Intel NUC As A ESXi Host (part 2)

Introduction

This is part two is the continuing saga of my home lab build.

 

Table Of Contents

This will be a multi-part post, as it covers a lot of topics…

  1. NUC Specs, and build information,
  2. Building a custom ESX image that includes drivers for the NUC’s network card and SSD,
  3. DHCP, PXE booting and automatic installation scripts,
  4. Synology configuration for VMware datastores,
  5. Networking, VLANs and getting it to work,
  6. Installing ESXi
  7. Any other configuration,
  8. Final (random) thoughts.

 

Building A Custom ESXi Installation Image

This is actually the easy part.  I use the fantastic ESXi-Customizer-PS PowerShell script from Andreas Peetz at the v-front blog.  This script does all the hard work of downloading the latest version of ESXi and saving it as a ZIP file.  You can then run the script again to convert the ZIP file into an ISO and inject the required drivers.

Before you start, make sure you have installed the latest version of the VMware PowerCLI software on a Windows XP or better PC, and have downloaded Andreas script.

Steps Required

  1. Open the VMware vSphere PowerCLI window (there should be an icon on your desktop),
  2. Change to the folder you copied ESXi-Customizer-PS.ps1 script,
  3. Run the following command…
.\ESXi-Customizer-PS.ps1 -v55 -ozip

ESXi-Customizer-PS-1

  1.  When complete, run this command…
.\ESXi-Customizer-PS.ps1 -vft -load sata-xahci,net-e1000e -izip [filename-downloaded-above]

ESXi-Customizer-PS-2

  1.  When complete, you will have a single ISO image and the downloaded ZIP file, called something like this…

ESXi-Customizer-PS-3

This process will take a few minutes, depending on the speed of your internet link and the computer you are running this on.  The ISO should contain the two drivers required for the NUCs, and will be ready to go to install on your NUCs

 

There are a few ways to install ESXi on to your NUCs, the way I do it is to use PXE booting.  This allows me to plug in a new NUC and switch it on.  Almost everything else is automated.

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