In a previous post I blogged about creating a vanilla vSphere 5 ESXi USB drive using the VMware .iso file from VMware. This post shows how to create one using the HP version of vSphere ESXi (5.0_Oct_2011_ESXi_HD-USB-SDImgeInstlr_Z7550-00253.iso).
The HP version comes pre-installed with all the HP CIM providers which work very well with HP servers, including the HP MicroServer. Using the HP version gives you the more details in the Hardware Status tab.
I’m going to be using a different method, recommended by Will Rodbard (thanks Will), who is a colleague of mine at VMware, you can see his comments from the previous post. In summary the steps are:
Once completed your USB drive will boot into the ESXi 5 installer. Once booted, install the ESXi 5 Hypervisor to the USB drive (overwriting the installer). This will then leave you with the installed ESXi Hypervisor on the USB.
Note that using this method creates a brand new bootable USB key for use in a new installation of vSphere ESXi. You will have to go through the process of installing ESXi onto the USB key, or another disk or LUN on the target server. If you want a USB key that is already installed with ESXi which saves you from going through the installation wizard, you can use the other method in this post.
I coincidently left an older USB key in my laptop and booted. Here’s a picture of my Macbook Pro running vSphere ESXi, and it all works by the way, including networking!
A very quick post on how to create an image that contains vSphere 5 ESXi Embedded with which you can use to quickly create USB sticks that have the ESXi hypervisor installed. This is not the same as creating a bootable USB key that contains the installation files to install ESXi from the USB stick. For this method please refer to this post.
Use this in your lab environment, I wouldn’t recommend doing this in production environments.
In previous versions of vSphere ESXi, it was relatively straight forward to create a bootable USB key which already contained the ESXi hypervizor. This was done by extracting the files from the ISO and then using ‘dd’ to image the directory structure to the USB stick. With vSphere ESXi 5 however, this technique is no longer possible. There is a workaround however. ESXi is installed and configured in two steps, the installation is done to a disk with a vanilla installation of ESXi without configuration. The server is then rebooted and the configuration of ESXi continues with the creation of the management network vmk0 or vmk1 (depending on your setup), hostname, DNS etc.
For this to work, we do not perform the second part, which is the configuration, but take an image of the USB key directly after the installation of the vanilla installation of ESXi without configuration. This enables us to image this vanilla installation onto as many USB sticks, i.e., servers as we like without clashes in virtual MAC addresses and the like.
What you will need: VMware Workstation, 1 USB stick, the ESXi Installable ISO file VMware-VMvisor-Installer-5.0.0-469512.x86_64.iso, WinImage.
Once the stick is ready, just insert into a spare USB port on your server and ESXi will boot into the configuration screen ready for you to configure management network details.
You may need to log onto the local console once ESXi has finished booting and launch the ‘Restore Network Settings’. This will reset the vmk0 or vmk1 (depending on your setup) interface.
Notes on using vRanger Pro & ESXi for Disaster Recovery
Just succesffully proved vRanger Pro to restore backups taken from Production (ESX 3.5, vRanger Pro on physical with VCB) to infrastructure in DR (ESXi 3.5, vRanger Pro on a VM, non VCB). All this from provisioning DR Infrastructure (ESXi Servers, Storage, vCenter VM) within 1 hour. Silver tier recovery just got “sESXi”!
Infrastructure at Production
Infrastructure at DR
Important points to note
If you are running vRanger in a virtual machine to restore workloads backed up by vRanger installed on a physical host, with either traditional LAN based backup or VCB based backup. It is important that the software is installed in the correct order and all the necessary software is installed to enable vRanger to restore both types of backup. If the physical vRanger server performed a backup of a workload using the VCB framework, then you will not be able to restore that workload using another vRanger server unless the VCB framework is also installed. For example, you wish to perform a restore at a DR site.
The correct installation order is