I am trying to install CentOS 5.5/64-bit on an ESX 4.1 server. The VM itself is fairly vanilla, 4 GB of memory and about 60 GB of disk, set up as a "RHEL 5 64-bit" system. The host is a Dell R815 w/ 128 GB memory and 2 x 12-core AMD processors.
The problem is, the CentOS crashes almost immediately. It will load the inital splash screen, where I can specify any kernel boot options, but as soon as it tries to load the installer kernel (initrd.img) off of the install media, it panics and crashes. I've tried tweaking various aspects of the VM configuration, as well as different boot options from the CentOS install, but all to no avail. However, I could run the 'memtest' utility from the CentOS installer without any problems. I've used this same ISO image to install other instances of CentOS, and I did a cksum from the command line to validate it had been transferred correctly. I've also been able to install RHEL 5.6//64-bit on this server without issue.
The final bit of the error that I'm getting is as follows: