLAN ID

Optional

None

Range: 0 through 4095

IP address

Optional

DHCP

You can allow DHCP to configure the network during installation. After installation, you can change the network settings.

Subnet mask

Optional

Calculated based on the IP address

Gateway

Optional

Based on the configured IP address and subnet mask

Primary DNS

Optional

Based on the configured IP address and subnet mask

Secondary DNS

Optional

None

Host name

Required for static IP settings

None

vSphere Clients can use either the host name or the IP address to access the ESX host.

Install location

Required

None

Must be at least 10GB if you install the components on a single disk.

Datastore

Required in advanced setup

In the basic setup, the installer creates the /vmfs partition for the datastore.

A datastore is a partition that ESX uses to store virtual machines. This datastore is used for the service console (esxconsole.vmdk). The service console must be installed on a VMFS datastore that is resident on a host's local disk or on a SAN disk that is masked and zoned to that particular host only. The datastore cannot be shared between hosts.

Time zone

Required

Pacific time

 

Root password

Required

None

The root password must be between 6 and 64 characters.

Additional user accounts

Optional

None

Virtual disk partitions

Required in advanced setup

The installer creates three basic partitions: /boot, vmkcore, and VMFS.

The service console VMDK file resides on the VMFS partition. The service console VMDK file contains /swap, and /var/log, by default, and any other partitions that you specify.

In the advanced setup, you can edit the location of the boot loader, edit the / (root), swap, and /var/log default partition sizes, and create additional partitions.

The disk that you install the /boot partition onto must be the disk that the BIOS chooses to boot from.

Bootloader kernel options

Optional

None

In the advanced setup, you can specify kernel arguments to be written to the grub.conf file and passed to the kernel every time ESX boots.

Bootloader password

Optional

None

In the advanced setup, you can specify a bootloader password up to 30 characters.

NTP server

Optional

None.

By default, if you do not enter an NTP server name or IP address, the installer uses the system date and time, which you can modify.

ESX uses the hardware battery-backed clock to keep time while the system is powered off. ESX always maintains the battery-backed clock in UTC, even if you have set the service console to display time in your local time zone. Therefore, if you install ESX on a machine whose battery-backed clock was not previously set to UTC, ESX initializes the system time to an incorrect value when it first boots. Once you correct the system time, however, ESX saves it to the battery-backed clock, and the time will be correct on subsequent boots. For best accuracy, VMware recommends using NTP to correct and maintain the system time.

For text-mode and graphical-mode installations, you can enter an NTP server name at installation time.

This feature is not available in scripted installation (unless you script it in a %post section). After installation, you can use the vSphere Client to configure the host to use an NTP server.