sshakh
Contributor
Contributor

Installing ESXi 4.1u1 from USB to USB

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I have an HP N36L Proliant Microserver on which I wish to install ESXi 4.1u1. The hardware has no optical drive, but does have an internal USB socket that can host a flash drive. I wish to install on to a 1GB stick plugged into this. This is both a question on how to achieve this, as well as what I've discovered so far.

1) My first attempt was to create a bootable USB portable HD with the ISO. This is documented in various places, the simplest of which is to use UNetbootin. Although this apparently worked in previous versions of ESXi, apparently this doesn't work in 4.0+ since the installer insists on looking for an image from an optical drive instead of the boot media.

2) The workaround for this is to use a kickstart file to call "install usb", which has the side effect of automating the install too. However calling "autopart" with the name of the flash drive also fails in my case because scripted installs need 5GB space on the target drive. My stick is only 1GB.

My remaining options are to:

1) Use another machine (possibly virtual?) with an optical drive to install to a USB thumb stick and then plug this into the server. Would this work? Is there just a single image for all hardware types, or does the regular EXSi cdrom install do something bespoke when being installed on specific hardware?

2) Use an "image writer" (winimage/dd) to write the install image from the ISO directly to the USB stick. For this, I have the same questions as above. Does the one image fit all hardware?

3) To give up this strategy and either use a cdrom temporarily or install to a local hard drive instead.

Any help would be appreciated!

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idle-jam
Immortal
Immortal

Option 1) would do. A base image would work across different box. You find another server or using vmware workstation to create your bootable esxi on USB.  You can follow the tutorial here just replace those CD with virtual iso of vmware workstation. http://www.techhead.co.uk/installing-vmware-esxi-4-0-on-a-usb-memory-stick-the-official-way

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idle-jam
Immortal
Immortal

Option 1) would do. A base image would work across different box. You find another server or using vmware workstation to create your bootable esxi on USB.  You can follow the tutorial here just replace those CD with virtual iso of vmware workstation. http://www.techhead.co.uk/installing-vmware-esxi-4-0-on-a-usb-memory-stick-the-official-way

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PduPreez
VMware Employee
VMware Employee

Hi

Easiest way to do this is with IZarc and Winamage:

http://www.vladan.fr/how-to-install-esxi-40-on-usb-memory-key/

Have not tried 4.1 u1, but 4.1 works 100%, only diffrence in 4.1 is the file name you use = imagedd.bz2

Just follow the instructions Smiley Happy

If you find this helpfull, please award points

Happy Virtualizing

opbz
Hot Shot
Hot Shot

With no CD or Virtual CD you do have issues 🙂

I have done it in 2 ways

1: using the virtual CD this only works if you have an ILO or a DRAC or some other equivalent HW.

2: I have alswo used the UDA you get it from (http://www.ultimatedeployment.org/) this gives you an PXE boot appliance that you can use to install ESXi 4.1 There is a book by Mike Laverick called Vmware Vsphere 4 implenetation that tells you how to do it. Overall its pretty straight forward we use it on our lab when doing trainning. Thing is for ESXi there are not too many options available. Also you need to have Vmware running somewhere that can be connected to your server.

Finally if you have access to a Linux box you can also also create a USB boot drive for ESX 4.1 

hope this helps

sshakh
Contributor
Contributor

Before I had a chance to try any of these, I bought a GBP12 DVDRW drive. Points awarded for all the help and confirmations though, I especially like the UDA trick - I may even use it anyway!

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